'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

Recent Israeli Synagogue Attack, a Possible False Flag?
2014 11 21
Dear Friends - I woke up yesterday morning to see a newspaper lying on the kitchen table with the front page proclaiming that five people were slain in an Israeli synagogue after a so-called "Palestinian attack." Some members of the media said that four people were killed, others said five, so it seems like that there was some confusion (or ...
The Michael Brown Shooting, Race Baiting for Political Power and Militarization of the Police
2014 11 21
From Youtube: The evidence clearly shows that Officer Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown, so why is this case being hyped by the mainstream media and the leftist political establishment?
Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance
2014 11 21
Recent years have seen a boom in the adoption of surveillance technology by governments around the world, including spyware that provides its purchasers the unchecked ability to target remote Internet users’ computers, to read their personal emails, listen in on private audio calls, record keystrokes and passwords, and remotely activate their computer’s camera or microphone. EFF, together with Amnesty International, ...
New UK spy chief says tech giants aid terrorism, privacy not ‘absolute right’
2014 11 21
Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ The new head of Britain’s GCHQ, the UK equivalent of the NSA in the U.S., said he believes privacy is not an absolute right and that tech giants must open themselves up to intelligence agencies. “GCHQ is happy to be part of a mature debate on privacy in the digital age,” Hannigan said. “But privacy ...
LOL: Atheist Feminist Pornographer Used as Moral Authority in T-shirt Row
2014 11 21
Dr. Matt Taylor was thrust into the headlines this last week, largely for his lead role in successfully landing a spacecraft on a comet 300 million miles from earth that travels at a speed of 85,000 mph. In short, Taylor and his colleagues pulled off one of the most amazing achievements in contemporary science and space exploration, and in a ...
More News »