"Altered Carbon" was the first novel in a trilogy written by author Richard K. Morgan and published in 2002. This month, Netflix just released a new series based on the book. The show is very well done, and Netflix certainly went all out in producing it.
However, when you really think about it, given the exponential nature of technological innovation, the show seems to offer an almost uncanny glimpse into a very plausible dystopian future...
In "Altered Carbon", a person's "essence", their memories, their skills, their "personality", can all be stored digitally into a cortical "stack" and downloaded into new bodies, called "sleeves". If their "sleeve" (or physical body) dies, their "stack" can be stored indefinitely.
Catholics have arranged that they will not be resleeved as they believe that the soul goes to Heaven when they die, and so would not pass on to the new sleeve. This, of course, makes them targets for murder, since killers know their victims cannot be resurrected to testify. As such, one of the plot themes is that of a UN resolution to alter this legal position to allow the UN authorities to temporarily "resleeve" a deceased Catholic to testify at their own murder trial.
Perhaps you're already getting an idea of where we're going with this. However, just to clarify, this series also seems to provide almost a "roadmap" as to where certain "powers that be" are looking to take us. For example, you may have noticed "UN resolution". In this world, the UN appears to be the "One World Government" that is in charge of everything right down to the money supply, in the form of "UN credits". In fact, I came across this interesting little tidbit in another post:
Martha Higareda, who plays police officer Kristin Ortega, believes that paper money or any form of cash currency will be phased out, because it's a trend that's already starting within some businesses in both the U.S. and beyond. Sweden, lead actor Joel Kinnaman pointed out, has made the move to a cashless economy, "and there's barely any cash left," he said. Within the world of Altered Carbon, payment is accepted in the form of UN credits, because the governing force, the Protectorate, encompasses not just many countries, but many worlds. As a result, "we don't have much nationality in our show," Purefoy said. "I suspect in time, nationalism will become a very outmoded form of thinking. No ‘U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.,' because I don't think we're going to be able to afford it, us all competing against each other as nations. We're going to have to think globally."
Interestingly, there is much precedent already that the U.N.'s eventual goal is to become the totalitarian "One World Government" for the whole planet. That would be quite frightening, given that the UN along with the IMF and other similar organizations, are among some of the most corrupt on the planet. For those who may not be aware, representatives of the UN have even outright admitted that the true agenda behind promoting memes such as "man-made climate change" is to accelerate this process towards complete global domination and control:
Why then, with such little evidence, does the UN insist the world spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on futile climate change policies?
Perhaps Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN’s Framework on Climate Change has the answer?
In Brussels last February she said, “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years since the Industrial Revolution.”
In other words, the real agenda is concentrated political authority. Global warming is the hook.
Figueres is on record saying democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming. Communist China, she says, is the best model. This is not about facts or logic. It’s about a new world order under the control of the UN. It is opposed to capitalism and freedom and has made environmental catastrophism a household topic to achieve its objective.
Figueres says that, unlike the Industrial Revolution, “This is a centralised transformation that is taking place.” She sees the US partisan divide on global warming as “very detrimental”. Of course. In her authoritarian world there will be no room for debate or disagreement.
In my another recent post of mine, I also wrote this precious little tidbit:
And I must say, especially in an extremely "liberal" state such as New York or California, I can only wonder why in the near future, someone like Larry Nassar, recently convicted for abusing over 150 children, couldn't just claim to be a "9-Year-Old Trapped in a Man’s Body" as an "excuse" for his behavior and simply "get off the hook".
In fact, from the SJW perspective, Nassar and Roman are potentially the victims here! They were tempted by these "nasty" little children, not so different than accusing an un-hajib'd woman for "tempting" a group of
barbarian hordemen to assault her.
And in the world of "Altered Carbon", this point is driven home in spades, as children are "resleeved" in the bodies of much older people (possibly even of the opposite sex), since, of course, that may be "all that's available":
Episode 1, around 17 minutes in:
Dad: What have you done to our daughter? Cindy's seven years old!
Officer: You get whatever's in inventory.
Dad: She was murdered in a hit-and-run. The law says she gets a free sleeve.
Officer: That one's free. If you don't like it, pay for an upgrade or put her back in storage.
This motif is taken to all sorts of levels throughout the show. For example, one man's wife is brought back as a man, cuz that was the only sleeve that was available. And in our "brave new world", you don't love a person's "sleeve", you love the person's "stack", which can be inserted into any "sleeve" that tickles one's "fancy"... man, woman, boy, girl. Even animals! However, that's supposed to be "illegal"! lol
(here's mom, dad, and their kick-ass daughter Ava, who's actually in the body of a "synth" here)
And that brings us to some of the other aspects of "Altered Carbon". Stacks can be revived and tortured repeatedly in "virtual reality" over countless lives, or they can play out wild virtual fantasies of pretty much any sort whatsoever. How about "swapping sleeves" with your significant other, just to experience what "IT" feels like from their perspective!
And the uber-wealthy essentially live as immortals, who can even afford to keep backup copies of their stacks in remote storage which is automatically updated every few hours. This ensures that even if their "stacks" are destroyed, they can easily be resleeved with minimal "data loss". The concept is not so different than the "cloning" concept presented in the movie "The Sixth Day" featuring Arnld Schwarzenegger.
These "Meths", as they're called in the show (a reference to the Biblical figure Methuselah), can more or less do whatever they want. This is especially welcome, as those who can afford to live forever seem to find themselves bored rather quickly. The very rich are also able to keep copies of their minds in remote storage, which they update regularly. This ensures that even if their stacks are destroyed, they can be quickly resleeved.
As such, they entertain themselves with "exciting" activities such as forcing a husband and wife to "fight to sleeve-death" in return for money and fresh new sleeves. And "sex-to-sleeve death" appears to be "business as usual" for these Meths as well.
I don't want to give away too much of the plot. However, I will say that it's definitely worth watching (however, be warned, there is quite a bit of nudity throughout), and the production team and cast most certainly captured the more frightening aspects of a potential future that may be fast coming our way.
Renée Elise Goldsberry offers a terrific performance as Quellcrist Falconer, which I specifically mention because I've known Renée since our days at Carnegie Mellon. Her performances were always top notch, and she deserves every bit of the success that's come her way.
I can also only wonder if "Altered Carbon" might one day be looked upon similarly to past episodes of "The Simpsons", which seemed to have a rather uncanny way of predicting a whole bunch of future events that all seemed to eventually unfold... 😱