Ask Ray | The future of human self-awareness, deeper mirrors

November 15, 2010 by Ray Kurzweil

The False Mirror, by René Magritte in 1928. Oil on canvas. (Image: MoMA)

Hello Ray,

In the last few years I have been basically writing in Persian and hardly anything in English. One thing I’ve been recently discussing that I thought may be of interest to you is that it seems to me the next stage of human consciousness will be about being self-aware of ourselves in a different body.

Maybe recognizing ourselves in the mirror after plastic surgery is the first in a series of steps that with augmenting human body artificially and with possibility of upload and download of the brain will continue. Just as we are amused when we look at the smarter monkeys who can recognize themselves in the mirror.

Maybe future humans will have a much different sense of self-awareness than we do and will be amused to watch us. Especially recognizing music tunes as part of one’s identity or self-“finger”-print!

— Sam Ghandchi

Dear Sam,

It is remarkable how much people identify with their visual appearance. When I changed myself into Ramona for my 2001 TED presentation, even though the technology was fairly crude by today’s standards, it did give me the idea that my true identity is not my visual appearance, that we can and will change that. We need deeper mirrors.

— Ray

Thank you, Ray,

In Persian there is an expression that says if you do not like what you see in the mirror, break yourself — not the mirror. Apparently our self image in our internal mirror is something worth investigating.

— Sam