Posted February 1, 2018 by Emjay Lapus in Movies/TV

Papa’s Got a Brand New Sleeve in ALTERED CARBON

101_day02_0143.RAFThere may come a time when mortality will be a relic of the past. And in the new Netflix series Altered Carbon, viewers will get a unique take on how a person can achieve immortality in the future.

The main technological advancement highlighted in the series is a Digital Human Freight (DHF). A DHF is a person’s consciousness in data form stored in a “cortical stack”, which is implanted in their body (known in the series as a “sleeve”) through their neck. These stacks are transferable so that once their sleeve reaches its physical limits, they can be spun back up through another sleeve. In doing so, it enables a person to live forever. But, in most cases, their sleeve can look completely different from their original body..

While the depiction of artificial consciousness in media is not entirely something new, Altered Carbon manages to pull off their own take on the concept. For example, if the technology in Ghost in the Shell involves the assimilation of the human mind onto a cybernetic body, Altered Carbon takes it one step further by integrating the digitized mind onto a human body through a process that can be repeated over time. By the 24th century in the series, DHFs are already commonplace in society. But in our present, the idea of developing technology that exhibits human consciousness is still a work in progress, and the ethical nature of this technology is still subject to debate.

Studies on artificial consciousness have been going on for years, but we have yet to come close to developing anything that closely resembles a DHF. Add in the fact that the series acknowledged that DHFs and cortical stacks were based on alien technology and it’s a guarantee that we’re still light-years away from realizing the full potential of artificial consciousness. However, it shouldn’t hurt that Altered Carbon gives us a glimpse of what the future could potentially be. Eternal life might not be a far-off concept after all.


Based on the novel by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon is created by Laeta Kalogridis and stars Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy, and Martha Higareda. The entire first season is available on February 2, only on Netflix.


Photos courtesy of Netflix


Emjay Lapus

Emjay wears multiple hats -- communications specialist, aspiring Power Ranger, wrestling fan, sneakerhead, comic book reader, member of the Grizz Nation, part-time musician/full-time music lover, Grove Street OG, occasional photo/video editor (mostly memes), and protector of Earthrealm.