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Tron Legacy, Science Fiction Becoming Scientific Fact! [Discuss]

It has been nearly three decades since Jeff Bridges played the protagonist hacker Kevin Flynn who attempts to hack into the ENCOM mainframe only to end up being transported into the digital world itself. As the sequel to this cult classic hits the cinemas, we look into the possibility of the science involved behind the idea of Tron and Tron Legacy in the wake of modern technology. We shall discuss the efforts of  scientists who are working to explore the opportunity to export human consciousness and how this science fiction is fast becoming a scientific fact.

The idea of exporting ones consciousness is widely seen in movies, books and TV programs today. One of the latest inclusion to this concept are movies like Inception. However, little do people realize how close we have actually come to being able to simulate ourselves and our conscious mind with the help of modern technology. If the continuous distraction from the internet, mobile phones and the like was not enough to glue people to the screens that depict the virtual world. Motion control games has added fuel to the fire. For example with Nintendos wireless motion Wiimote controllers people are already exporting their active selves into a gaming console. Sony and Microsoft too have vowed to win the motion control gaming war with their motion-sensing game controller Move and Kinect for PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Xbox 360, respectively.

Many people may not be aware of the fact that the depiction in  movies such as Avatar and Inception of exporting ones consciousness is older than they might think. I still remember Steven Soderberg’s Solaris that blurred the lines between the real and unreal in 2002. A more direct approach was taken even earlier by Producer Chris Carter (producer of the X-Files) in 1999 with his short lived TV series called Harsh Realm. In the series Lieutenant Thomas F. Hobbes (Scott Bairstow) is tricked by his military superiors into a virtual world where human consciousness is simulated in a post apocalyptic virtual game. It is worth mentioning here that The Human Consciousness Project (an international consortium of multidisciplinary scientists and physicians) is already looking into the possibility of the potential of exporting the human consciousness.

Coming back to technology, the lack of awareness of our surroundings being caused by Television, the internet, mobile phones, etc is already a form of virtualization of connecting human beings to an unreal world. It is quite frustrating that people are becoming more and more absent minded while using their portable devices. I’m sure many of you might have been in the situation where you failed to get a response from someone watching a HD movie or using asmartphone (such as, Android, iPhone, WP7, etc). It reminds me of the X-Files episode called “Kill Switch” in which a scientist exports his conscious self into the virtual world before dying.

Interestingly the Blue Brain Project is working on creating a synthetic brain by reverse-engineering the mammalian brain right to the molecular level. Such technological advancements render not only hope for people to be able to acquire what they perceive as immortality but also an attempt to become closer to the  simulated world. I strongly believe that as people begin to play games, use the internet, stream Television programs and movies, they will begin to want more and more from the virtual reality than from real life itself. I would admit though that the theory of Tron to molecularly transport a human being into the artificial world seems a little too far fetched. As it is not a reasonable assumption to digitize real life matter and scan it into the computer world for deconstruction at the molecular level for re-assembly. The reassembly cannot take place with the same unique atoms and such a notion simply defies the laws of science and nature itself. Having said that, it is worth mentioning here that the want of virtualization is becoming uncontrollable and it is only a matter of a single break through in scientific technology that more and more people will be willing to jack themselves into a machine at the conscious level to play games and take part in perhaps virtual chat rooms. As the idea of uploading ourselves via You Tube, Facebook and the like becomes worn out, the hunger for simulation will lead mankind into an unchartered territory, the negative effects of which cannot be anticipated.

[Image Credits for Tron Legacy Movie Wallpaper, Xbox Kinect Floor Stand, and Avatar Based Marketing goes to Flickr users fesiyal_2011, Xbox Kinect Bundle, and John E. Lester respectively.]

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  • maghoxfr

    Funny that you say “it’s older than they might think” and afterwards refer to George Clooney’s Solaris when you know it’s a remake of a Soviet film much older, the example would have been more powerful if you refer to a movie of decades ago rather than one of some years ago.

  • Love the article Farshad…we should write more of such news articles…the news section was going stale!

  • Wez Hind

    I like the idea behind the article, however found the actual content of it to be a bit ‘wishy-washy’ and in many ways not connected to the original premise. There are also some glaring factual issues.

    Like the previous poster who mentioned that the Solaris that George Clooney acted in (not George Clooney’s Solaris as written here) is actually a remake of the original by a Russian filmmaker Andrey Tarkovskiy based on the 1961 novel by Polish writer Stanislaw Lem, I find myself wondering how much research went into this article. It seems pretty lacking in information considering that most of it is only a quick search away. It could be argued that the reader could therefore do the searching, but would readers know to look for information about the original movie?

    Anyway, I don’t want to criticise the writer of this article too much, as at least it attempts to talk about an interesting subject, but it does seem to be a very shallow article about quite a deep subject – without much reference to historical or contemporary examples. (surely the Matrix would have been a better example than Inception etc. Also what about the Sci-Fi authors whom originally gave the filmmakers these ideas?)

    • Thank you all for your feedback.
      Mr Wez and Maghoxfr, I would like to point out that this is not a movie review or a Hollywood history lesson but something related to the advancement in modern technology in comparison to what has been depicted in science fiction movies and programs (including television series such as The X-Files). Its strange that no one commented on the Blue Brain Project and the technological advancements that I mentioned in this article. The reference to movies was made to keep the article easier to comprehend in the light of things that most people may be able to relate to. It seems that the crux has perhaps been missed by many people.
      Anyways,thank you for your response and I will keep your suggestions in mind to elaborate my point of view in a better way next time.

  • Imran

    Who knows, If we are already in a simulation……