I won't tell you how much I sold my soul for. It wasn't enough to cover my student debt, but it took a sizable chunk out of it, let's put it that way. It was too good to resist, and it was as easy as getting any other medical scan done: a couple of hours or so in the machine, and off I go, x dollars richer, as my now-uploaded self begins to take form. I'll even cop to some hubris: leaving behind a digital me that can't age, that (for the most part) doesn't die? Of course it had an appeal. And yes, there was curiosity in there as well: What would happen to me if I woke up one day in a black box? Sure, there was a virtual world for digital-me to inhabit, but it wasn't perfect – it lacked touch and taste and smell, the senses I would work later to try to crack, once I'd worked out my post-doc problem: how to simulate the effect of hormones on an electronic brain. I wondered what would happen if there were two of me to attack the problem: how do you simulate fight-or-flight? Or, for that matter, infatuation? I wondered how much we'd diverge over time; after all, digital-me would have her own experiences within the black box that would change her, maybe into someone different.
I saw the world with wonder then—and by wonder, I mean that I saw the world as research problems that could probably be answered with the right kind of study. Which, if you think about it, is a sort of mechanistic way of looking at the world, especially the world of the uploaded intelligence (UI); maybe it's no wonder things went the way they did.
It was about a year before they allowed me to meet digital-me. Acclimation time, they told me—though in hindsight, I think they wanted to give us time to diverge a little before we met, a chance to become separate people. Still, it was uncanny, meeting myself in VR chat and having digital-me respond in what was basically my voice, coming from what was basically my avatar. "Was it hard, the acclimation process?"
"It wasn't easy, but I survived." E-me chuckled. "It wasn't too bad, though. It wasn't Johnny Got His Gun, if that's what you're worried about. You get video guidance when you wake up in the box: don't panic, you just have to rebuild some neural pathways to communicate again. And they guide you through it, though I could have done without the new-agey 'relaxing' music they play in the background."