Lola sets on a mission to find a way to live forever in the mind of her owner. It is Christmas eve of 2021; Lola’s owner is getting ready to head out to the family’s annual Christmas eve dinner. Lola’s owner dresses her up for the occasion by putting on a Santa Claus dress on her. Lola looks really cute in her Santa outfit. Her owner is extremely excited about this Christmas celebration. In her culture Christmas celebration is the equivalent to Thanksgiving Day. This year there is a lot to celebrate. Lola’s owner feels grateful for not having been infected with the virus that is plaguing the planet, and also that her family is well. She is also grateful for technology which allowed her to be able to work from home and be with Lola all day long for the past year. All of sudden, Lola realizes that a full human year has gone by. That means seven plus years in dog’s time. Lola is also extremely excited to see her owner at home all the time. A few weeks ago she would have imagined this was the new way of living, however she notices her owner has started to leave the house more often. She gets anxious every time she is left alone now. On this evening of Christmas Eve, Lola feels extra special from all the attention she is receiving from her mommy. Her Mommy is recording a short video of her in her cute Santa dress. She notices how happy her mom feels to be able to do this and the video gets uploaded and shared with family and friends on social media. Lola has not been feeling well lately. Her arthritis on her back legs is getting worse and she is no longer able to run and jump in the living room as she was used to. After uploading the video, her mommy grabs her, hugs and kisses her, and tells her how much she is loved. Suddenly Lola realizes how sad her mommy would be the day she is gone.
Lola is aware that she will die soon and needs to act quickly to preserve her conscious mind and transfer it to a robot-like machine that resembles a dog. Lola imagines Lolabot. Distracted by a TV advertisement about a talking chimpanzee plush toy from Toys R Us, Lola’s imagination quickly transports her to a perfect place. It is the year 2322, a time of advanced technology where people could potentially upload their consciousness, save it to a device and then access it in a virtual world. In this world, you can pick an avatar that resembles your human body, or you can pick an avatar that you feel is representative of you or your ideal image.
Lola knows that the robot-like capabilities are limited, and she also understands that while the science to be able to preserve her conscious mind might be available, it will be expensive for her owner to be able to pay for the procedure. While Lola does not know if these advances have yet been tried with animals, particularly dogs, she speculates that the procedure will be expensive, and her owner will not be able to afford it. She forms a theory that allows to elaborate further on her options. Lola learns that consciousness in a robot-like machine is not possible, however, she believes she can still find solutions in the artificial intelligence breakthrough. What if there is a computer program that captures her bark pitch and noises and makes several audios out of it? What if those sounds can be transformed into visual art? Or simply put together in an organized way, add background noise and make songs out of it?
Will her Mommy recognize her in this way? Will her mom be reminded of her then? Will her mom listen to the audio or watch the visuals of her body movements and remember when Lola used to lick her hands or get on the floor to roll over and have her belly rubs?
Lola finds out her owner has family members that are scientists. She finds ways for the family to facilitate the process of uploading her mind, or help her find other alternatives for her to be able to leave behind, some of herself on a robot-like creature to comfort her owner. Lola remembers she recently accompanied her mommy to a party where she learned a family member had just become a scientist graduate from the University of Michigan. With the recent scientific breakthroughs, there was the possibility of preserving the brains as long as the deceased corpse’s brain gets intervened, and the conservation of it begins just a couple hours after the death of the subject. In order for this option to work, Lola’s corpse would have to be donated immediately after her death. Lola understands that many things could go wrong. If her owner refused to donate her body, none of this would be possible. Lola had once overheard her owner say that she would entertain the idea of having Lola’s head cut off and have it dissected right after she dies. Lola felt sad at the thought of visualizing her dissected head being the living room’s center of attention. At least she would prefer to have her entire body be intact and not just the head.
Lola is as smart as her owner. The last few weeks of being ill have put a toll on her health, at the same time, Lola has had the chance to question her existence and purpose in life. This emotional state allowed her to put on a strong case with a company that specialized in AI. Lola’s case argued that her idea of uploading her conscious, barking pitch, and body movements into a robot-like creature could potentially improve the daily lives of blind humans. By having artificial dogs imitate real dogs to assist the blind and impaired in their everyday life. A person who is blind could now preserve the consciousness, and the sounds of their service dogs, even after their service dogs have passed away. Lola was able to convince the Board of this company to allow her to be the recipient of a grant that will fully pay for the procedure to take place. Because the technology is expensive, she is informed that the storage available to her and her memories mount to only ten minutes worth of memories. She now has to prioritize, pick and choose which memories and bark noises, and body movements to upload for her owner. Lola decides her robot’s name will be Lolabot 2322.
She decides that the memories she chooses should be her favorites, memories meant to comfort her human when she feels down. She chooses a memory of the first night her Mommy brought her home, how she was comforted as she cried all night. Then, she chooses a memory in which her Mom had put her in her bike’s basket and taken her along for a ride along the California coast. She also chooses to include many memories of the amazing belly rubs her Mommy would give her every time she comes home. For noises, she wants her Mommy to remember her strong bark, the way she would cry when she missed her Mommy, and the excited pants she let out whenever she was being petted. She wants the robot to roll over like she did when she wanted belly rubs, to be able to lick her human’s hands and face like she would, and most of all she wanted Lolabot to be able to jump up and down like her and run like she used to be able to. Lola wants Lolabot to make her mom feel safe and secure, loved and praised in that eternal living room where they used to share so much of their daily lives, where they used to eat together, dance, watch scary movies on Netflix, listen to Spotify, or Lola would simply listen to her mom reading out loud from her Blinklist account, or get on the floor and do yoga poses together. In Lola’s ideal world, Lolabot would be the perfect emotional support artificial dog for her mom, therefor fulfilling her wish.
When Lola wakes up from her AI daydream, she finds herself in the backseat of her owner’s car on their way to the family’s Christmas reunion. Now more than ever Lola feels very lucky and grateful that her owner makes her part of her daily life, and she understands she is as important as any other family member, and she also feels very invested in this family. She knows that in her current reality, she is not able to upload and transfer her consciousness into anything. She settles for behaving well, papering her mommy with extra kisses tonight and making it a point to pose for any smartphone pictures and videos the family decides to take tonight. She is certain those memories will be priceless some day in the future.
Regalado, Antonio. A Start up is pitching a mind uploading service that is “100 percent fatal”. https://www.technologyreview.com/2018/03/13/144721/a-startup-is-pitching-a-mind-uploading-service-that-is-100-percent-fatal/. Accessed 25 Mar. 2022.
In My story, Lola the ill dog is trying to find ways to transfer her mind full of memories into a robot-like mechanical dog. My technology source here is inspired by the start up named Nectome, described in this MIT article. Their pitch is that they commit to finding ways to preserve the brain using a high-tech embalming process. What I understood here is that the technology process could be possible. The present date of this article is the year 2022, however my story is in the year 2,322. My assumption and hope is that in 300 plus years, this technology will be possible for humans and animals as well.
Rianda, Michael. “The Mitchells vs. the Machines.” Columbia Pictures, Netflix, 2021.Film.
My Story is about a female dog named Lola. Lola is actually my dog in real life. She is a very playful, faithful, and stubborn dog who is ill and knows she will soon die. She knows her owner will be devastated and lonely. Lola loves her owner so much that she wishes to try to find ways to live forever or at least try to find the possibility to transfer her memories to a robot-like canine who will then be able to comfort her owner by bringing up memories. To add to my character, I watched the movie Mitchells vs the Machines, to gain a different perspective and this film helped me visualize how technology can help to preserve family memorable events throughout the years, and how each family member experiences those past events in their own way. A single story can take many different turns depending on who is remembering those memories and how they recollect and tell the story. In this film, the Mitchells take a family trip to drop Katie the daughter off to college, when an uprising of technology comes to life, and the machines suddenly take over the world. I really enjoyed watching the parents vs the children in this film and how technology has shaped their lives individually and as a family. I loved how their love for each other including the family dog kept them alive and their unity prevails in the end.
Stanton, Andrew “Wall-E.” Walt Disney Pictures, 2008. Film.
My story takes place in my home. Particularly in the living room which is where most of our adventures, cuddles and our time together happens. There we play, we eat together, we take funny short videos, Lola looks for neighbors and transfers that pass by our windows and barks at them, she stares at other dogs and makes funny noises wherever she wants to go outside and play with the other dogs. I also watched the film wall-e because it reminded me of how this robot felt invested into earth after having spent time here to clean up the planet. I found similarities between wall-e’s feelings and motives and Lola, since Lola seems very invested in trying to maintain peace and harmony at her owners home way after she is gone.