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How to Become Immortal: Upload your MindTerrence Aym Salem-News.com
Can brain uploading be achieved within 40 years? Sooner, say some experts.
(CHICAGO) - According to Ian Pearson, a British futurist, death will be a thing of the past by 2050.
Pearson is one of many futurists, cybernetic experts and artificial intelligence researchers whose thoughts are converging on the same basic idea: Why not upload everything that's in the brain—everything that makes a person who they are—into a computer and then download it again into a new body? Doing such a thing would make the individual theoretically immortal.
For such a thing to work, more advancements will be needed in the hardware and the software, and better interfaces will have to be developed between the human brain and the silicon brain.
Yet how to get there from here is not insurmountable.
Can brain uploading be achieved within 40 years?
Sooner, say some experts. What's needed are super fast computers with huge memory capacity. They see that happening before 2020 and that's just 10 years away. If there are unexpected breakthroughs with quantum computers the time line will be shortened considerably.
Some are not so ambitious; they're satisfied with the idea of virtual immortality. In that scenario everything that's an individual is uploaded into a digital avatar and survives 24/7 within a permanent, theoretically eternal, Internet.
Science fiction? No. An organization called The Digital Immortality Institute (DII) is researching the possibility of doing just that. DII has determined the three things necessary to achieve digital immortality are: guaranteed Internet access; insure the identity integrity of the avatars for each individual user; and finally, make sure the personality, memory, everything that makes up the person as a unique individual, has been uploaded into the digital facsimile before the actual person dies.
Yet virtual reality holds little interest for Pearson. He wants the real thing, and so does scientist Anders Sandberg. A member of the new transhuman movement (beyond human), Sandberg believes uploading minds and downloading them again into new bodies is a technology that's imminent. He believes it will happen because of Mankind's desire to overcome aging and death, as well as solving the problems associated with overpopulation.
Another transhumanist, AI theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky is convinced the technology must be developed quickly before a group or government with evil intentions does it first. He sees artificial intelligence as the key to unlock the immortality door. But it must be done in the right way for if it's not, dire consequences could follow. "If a self-improving AI is thrown together in a slapdash fashion, we could be in for big trouble," he warns.
Some like 80-year old Marvin Minsky, called the father of artificial intelligence, creator of artificial neural networks and the co-founder of the AI lab at MIT, believes the general masses haven't a clue about how to handle immortality, nor do they deserve it. From his ivory tower perspective he believes that scientists need the extra time that immortality can provide, while the rest of humanity should be satisfied with normal lifespans.
Sounding a bit godlike, Minsky waves aside any ethical considerations and argues that scientists are above such things. No restrictions on the research and applications, no regulation of any kind should be countenanced by the scientific community.
"Scientists shouldn't have ethical responsibility for their inventions, they should be able to do what they want. You shouldn't ask them to have the same values as other people," Minsky adamantly declares.
Now, that is scary. Isn't that the premise that Dr. Frankenstein had in the book that bears his name?
This article was originally published by Helium.com
Terrence Aym is a Salem-News.com Contributor based in Chicago, who is well known nationally for his stirring reports on the top ranked site, helium.com. Born in Minnesota, Terrence Aym grew up in the Chicagoland suburbs. Having traveled to 40 of the 50 states and lived in 7 of them, Aym is no stranger to travel. He's also spent time in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Western Africa. An executive for many years with Wall Street broker-dealer firms, Aym has also had a life-long interest in science, technology, the arts, philosophy and history. If it's still possible to be a 'Renaissance man' in the 21st Century, Aym is working hard to be one.
Aym has several book projects in the works. Media sites that have recently featured Aym, and/or discussed his articles, include ABC News, TIME Magazine, Business Insider, Crunchgear.com, Discover, Dvice, Benzinga and more recently, his work has been showing up in South Africa and Russia.
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