'We'll be able to upload our brains to a computer'
2007 11 30

By Nick Jackson | news.independent.co.uk

Anders Sandberg is James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford. Dr Sandberg believes that in the future we will be able to, and should, dramatically change what it means to be human.

Transhumanism – enhancing humans through new sciences and technologies – often looks a rather pie-in-the-sky, science-fiction idea. But we have good scientific reasons to think that in future we are going to change the human condition significantly.

It is becoming more and more realistic that we will extend our life span. I'm pretty optimistic that one day we will be able to upload our brains on to a computer, which will give us a kind of immortality. We can already simulate a brain bigger than an insect's.

A human brain is going to take a lot of computer power, but microscopy can actually scan brain slices quite well. We don't yet know how to reconstruct the function of neurons from the microscopy, but it seems that most people think it is feasible, although with microscopy the brain is pulverised.

Francis Fukuyama said that transhumanism was the world's most dangerous idea, but all ideas that suggest that we change ourselves or our society have the potential to be dangerous. Transhumanism is really the continuation of the classical ideas of humanism, but instead of improving the current human condition through democracy or tolerance, you actually improve the human condition itself.

One concern is that performance-enhancing and life-extending drugs and technologies will create an enhanced elite, but technology gets much cheaper over time, as with mobile phones or computers. Some technologies, like taking modafinil to improve cognition, are inexpensive now.

Services will still be expensive – for example, if you have to go to hospital to have your genes uploaded – but then education is a terribly expensive kind of intelligence amplifier, although we persist in thinking that it is the best thing since sliced bread.

It is people's right to control their body, so it is their right to enhance it. It's more difficult with children; enhancement that reduces the range of choices for a child would be very bad, but if it widens their choices, then it is not. We can all agree on an enhancement that makes a child live longer, but an enhancement that makes a child more religious narrows their choices.

There is a risk that enhancement becomes an arms race, with people ensuring that their children have the best skills to get the best jobs. Then nobody's really well off, but that's not because of enhancement, but because of people having a bad conception of what society is about. And it's such a great opportunity.



Related Articles
The New World Mind (Video)
Anders Sandberg
Eudoxa
ENHANCE Project
The next big bang: Man meets machine
Mind at Light Speed - A New Kind of Intelligence
The Creation of Smarter Than Human Intelligence
Robots, Cyborgs & A.I.


Latest News from our Front Page

Roswell, UFOs and Project Pandora
2014 07 23
Well, now, this is interesting. In fact, it’s very interesting. Over at the Department of Defense’s website you can find a file that has been declassified via the Freedom of Information Act on the subject of Project Pandora (which, to a significant degree, was focused on Cold War secrets, and how microwaves can affect the mind and body). It’s a fascinating ...
Men of Europe, Put Down the Eckhart Tolle Book and Pick up Your Sword
2014 07 23
Remember who you really are... The New Age Tactical Spiritual Military Industrial Complex supports murder and genocide. What is happening in Gaza today will eventually take place in London, Dublin, New York, Lisbon, Barcelona, Oslo, Glasgow, Melbourne, Stockholm, Auckland and Cape Town and wherever you are reading this article. Notice is being served upon all humanity. Not just the people of ...
Study Challenges Hypothesis that Birds Evolved from Dinosaurs
2014 07 23
The re-examination of Scansoriopteryx – a sparrow-sized, pre-Archaeopteryx, bird-like creature that lived in what is today China during the Jurassic period, about 154 million years ago – challenges the widely accepted hypothesis that birds are derived from land-dwelling dinosaurs that gained the ability to fly. Unearthed in Inner Mongolia in 2002, Scansoriopteryx was previously classified as a theropod dinosaur, from which ...
Israeli Professor: Rape Hamas Militants’ Mothers and Sisters to Deter Terrorist Attacks
2014 07 23
An Israeli academic has claimed that raping wives and mothers of Palestinian Hamas militants is the only thing that could deter further terrorist attacks. The remarks by renowned Middle East scholar Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University were made three weeks ago after the grim discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, but the recording was published online (in ...
’Mysterious plane’ with no callsign spotted circling London for two hours
2014 07 23
Scotland Yard has declined to comment on reports of a mysterious eavesdropping spyplane circling London. A radar tracking website showed an aircraft orbiting London at 10,000 feet for more than two hours. The plane had no recognisable callsign but was identified as a twin-engine Cessna F406 with the registration G-BVJT. The aircraft has been linked in the past to a shadowy fleet of ...
More News »