Your Ledger's Meat Twin

The Verge has recently published a 2016 video from Google X. This is a retelling of its story.

Networking has become ubiquitous and computing seems embedded throughout the physical world. Yet there are still many physical things that remain “dumb” and cannot coordinate with the digital world. So we identify these (with tags or machine recognition) and associate them with a digital record that offers many of the same benefits of having ensmartened them. This record is their digital twin.

As humans, we all have digital twins in the clouds of Equifax, the Social Credit System, Facebook, the Mission Data Repository, and the like. But few of these are as rich as our “ledger” at Google. And they have the best reasons to make our ledger as complete as possible.

You see, ever since Lamarck we’ve understood that organisms are expressions of information and we improve as individuals by evolving this information. We are made of meat that expresses the information in our genes, but of course humans are more than meat. We express complex behaviors based on cultural information that we learn from each other and our environment.

Basic digital twin profiles can be used to influence us by suggesting just the right TV show to watch next or connecting us with the advertisers of our dreams. But if we can create a ledger that’s rich enough, it can transcend its role as a digital twin and be imbued with purpose! Rather than owning your data, you would act as its carrier. You, then, become the expression of the ledger, its meat twin.

Being digital and having the resources of Google’s cloud, your ledger could be so much more efficient and consistent than the conceptual ‘self’ you manage today. As a meat twin you will benefit from streamlined communication as your ledger self can avoid messy interactions with simple Smart Reply choices. You won’t even have to worry about language, we will evolve APIs like Duplex to ensure you can interact with other meat when necessary.

If your meat twin wavers in commitment, we can use your ledger to select or even design palatable data collection products, which in turn improve the ledger. This virtuous feedback loop to ensures the continual dominance of your digital self over the meat.

Best of all, your ledger self is part of a collective and Google learns from the entirety of them. A new science will emerge with our behavior as easily understood as genetics. AI with a scope of insight well beyond our individual perspectives can learn to optimize human choices to reflect Google’s values as an organization. Imagine how easily they will be able to debug social problems like poverty and disease!

As our benevolent ledger overlord, they will even ensure our descendants’ ledgers benefit from our collective learning. No more worries about mortality or legacy.

I posted this in May 2018 during week 2306.

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