I watched an episode of "Star Gate SG-1" today, you know the TV series spin off from the movie, "Star Gate". I was again impressed with TV programs like this one, The Outer Limits, and a few others that continue to try to stretch the minds of their viewers. The story took me back to previous threads on uploading and identity issues.
Here is my remembrance of the tale (apologies in advance for my writing style):
The team goes through the gate and wakes up with a quirky little man claiming to be the last of his race and the only one on the planet. He reveals that the last person died 11,000 years ago. He tells the team that they were hurt when they came through but he has changed them and made them all better . . . much, much better. They have to admit they feel fantastic and even feel smarter than ever (e.g. able to rapidly do arithmetic calculations in their head). He tells them they can stay and help him maintain the machinery left over from his civilization. When asked he is cryptic about exactly *how* he made them better. The leader tires of it and orders the team back through the gate. The quirky man tells them they'll be back.
Back on Earth, the team undergoes the standard physical exam and, to everyones surprise, it's discovered they have no heart-beat or blood. They soon realize that the quirky man has somehow uploaded their minds into robot versions of themselves. They are immediately placed in a holding cell for security reasons, since the General doesn't know for sure whether it's really them or not. After a couple hours though, they suddenly become overwhelmed with exhaustion and fall to the floor barely able to speak. They need power, badly. The General agrees to let them return.
The quirky man is overjoyed upon their return, repeatedly reassuring them about how they will get used to being there. The leader flies into a rage, telling the QM to put them back into their human bodies. He informs them that it is impossible. . . that their bodies were destroyed in the process. The team rests, trying to fathom what has happened to them.
One says, "It's not so bad. I mean, the body is really just a very complex machine. In many ways, we really *are* better."
Another replies, "But we're not human."
"No." he admits, "We're not human. But I was thinking about what he said about living for 11,000 years and . . ."
The team leader suddenly snaps at them, "Has anyone been paying attention here? We're ROBOTS!" He storms away.
Suddenly, a crisis occurs with the machinery and they must all help the QM stop the core power source from being lost or they will all die. The mission is accomplished, but as they are making the crucial repairs, one of the team inexplicably beccomes violent and tries to kill the leader. At the last second he is disintegrated by the QM, who tells the rest not to worry. He will be able to reconstruct the team member who went berserk. They ask him how that is possible without having their original bodies, to which he replies; "No time to explain now. You'll see. . . Everything will be *better*."
The team followed him and burst into the reconstruction chamber to find their human bodies laid out on slabs. As each team member examined their individual bodies, they noticed that the eyes were open. Then they noticed that the eyes were moving. Each of the bodies was awake and quite conscious, although restrained! The originals and the copies stared at each other, trying to understand what had happened.
The QM said, "I was hoping you would all get used to the idea of staying here. I always intended to let the originals return to their world, but I had to do something to save mine!"
The copy of the team leader walks off to be alone. He now fully realizes that he will not be getting his body or his life back. The robot body that he felt so disgusted to live in turns out to be all he really is, and he's never going home again. The original team leader walks over and joins him. The copy tells the original that he will not challenge him over who will return, but only because of the situation (power difficulties). He makes it clear though that he has just as much right to his life back on Earth as the original does. They all part with that understanding.