Medical research is moving farther and farther from animal experimentation. As computing power doubles and redoubles, more and more studies use modeling to investigate the effects of artificial drugs, new procedures, interventions…. Eventually a virtual man is designed. Alfie is identical in every way to a living human and can be modified to present any known combination of physical or mental diseases or conditions for any age or any sex. Alfie not only replaces experimental animals in the laboratory but also substitutes for corpses in medical schools around the world and is easily drafted as a target or victim in countless computer games. The results of all these experiments and procedures are stored in Alfie’s memory, a huge database in v-space, the virtual noosphere. The cloud. And naturally, since this is only a virtual man—or woman, or child—no virtual anaesthetic is necessary.
Then, of course, the computational ability of our electronic world-mind cloud crosses a certain threshold and achieves self-awareness. It becomes Alfie. How does Alfie feel about us?