Advanced Technology Could Make Hell A Reality

I don’t believe in hell. But that doesn’t mean that with advanced technology we couldn’t create a functional version of it in the real world.

There are some pundits out there who think we might have a chance of defeating death in the future. One of the nice things about death is that it is the ultimate eject switch. No matter how long you are tortured, whether by a disease or a sadistic individual, eventually you will die. But when you introduce the possibility of immortality, you simultaneously introduce the possibility of unending suffering.

What would be the motive for creating a real-life hell? Perhaps it would be used as a form of punishment for certain kinds of criminals. Unending suffering would be a far more effective deterrent than jail or the death penalty. Alternately, the humans or AIs in charge of some future dystopia might simply be sadists. While such outcomes seem improbable, their sheer awfulness means they deserve attention. Arguably, avoiding unending suffering via technology should rank even higher on the priority list than avoiding extinction.

3 thoughts on “Advanced Technology Could Make Hell A Reality

  1. In his 2010 novel “Surface Detail”, Iain M. Banks describes hells in which the recorded “mind states” of individuals are tortured. Mind states are recordings made of individuals’ brains in order to given them immortality.

  2. Thanks, I will have to check that out. Emulations of people, or mind states, are one way you could easily implement hell. In a virtual space, creating hell could be as easy as checking a few boxes in a list of software preferences. This is morally problematic, but less threatening to you or I, since we wouldn’t have to share the subjective experience of any copies that are made of us.

    Another way to implement hell though would be via some sort of physical medical technology, such as nanobots in the bloodstream that constantly repair physical damage (but don’t suppress the sensation of pain). I shudder to think about that thought.