I walked into my office and shut the door. I took a long sip of my black coffee. It was still piping hot. I sat down in my chair and turned on the small tv I keep in here. The news came on. As expected they were still covering the protesters and counter-protesters clashing outside the hospital. This had been going on for weeks now. I saw no reason why it would stop any time soon. I watched for a bit as I finished my coffee, and it was not long before I heard a knock on the door. I turned the tv off before answering.
“Come in” I said.
The door opened, and Billy entered.
“Good morning Erin” Billy said.
“Good morning to you to love” I replied.
Billy is my partner at the law firm I work at. We are currently working on a case together. So far, it is not going well.
“What are we drinking this morning?” He asked.
“Folgers” I replied
“I can’t believe you can stomach that crap” Billy said.
“It’s not that good, but it does its job.” I tell him
There was a short pause in the conversation, before Billy continued.
“How are the kids doing?” he asked.
“Their doing well” I replied. “Sasha just stared her first year of high school, and she’s on the track team now. Mary is in the third grade now, and she’s taking up an interest in concert band”
“That’s good to hear” Billy said. “How are you doing?”
I decide to be honest with him
“Very stressed out” I reveal. “The last thing I wanted was for this case to become some huge news story, and the protestors certainly aren’t’ helping.
“Ya, I figured.” Billy said. “Listen there’s something I need to talk to you about, like right now”
His words caught me off guard.
“Oh, okay. What is it?” I ask.
“I made a formal request to recuse myself from the case, and it’s been granted” He told me.
I almost couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“What do you mean!? Why!?” I demanded to know
“I can no longer take part in this case knowing full well the ethics of it.” Billy explained.
“what are you talking about?” I demanded to know.
Billy paused for a moment, then began his explanation.
“I believe that life has a beginning and an end.” Billy began. “when life ends, that’s it, there is no more. That is how it has always been, and that is how it always should be. The case we are arguing for, the right to resurrect someone’s conscious through artificial intelligence, I just can’t do it anymore. It’s just not right.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and I let Billy know it.
“I can’t believe this. Are you even listening to yourself?” I asked. “This technology is a miracle. You sound like one of those psychopath protestors out there, talking all about how this is immoral and goes against nature or whatever.”
“Did you ever stop to think that maybe they have a point?” Billy asked “there is something pretty creepy about brining someone back from the dead, what if where going against this person’s wishes?”
“What do you mean?” I asked
“look, say you lived a long life, and your tired, and your ready to die, and you finally do. Then suddenly you wake up to find out that someone has brought you back from beyond the grave. They never consulted you about what you want. You never sked for this. You never wanted this.” He explained with a passion.
“I think it’s a bit different in this case.” I countered. “this person didn’t live a long and fulfilling life. They died at the age of 22. What happened was a tragedy. And now for the first time in history we have this miracle at our fingertips that will give them a second chance at life”
“You’re leaving out a very important detail Erin. This person committed suicide. They killed themselves. They literally did not want to be alive anymore. Should we not honor their final wish and let them rest in piece.” Billy argued
I couldn’t keep myself from yelling at his point anymore.
“That’s all the more reason to bring them back from the dead! What they did was a horrible mistake! Think about all the people who have killed themselves. If someone could just talk to them, if they could just see for a moment how much all their friends and family miss them, then maybe they would give life a second chance. And now we have that power. We can bring this person back and get them the help they need!” I yelled
“Once you set that kind of precedent, where does it end? Are we just going to be able to bring anyone who has died back to life, regardless of the circumstances? Do you know how much society will abuse that? In fact, I can tell you exactly what will happen, rich assholes will use this technology to essentially live forever, regardless of the human cost. So many people will be taking up space in the world by continually coming back to life that there won’t be any room for newborns. This technology if allowed to thrive will deny future generations the right to exist. How can you not see that?” Billy asked
“Look I’m sure your right that people will find a way to abuse this technology at some point in the future, but what piece of technology hasn’t been abused by people at some point.” I asked. “Yes, the rich will surely benefit from this, but I truly believe with all my hear that the pros of this technology greatly outweigh any cons you or anyone else can think up. The ability to restore someone’s entire mind through artificial intelligence, to literally bring them back from the dead, there are so many things that can be done with this new technology if it’s in the right hands. Please, help me defend it so that the world can be blessed with this miracle.”
Billy didn’t respond right away. It was silent for a little bit. He eventually broke that silence.
“I’m sorry, I can’t. It just isn’t right” He said.
Billy walked out my office door, and before closing it, said something to me.
“Good luck Erin” He said.
Billy shut the door. I sighed and sat down at my desk. I opened up my computer and began working. I had a lot to get done.