There is a point in the not too distant future in which every aspect of our lives will be digitally recorded. What could that mean for the role of our own memories, the ability to revisit any point in our lives, and the possibility of creating digital clones? In combination with lives increasingly lived in digital realms, comes the extraordinary possibility for us to go back and revise and even relive our lives.
The direction of (time) travel
We are born with a limited tool for time travel - our memory. With it we can wind back the years. A sight, sound, touch or smell can send us spiralling back to a moment in time. But our memories are incomplete. We augment them with diaries and photographs... and more lately with blogs, social media, videos. The opportunity to record our lives has grown with our use of the web, been accelerated by our use of web2 and is set to grow exponentially with the arrival of Web3, and its experience layer, the Metaverse. The more digital 'memories' we have, the less we need to rely on our own memories. If you don't remember who was at a dinner you hosted, a quick google among your saved images will give you the answer.
The more we immerse ourselves in digital realms, the more our actions and behaviours can be digitally recorded. If we follow the direction of travel, there comes a point when our entire lives are recorded digitally. And that presents us with some extraordinary opportunities - and some philosophical challenges.
Rewind and re-experience anything you've ever experienced
Part of the final leap to 100% recorded lives will be lives lived 100% in the digital realm. Let's call that the Metaverse. Vague memories of being 'in the room when it happened' will be replaced by the capability to zoom back to the moment you were in that room. As sensory technologies advance you won't just watch a rerun, you will be able to feel the experience just as it happened. Dickens Ghost of Christmas Past has nothing on the future we are building for ourselves.
The rise of the digital clone
If those digital memories can get even close to capturing a 360-degree understanding of your skills, behaviours and activities, the next step would be to make a copy of you. Think a 3D avatar chatbot that knows what you do and can learn to respond like you would (this is the basic of artificial intelligence). Now you really could be in two places at once, performing multiple functions with multiple groups of people in multiple digital locations - all at once. Forget the grunt work of Robotic Process Automation, here come the digital clones to do all the knowledge work.
If you could have your time over, what would you have different. When would you have said yes when you said no - and vice versa. The intriguing possibility offered by the 100% digital life is that you could go back and explore alternative outcomes shaping alternative life stories across the vast expanse of a Multiverse in which others are also seeking their own perfect lives. The shifting sands of existing in this kind of world, where even time no longer travels universally forwards challenge so much of what we hold to be true about life, to date.
Infinity and beyond
If we ever get done perfecting our lives, and we reach the point where we can record and capture how we feel emotionally - along side how we act and what we know -we may be ready to abandon our human bodies altogether. In the Metaverse you can exist digitally for ever. You can be transmitted at the speed of light and explore the entire universe over eons of time.