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Would You Upload Your Consciousness to the Cloud?

Would You Upload Your Consciousness to the Cloud?

Update: 2022-06-232
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Instagram, Twitter and TikTok can monopolize all of your time, driven by what the novelist Jennifer Egan calls humankind’s “ongoing hunger for authenticity.” But to Egan, social media is not a winning strategy for discovering what’s real or true: “Looking to the internet for authentic experience is just inherently a loser,” she says. The digital world, after all, offers only an “illusion of authenticity.”

In her newest novel, “The Candy House” — set in the same universe as her Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Visit From the Goon Squad” — Egan paints a picture of a world where the search for authenticity becomes so ubiquitous that people can choose to upload their memories — and entire consciousnesses — to a collective archive, and then share them for the world to see.

In this conversation, Kara Swisher and Egan discuss how far Silicon Valley is from accessing our consciousnesses and introducing this kind of dystopian technology. They debate how social media has changed the world and whether there is still room for optimism. And Kara tries to decipher which tech founder, if any, inspired Egan’s protagonist, whom Kara describes as Mark Zuckerberg with “the soul of Steve Jobs.” (Egan, for the record, denies all comparisons.)

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

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Would You Upload Your Consciousness to the Cloud?

Would You Upload Your Consciousness to the Cloud?

New York Times Opinion