If given the choice, would you agree to be uploaded to an entirely digital existence: freed from death, pain, and suffering – because freed from the body? Or would you remain human on a dying planet?
That’s the thought experiment behind Grace Chan’s speculative novel Every Version of You, a book that fleshes out our anxieties and fears – and also, desires – about technology and how it affects what it means to be human.
In Chan’s vision of the future, Australia in the 2080s has been ravaged by climate change. With the physical world in breakdown, people spend more and more time in Gaia, a digital paradise. But then the option to be uploaded to Gaia – indefinitely – becomes a reality. What will Chan’s characters choose – and what would you?
In this episode of Life & Faith, Justine Toh interviews Grace Chan about her novel, the winner of the University of Sydney People’s Choice Award at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2023.
Hear Grace talk about how her book has gotten book clubs buzzing and how her training as a psychiatrist influenced the novel’s take on identity and the self. Then ask yourself: would an uploaded humanity remain human?
Seen & Heard: Mrs Davis and other tech misadventures, featuring Grace Chan’s Every Version of You.
Would you want to be uploaded to a digital heaven? Justine Toh’s article for CPX
Grace Chan on Twitter
Photo: Natasha Horvat