You probably know that there are two main schools of thought when it comes to neural uploading/playback. The “German school” aims for total fidelity: pure, perfect synapses forever. The idea is to capture the consciousness in super-high-resolution; aficionados of that philosophy would be horrified at my early, beloved low-bitrate downloads. They’d point out that the more you compress a Mind, the more you lose those intangible qualities that make it unique. You might not be able to specifically point out what’s missing (there’s very little noticeable memory loss even at bitrates as low as 64 million synaptic impulses per millisecond, or SIMs), but, these high-end neurophiles argue, it’s those intangible personality quirks that make us unique. Truly lossless Minding is considered a theoretical impossibility, like traveling at the speed of light—the closer you get, the exponentially more power and memory is needed until it reaches infinity—but the Germans are damned if they’re not going to try.

The Japanese approach is much “fuzzier” than that of the Germans’. The idea is not to store and recreate the consciousness with precise, verifiably accurate detail. Rather, Japanese tech hews much closer to the aesthetic idea of wabi-sabi, cherishing incompleteness, impermanence and even decay. Favouring feeling over precision, Japanese-formed Minds have an undeniable elegance and beauty. But while I admire the artfulness of their exquisite neural miniatures, the effect, to me, has always been more like looking at a piece of art in a hushed gallery. You know that what you’re looking at is a masterpiece, but it’s not yours. I admire them, but I can’t ever really love them.