'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

Guccifer: Pennsylvania City to be Nuked Next Year
2014 11 25
From Youtube: Renowned hacker Guccifer, who accessed the private emails of numerous top military, political and intelligence leaders, told the New York Times that a city in Pennsylvania is the target of a nuke attack in 2015. Guccifer also revealed that he is sitting on an archive of hacked emails that have not been publicly released.
Israeli Police Caught On Video Hosing ‘Skunk Spray’ on Palestinian Elementary Schools and Protesters
2014 11 25
Israeli police in Jerusalem have been caught on video recently spraying East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhoods with a concoction they call “skunk spray”. The liquid is a mixture of sewage and rotting animal roadkill. The result of the police hosing down neighborhoods, elementary schools and protesters with the mix is a putrid smell that seems almost impossible to get off or be ...
The New Normal: Artist Butchers "Disney Princesses" with Breast Cancer Scars
2014 11 25
Comment: Natural remedies for cancer, like: diet, vitamins, minerals and other supplements are NEVER addressed. Neither are chemicals and wi-fi saturated environment recognized for the rise in these new epidemics. Instead ... what do they do? They normalize it. Like it’s just the new thing you need to do. Change nothing and adapt to these new circumstances of mutilation kids. ...
Gasp, Turkish President Observes Reality: "Women and Men Created Differently"
2014 11 25
Comment: Wow, a politician that manage to observe reality. Shocking and offensive no doubt, I wonder how the pro Muslim Feminists in Scandinavia and the rest of the West will react to this. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set off a new controversy on Monday, declaring that women are not equal to men and accusing feminists of not understanding the special ...
The Libertarian Case for Free Trade And Restricted Immigration
2014 11 25
It is frequently maintained that "free trade" belongs to "free immigration" as "protectionism" does to "restricted immigration." That is, the claim is made that while it is not impossible that someone might combine protectionism with free immigration, or free trade with restricted immigration, these positions are intellectually inconsistent, and thus erroneous. Hence, insofar as people seek to avoid errors, they ...
More News »