Would you like to upload your consciousness to the cloud?

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Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok can monopolize all of your time, driven by what novelist Jennifer Egan calls humanity’s “permanent thirst for authenticity.” But for Egan, social media isn’t a winning strategy for finding out what’s real or true: “Turning to the internet for an authentic experience is just a loser,” she says. The digital world, after all, offers only an “illusion of authenticity”.

In his latest novel, ‘The Candy House’ – set in the same universe as his Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘A Visit From the Goon Squad’ – Egan paints a picture of a world where the search for authenticity becomes so pervasive that people can choose to upload their memories – and their entire consciousnesses – into a collective archive, then share them for the world to see.

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[You can listen to this episode of “Sway” on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

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

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(A full transcript of the episode will be available at noon on the Times website.)

The post Would you like to upload your consciousness to the cloud? appeared first on The New York Times.

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