The “Upload” TV series (2020–) is a novel and somewhat scary vision of the future. The first season was released on Amazon Prime in May 2020 and it fits perfectly well within the genre of dystopian sci-fi series that we have seen the latest years, such as Black Mirror, Altered Carbon and Westworld. May I even go so far as to say that “Upload “is perhaps the best series available that describes where humans are heading in the coming couple of hundred years?
In this future, humans are able to upload their memories and consciousness into a virtual afterlife of their choosing. When computer programmer Nathan (Robbie Amell) dies prematurely when his self driving car goes bananas, he is uploaded to the very expensive Lake View, but soon finds himself under the thumb of his possessive girlfriend Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), who is still out there in the “real” physical worlds.
As Nathan adjusts to the pros and cons of digital heaven, he bonds with Nora (Andy Allo), his living customer service rep. Nora struggles with the pressures of her job, her dying father who does not want to be uploaded, and her growing feelings for Nathan while slowly coming to believe that Nathan was murdered.
Although the setting for the first season of Upload is in the year 2033, which clearly is too early for this kind of “uploading resurrection” technology to be mainstream in society, there are so many plausible tech stuff in this serie, technology that probably will be available in the coming few decades, such as self driving cars, self driving electric bicycles, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, advanced deep fake functions, and a lot of effort has been put into the small details.
What I really like about the series is that it is having an ironic perspective both on contemporary and future technology at the same time as it is questioning where the current development might lead us. It could best be described as a light sci-fi comedy with dark elements.
When Nathan’s head is disintegrated from his body in the first episode, one can not help to laugh at the “horror movie reactions” that his girlfriend and mom responds with. After the head is “uploaded” the body is put on dry ice and frozen down.
The series uses a cyberpunk generation X perspective on most of the things, and expands practices and technologies from today into a virtual environment, as Black Mirror often do as well. “In app purchases” is taken to another level when you can only buy food etc buy swiping and clicking in the virtual reality.
When Nora is letting the system learn the personality of Nathan with the help of machine learning, I can not help to think about the rapid development in deep fake pictures, videos and voices that is happening right now. Where will this take us in the coming years?
We are already having dead artists like Dio, Maria Callas, Whitney Houston and Frank Zappa out on tour, and in South Korea artists that have been dead for decades are coming to life again. Of course, they are not conscious entities, like the uploaded minds in the series “Upload”, but it is not too farfetched to think that with AI we will make it possible to revive humans many hundred years after they have dead, based on the bits and pieces we have from their live.
Just to give an example, here is an animation of my great, great grandfather, a picture from almost a hundred years ago, simply animated with the function Deep Nostalgia provided by MyHeritage, for free. Think this technology developed under 50 more years.
“Upload” is of course much more than just digital imagery, or is it? In fact the technology behind Upload
I love the feature of being able to just push a button and then fall to sleep. Where can I get the prescription for that?
Behind the series stands Greg Daniels and Howard Klein. The production company is 3 Arts Entertainment. A second season of the series is being recorded during spring 2021, and will probably air in 2022.