Illustration by MC, using clipart images
There are some terrific functions on the personal computer that ought to be incorporated in the human brain. As the idea of the technological singularity gains traction with every passing day,the one function that I would like to be equipped with immediately is the Ctrl. Z or “Undo” function. As ambitions for the technological singularity go this is a laughably minor desire but still it has enormous implications.
I have been so used to the Undo function that these days even while being in the midst of a real life interaction or a situation I press Ctrl. Z both in my mind and in action.The other day I was drawing something on real paper and a line went astray. My fingers automatically try to press Ctrl. Z on an imaginary keyboard. That sounds pathetic—my virtual enslavement by the PC—but that’s how it is.
To be able to go back to any time in one’s life and alter the course of events by undoing certain developments is quite a power. Last July, I wrote about another evolutionary update that I would be thrilled to have. Here is what I wrote:
Leading a well-edited life has been my longstanding fascination. For as long as I remember, I have always wanted the ability to edit life in real time. It in this context that as part of human evolution, I think it is time for all of us to develop the ability to ripple delete our life.
Ripple delete is a video editing function which allows you to delete chosen items from a track without leaving a gap. It automatically shifts the items after the deleted point to the left in their entirety.
This might not make any sense to most of you who are unused to editing audio and video. Let me explain a little more before I return to the main theme of the blog. When you edit any track your primary purpose is to give the raw material a narrative and visual logic and consistency, not to mention cinematic drama. Lift edit, which is another function of editing, allows you to edit but leaves gaps between two points. This can throw the track to the right of the delete point out of sync.
With that, hopefully, comprehensible explanation, I can now dwell a bit on how evolution can at least equip us with these little improvements if not create a superhuman altogether. For now, I would be happy with the ability to edit my life with functions such as ripple delete. The idea is to be able to delete unwanted experiences even as they are occurring. While editing one has to be mindful that it does not throw other experiences which are to follow out of sync or leave gaps like in the visual above.
Can you imagine what the ability to live-edit your life can do to transform it so fundamentally? There are thousands of situations and experiences throughout our life which we wish had not happened. With real time ripple delete all of those can be avoided. You can ripple delete entire periods of history without anyone noticing the gaps.
Even as I am writing this I sense some of you are going ‘Wait, what?” but as you reflect on it you would begin to appreciate the value of this ability.
Another improvement, I wish human evolution would soon lead to is eliminate the need to discharge bodily waste, prevent bodily hair in certain parts and/or all parts and stop sweating altogether. These changes sound minor but have radical implications for the species generally and perhaps even the planet.
You might argue that the human brain has the innate ability to ripple delete. It is called thinking before acting. May be so, but there are experiences that occur irrespective of your best efforts to either preempt them or alter them. That’s where the ripple delete would come in handy.
We should have two clearly defined options when it comes to individual life—one is the raw life as it unfolds and the other, which runs parallel and in simultaneity, that we can edit. You might argue that I am going precariously close to the multiple personality disorder. I am not. I am merely suggesting a two-track life, one track consisting an organic passage of time and the other what I called an intervened passage of time. The latter might sound like contrived or manufactured. It is to the extent that it takes what is available and refashions it.
I think I should end the track here and fade into black.