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Biotech Technology

Download Your Brain 1147

Nicholas Roussos writes "Futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson predicts that death will be avoidable in the year 2050 by downloading your brain to a computer. Unfortunately, he is also predicting that the process will be only available to the wealthy for years after its release. I guess we should all start saving our pennies now."
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Download Your Brain

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  • It's a copy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:23PM (#12613811)
    You know, like a photocopy. What's the point, you'd still be dead.

    • by madprof ( 4723 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:28PM (#12613923)
      Quite. The only benefit might be that you can have arguments with yourself before you die, which would be quite cool.
      This is just for the vainglorious.
      • Re:It's a copy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @02:48PM (#12615272) Journal

        A sad scientist was once heard to say,
        To upload my brain, I have found a way,
        But my memory contains
        Things not public domain
        And I'd violate DMCA.

        Hello alcohol, goodbye Karma. 8) Seriously, I just got this image of the RIAA breaking into the lab 'cause the cloned brain remembered the Happy Birthday lyrics.

    • by kpwoodr ( 306527 ) <> on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:28PM (#12613930) Homepage Journal
      You'd be suprised. When I died a few years ago I had this done, and it's been great fun. It was either this or getting frozen. I'm just waiting for someone to screw up and download me, and I'm home free. That's where the money will be. Allowing the rich people to take over a younger person's body.
    • Re:It's a copy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mrdaveb ( 239909 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:30PM (#12613959) Homepage
      Conciousness is so poorly understood that I don't think you can even say that for sure. Am 'I' the matter or the data in my brain? If I go into a teleporter, do 'I' come out the other end?
      • by tanguyr ( 468371 ) <> on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:33PM (#12614020) Homepage
        If I go into a teleporter, do 'I' come out the other end?

        Well, until someone invents a person-capable teleportation device, i think the answer is No.
      • Re:It's a copy (Score:3, Interesting)

        If I go into a teleporter, do 'I' come out the other end?

        Depends on your SciFi. In Star Trek, absolutely. It "energizes" your matter into an energy stream and sends that actual energy to another place where it coalesces. It's your very quarks being transported.

        The Outer Limits did a good story once about the more likely form of teleportation. Some dinosaur-looking aliens made contact with earth and they had the technology. It worked by cooling the person to absolute zero, scanning the subatomic part
    • And what happens if the Evil Bit [] gets flipped in the download?

      Good? Bad? I'm the guy with the gun.
    • Re:It's a copy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:40PM (#12614158) Journal
      I think the copy might disagree with you.
    • Re:It's a copy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SpectreBlofeld ( 886224 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:40PM (#12614165)
      Every cell in your body dies and is replaced over a scale of seven years or so. You're not the original you, having been replaced multiple times with a 'copy'. Care to redefine your idea of conciousness?
      • Re:It's a copy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Conspiracy_Of_Doves ( 236787 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:58PM (#12614458)
        The difference is continuity. If you replace a tiny piece of yourself, you are still the same person. The new peice is integrated into the rest of your previous self. Do it again, you are still the same person. Regardless of how many time it is done, you are still the same person, even if every original peice of you is replaced. However, if you replace everything at once, there is no longer any 'previous self' for the new peices to be integrated into, and continuity is lost.
        • Re:It's a copy (Score:5, Interesting)

          by lobsterGun ( 415085 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:03PM (#12615530)
          How about this:

          a person has a special chip inserted in their skull that records their brain state over the course of their lifetime. The chip is wirelessly connected to the backup system and keeps it constantly and updated. Would that be a valid backup?

          Or how about this:

          Over the course of a lifetime, a person has various parts of their brain replaced/augmented with technology.

          Some of the implants replaced damaged brain functions (damage from a stroke).

          Some augment the senses (heads up display).

          Some add new capability (robo-telepathy).

          Eventually, the person replaces their entire brain to the point that they no longer need a body and can exist in a virtual world.

          When do they cease to be human?
          Is it when the last brain cell is replaced?
          Is it when the first one gets replaced?
          Is it somewhere in the middle?
          • by LesPaul75 ( 571752 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @04:49PM (#12616976) Journal
            Trust me -- this is a road you don't want to go down. Your wife will die in childbirth, your children will be hidden from you, and the guy who used to be your best friend in the world will hack your limbs off. And then, just to rub salt in the wound, he'll tell your son that you're "more machine than man now, twisted and evil." What a prick.
    • Re:It's a copy (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Saeger ( 456549 )
      Simply because your mind isn't operating on the slow organic substrate we evolved with is no reason to think you'd be "dead" when transferred to better, faster artificial substrates, whether in a traditional meatspace vessel, or VR worlds.

      To clarify:

      • "You" are your emergent pattern of mind: Software.
      • "You" are NOT necessarily what composes your operating substrate: Hardware.

      I understand the cognitive dissonance [] a lot of people have to the idea of transhumanism, but that doesn't make it valid. People

  • by AltGrendel ( 175092 ) <ag-slashdot&exit0,us> on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:23PM (#12613816) Homepage the blue screen of death.
  • Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrAnnoyanceToYou ( 654053 ) <dylan.dylanbrams@com> on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:23PM (#12613819) Homepage Journal
    Futurologist is a cool title. I wish I'd invented it myself. Looking at any prediction anyone makes upon the future that far out is, well, ludicrous. This man is 'looking' 75 years into the future. If you look 75 years back you see: The Great Depression The Rise and Fall of Communism The Rise of the Computer The creation of massive individualized transportation Just to name a few. Great. But projecting things that far out doesn't quite deal with the possibility that this was an anomaly in human history. He's making assumptions based upon a dozen factors that psychics ARE more qualified to look at. Example from TFA: The Playstation 5 will be as powerful as the human brain. How could this not be him talking out of his rear end? 2020? People, as a rule, don't follow lines straight enough that you can figure out what they're going to be doing tomorrow. When someone predicts a phenomenon like BitTorrent 20 years ahead of time, I'll listen to them. Until then, well, you're just blowing steam. As for avoiding death, well, let's just say that IF a supergenius computer driven by 'emotion' suddenly appears, I personally will convince it that immortal humans are the best companions for it from the command line. Then we'll wait a week and suddenly teh supar majikul mind-to-computer link will suddenly put me inside as wil_e_coyote_super_Genius.o I get the cool filename. You heard the dibs here.
    • He's making assumptions based upon a dozen factors that psychics ARE more qualified to look ...

      I always wanted to buy the mailing list and phone numbers of people who subscribe to those New Age/Psychic magazines. Then I would call them out of the blue and say, "I'm a psychic and I sensed that you needed to speak to me!" Then get them hooked and charge them $$. Now with the DNC list, there's no point.

    • Mathologist (Score:5, Funny)

      by nrlightfoot ( 607666 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:39PM (#12614146) Homepage
      Just don't become a Mathologist, because 50 - 5 = 45, not 75.
  • BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by astro_ripper ( 884636 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:23PM (#12613823) Homepage Journal
    As Penn and Teller have stated before:

    He picked those numbers for his theory because he'll be dead by then.

    The end.

  • by Ciaran_H ( 579351 ) * <ciaran-slashdot&theblob,org> on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:23PM (#12613829)
    Oh yay, so Bill Gates gets to be immortal as well as evil.

    "What are we going to do this millenium, Bill?"
    "Same as we do every millenium, Ballmer..."
  • by AugstWest ( 79042 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:24PM (#12613838)
    ...they forgot the -p flag when dumping it, and people will be restored with no moral codes.
  • by suso ( 153703 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:24PM (#12613840) Homepage Journal
    The question on my mind is, how can you have your conscious self be in two places at once? If it would ever be possible for this, then I would think that the real power would not be longevity of life but in being able to copying ones self and retaining a kind of collective consciousness over a large array of machines.
    This is too much into the realm of metaphysics to talk about now. There is not enough factual data yet. We need to learn much much more about the human brain before we can approach such technology. Otherwise, talking about it sounds more like techno song lyrics than real science.
    • What are you talking about? Riker did it on Star Trek the Next Generation with the transporter. What happens is one of the personalities becomes a member of the maqui, and the other becomes a first officer. duh
  • by YodaToo ( 776221 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:24PM (#12613847)
    The new copy of your brain in the computer is just fine, but what about the human you that still suffers & dies?

    Its like the Star Trek transporter beam, the copy of you transported to the new location is fine, but what about the original which is obliterated in the process?

    • by m50d ( 797211 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:34PM (#12614047) Homepage Journal
      What makes you the same person who went to sleep last night? Your conscious experience wasn't continuous, all that really makes you who you are is the things in your brain, the memories and personality and so on. If it's a perfect replica of your brain, the experience will be the same. If you were killed in your sleep last night and a replica made and put in your place, how would you even know?
      • by Famatra ( 669740 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @02:30PM (#12615013) Journal
        "If you were killed in your sleep last night and a replica made and put in your place, how would you even know?"

        I wouldn't know because I'd be a copy. That does not negate the fact that a consciousness was destroyed even though a new one (me) exists. Destroyed meaning that subjective experience would cease, as in death.

        When a person his or her subjective viewpoint ceases irrespective if one or more copies exist to take its place. Having copies, each with their own conscious view point, does not negate the death of the original.
        • My thinking is that we could avoid this whole problem of whether conciousness is transferred to the copy by simply doing the process gradually.

          Replace the neurons, or areas of the brain one at a time, by directly connecting them to the rest of the functioning brain. The remaining part would treat the new electronic parts the same as the old one, and consciousness would remain intact.

          If you wanted to make a copy, then perhaps the new parts could be connected in parallel with the old parts. When your brain
      • When you go to sleep, the electrical activity in your brain doesn't stop.

        However, I've read that in certain types of brain surgery, all electrical activity in the brain must be stopped for some period of time, and then "restarted". The person thus loses all the short term memory, but keeps the long-term, because that isn't dependent on continuous electrical activity. When that person wakes up, is he still considered the same old person, or just a "replica"?

    • And what happens if you have a neurological problem or disease. Suppose you have alzheimers before your brain gets downloaded, what use is a program that cant rememeber what it was doing. And if you were happily on your way to insanity before downloading would the desent into madness or senility continue in the downloaded version, ie would the data be so mangled it would gradually corrupt itself beyond salvation or would some sysadmin have to keep rolling you back to version 1.
  • He's wrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by podperson ( 592944 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:25PM (#12613871) Homepage
    Making a copy of yourself doesn't avoid death for you, it just means ongoing life for a copy of you.

    This is not a subtle point.

    Anyone who cannot grasp this either hasn't thought deeply about a subject, or is an idiot. Anyone who uses the title "futurologist" is likely the latter.
    • Re:He's wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Loonacy ( 459630 )
      Well what if you found out that every 7 years or so, you had a completely different body than what you had previously? Gasp! You're a different person! Change your name!
    • Re:He's wrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:49PM (#12616181) Homepage Journal
      How do you know when you wake up in the morning that you are really the same person that went to bed the previous night? You don't have continuity of consciousness through the entire night. Maybe the "you" of yesterday died, and you are just a copy; how would you know? ("I'd know the difference." "No you wouldn't, you'd be programmed not to.")

      If you went to the "uploading clinic", and they put you under a general anaestheic, uploaded you, and terminated the leftover hunk of meat, how would that be different than simply going to sleep and waking up (albeit in a new "body")?

      As you said,

      This is not a subtle point.

      Anyone who cannot grasp this either hasn't thought deeply about a subject, or is an idiot.

  • Not for me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by e_AltF4 ( 247712 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:26PM (#12613893)
    NEVER do a backup without a working restore !
  • News? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:26PM (#12613894)

    I thought this was supposed to be 'News for Nerds', not 'Speculation for Halfwits'...

    From TFA:

    He thinks that today's younger generation will benefit from the advances in technology to the point that death will be effectively eliminated. He explains his logic with a simple example.
    "The new PlayStation is 1 per cent as powerful as a human brain," he said. "It is into supercomputer status compared to 10 years ago. PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the human brain." where does that put the Xbox?
    Seriously, this 'explanation' of his 'logic' leaves much to be desired...but there's more.
    Also from TFA:

    It [Pearson's AI] would definitely have emotions - that's one of the primary reasons for doing it. If I'm on an airplane I want the computer to be more terrified of crashing than I am so it does everything to stay in the air until it's supposed to be on the ground.

    Hmm...but what if the AI is a thrillseeker? Suicidal? Psychotic? What if it suddenly develops acrophobia? If we're going to have a true AI with emotions, these are issues that need to be addressed, don't you think?
    Here's another few nuggets from TFA:

    "You need a completely global debate. Whether we should be building machines as smart as people is a really big one. Whether we should be allowed to modify bacteria to assemble electronic circuitry and make themselves smart is already being researched."

    Well, that 'completely global debate' should be ready by the release of PlayStation 5...

    'We can already use DNA, for example, to make electronic circuits so it's possible to think of a smart yoghurt some time after 2020 or 2025, where the yoghurt has got a whole stack of electronics in every single bacterium. You could have a conversation with your strawberry yogurt before you eat it.'

    'Smart yoghurt'? Sure I guess it's possible to think of that...about as possible as it is to think of magical elves, unicorn-riding gnomes, and smart futurologists.

    One thing conspicuously missing from this article is speculation over the possible legal status of either a true AI or a downloaded brain. Apparently, that paragraph got bumped in favor of 'smart yoghurt'.

    In short, this is the dumbest thing I've heard all day (and I work in IT support). I'm sure that if Dr. Pearson didn't already have such a sweet position as 'head of the Futurology unit at BT', he could make good money writing speculative fiction...or reading palms.
    • by puppet10 ( 84610 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @02:32PM (#12615039)
      Toaster: Would you like some toast?
      Lister: Mm-mm.
      Toaster: Some nice hot crisp brown buttered toast?
      Lister: Mm-mm.
      Toaster: You don't want any toast then?
      Lister: No.
      Toaster: What about a muffin?
      Lister: Nothing.
      Toaster: You know the last time you had toast? 18 days ago. 11:36,
      Tuesday the 3rd. Two rounds.
      Lister: Ssshhh!
      Toaster: I mean, what's the point of buying a toaster with artificial intelligence if you don't like toast?
      Lister: I do like toast!
      Toaster: I mean, this is my job! This is cruel, just cruel.
      Lister: Look, I'm busy.
      Toaster: Oh, you're not busy eating toast, are you?
      Lister: I don't want any!
      Toaster: I mean, the whole purpose of my existence is to serve you with hot, buttered, scrummy toast. If you don't want any, then my existence is meaningless.
      Lister: Good.
      Toaster: I toast, therefore I am.
      Lister: Will you shut up?
      [He goes back to sniffing his way through the book. Rimmer enters.]

      Lister: Rimmer, there's nothing out there, you know. There's nobody out there. No alien monsters, no Zargon warships, no beautiful blondes with beehive hairdos who say `Show me some more of this Earth thing called kissing'. There's just you, me, the cat, and a lot of floating smegging
      rocks. That's it. Finito.
      Rimmer: Lister, if there's no one out there, what's the point in existence? Why are we here?

      Toaster: Beats me. Do you want some toast?
  • Questions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by teiresias ( 101481 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:29PM (#12613936)
    Alright, so you've download my brain into a giant (or perhaps in my brain's case small) computer bank. Sure, why not.

    Will I than be able to "upload" my brain into a new body? A new cloned body? A completely new body?

    If not, since my brain is just stored somewhere is it completely read only, or will my brain have an interface to the world, ie living through the computer? If not, why not. If so, why would I want to be uploaded back into a body?

    Sure, I'll nod my head and say why not that you'll be able to download the entire human brain into a computer. But there are far to many other questions which would involve far to much more work to say this is a viable alternative for the rich.

    And on another note, seeing as harddrives crash on me like nobodies business, we'd need a more reliable medium than what is currently available today.
  • self centered (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spectrokid ( 660550 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:30PM (#12613955) Homepage
    After I have gone, young people will come with new ideas, new dreams, new problems. They will require the (intellectual) space fat ass rich guys will claim for their eternal life. I do not believe I have achieved enough in this world for my mind to persist past my body. All good things come to an end, and this includes me!
  • by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:32PM (#12613997) Homepage Journal
    I lost my mom when in my early 20's, and my dad a few years ago.

    Every once in a while, I wish I could ask them what to do about this or that, what they did when such and such happened, and so forth.

    Sort of a Jor'El/Kal'El thing, though I usually don't need to save planets and such.

    And when a spouse of 50 years dies, the other would like to talk to them.

    It's no way to cheat death, but it is a way for those around you to avoid dealing with the fact that you're gone.

  • Old T Shirt (Score:5, Funny)

    by Embedded Geek ( 532893 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:33PM (#12614027) Homepage
    "I haven't lost my mind; I'm sure it's backed up on tape somewhere."
  • by dbretton ( 242493 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:34PM (#12614039) Homepage

    Apparently he's been watching the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex [] series on Adult Swim [].

    In addition to the brain-puter, he has predicted that the future will also have power-hungry bending robots with a penchant for booze, smoking and thievery.
  • Yeah, whatever. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:34PM (#12614050) Homepage Journal
    You may be able to download the electrical state - but that is FAR from certain, as the brain is very noisy, electrically - but how would you download the chemical state? Seratonin levels aren't exactly going to be trivial to scan, remotely.

    And once you have the chemical composition and the electrical composition, you ALSO need to know the wiring - the wiring between the neurons is unique to an individual, and isn't going to be easy to determine.

    Ok, so now you have all of the core information. Is it still useful? Well, no. You now need to know the physical layout of the brain - all the folds, the exact proximity of A to B, that sort of thing.

    Ok, is THIS enough? Still no. You still lack information on sensory input. You need to know what the range is on different nerves, because the brain is going to adjust to what the nerves deliver. If you don't know what the nerves deliver, then you don't know what sort of data the brain is expecting.

    NOW, is that enough? No. You need to know what the data is that is being fed into the brain. For example, those with tetrochromatic vision will be getting data in a whlly different format from those with trichromatic vision, and both will be different from those with bichromatic vision.

    Once you have all of this information, you MAY be able to reconstruct a person's brain well enough to be able to function identically. The keyword is MAY. As technology improves, our knowledge of the brain is improving. It is still seriously incomplete, but it is improving. There is so far no proof that we will ever know enough to actually duplicate the brain, although there is also no proof that we won't. All we have proof of, right now, is that we can't, right now.

  • this. It of course doesn't say anything about when brain downloads are likely to become available. But it does say a lot about how out of touch with reality so-called experts are. Of course when your job is such that closing the quality control loop takes longer than your lifetime it's only to be expected that your work might not have the same quality expected from people working in other fields.
  • From Neuromancer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dragon218 ( 139996 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:36PM (#12614096) Homepage
    by William Gibson

    He turned on the tensor beside the Hosaka. The crisp circle of light fell directly on the Flatline's construct. He slotted some ice, connected the construct, and jacked in. It was exactly the sensation of someone reading over his
    He coughed. "Dix? McCoy? That you man?" His throat was tight.
    "Hey, bro," said a directionless voice.
    "It's Case, man. Remember?"
    "Miami, joeboy, quick study."
    "What's the last thing you remember before I spoke to you, Dix?"
    "Hang on." He disconnected the construct. The presence was gone. He reconnected it. "Dix? Who am I?"
    "You got me hung, Jack. Who the fuck are you?"
    "Ca--your buddy. Partner. What's happening, man?"
    "Good question."
    "Remember being here, a second ago?"
  • ObSpock (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rufus88 ( 748752 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:46PM (#12614280)
    "It would be most interesting to impress your memory engrams on a computer, doctor. The resulting torrential flood of illogic would be most entertaining."
    --Spock, to Dr. McCoy, in "The Ultimate Computer"
  • "The wealthy... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Senor_Programmer ( 876714 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:47PM (#12614286)
    will be able to download their consciousness into computers by 2050 - the not so well off by "2075 or 2080", claims futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson, head of the Futurology unit at BT."

    The second thing that comes to Senor Programmer, futureologistismo extroadinaires mind is...
    Once again those who wait will benefit from the excursions and expense of early adopters. The first thing was tooo involved to type fast and follows with SP's predictions as coda.

    Thing the first. Why is it that these arts and letters types, and Ian surely is one, Otherwise he'd be out working on brain loading rather than trying t get his arse in the history books as the prognisticating dude who ripped off my AC comments to /. and got his other A&L buds to print it. Or perhaps it's his barber shop dipl0ma d0ct0rate in the social upheavals resulting from the simple overhand knot as misapplied in early French lamb gut scum bag manufacturing. Which reminds me of that fugs tune, Saran Wrap. But I digress and am not to thing the first yet, it being...

    That why the heck is is always "the rich" or "the wealthy" with these A&L futurologists? I'll tell you why. Because it fits their hidden agenda of control through class warfare, that's why. Keep those brain loading researchers in their place by pointing out that they are working for THE MAN and not for the community good. But what does he care? He's a wealthy futurologist. Oh yeh, his position of wealth is both secure and non-suspect if he maintains his position as 'one who knows best' between the evil technocrats, scientists, engineers, and the 'po folk'.

    Coda follows as it by definition must.

    BZZZZTTTTTTT Ian's full of shit.

    First. It's not a matter of 'loading' ones brain into some bit of hardware. It's integration of that hardware into the brain function to the degree that, as has been observed for decades with other prosthetics, the brain ceases to recognize the machine as distinct from itself. As brain function is slowly replaced and integrated there will come a point at which the brain is totally aware of it's self yet that self is totally contained within the hardware which replaced it. WIth the rapidly declining cost of hardware and synthetic diamond for physical interfacing, it's more likely that somone will discover that he has been a machine for many years rather than consciously set out to 'load' his self into that machine. See the machine. Become one with the machine. Be the machine. But in this case, machine becomes you instead.

    If anyone is interested in a FOSS hardware-software project that will show up THE MAN and put the first consciousness, I propose a dog because you never know with cats and monkeys tend to toss unpleasant stuff about, in hardware, please let me know. Seriously. Well maybe not the dog part but the ever growing in functionality brain prosthetic would be FUN.

    PSS volunteers will be considered in order of descending donor ranking

  • I'd never do it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rick.C ( 626083 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:56PM (#12614443)
    So, who gets to decide how your "brain-dump" is used? Certainly not you. Sure, you could "wish" for various things to happen, but without a body to command, you'd have no enforcement powers.

    Why would I want to give my neural contents to someone I don't know, who could later sell them to someone I dislike, to be used as a "mental slave"?

    I can think of no better definition of hell than if I were somehow "aware" of what was going on, but powerless to stop it.
  • by solios ( 53048 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @02:06PM (#12614600) Homepage
    Max Headroom dealt with this, both as an overall concept and as a specific episode of the TV series.

    Personally, I think it would be handy - dupe the skillset into a ROM construct and cut the sucker loose on photoshop. He can sit on IRC and CG my comic pages while I write and ink the sucker. Perfect division of labor, creatively speaking.... but I'm one of those creative types who needs multiple instances of himself, not collaborators clouding the idea stream. :P
  • Where am I? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vinsci ( 537958 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @02:24PM (#12614900) Journal
    Obligatory link to Daniel C Dennet's essay Where am I? [], which is more of a Sci-Fi short story, originally published in his book Brainstorms: Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology.

    And you thought philosophy was no fun. ;-)

  • by tomk ( 20364 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:53PM (#12616241) Homepage
    "as a disembodied head living in a jar, I envy the dead."

    -George Foreman's Head
  • by hackus ( 159037 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @04:01PM (#12616337) Homepage
    Sorry, you only get one license and it isn't transferable.

    Besides, how many quacks have been saying this sort of thing over the past 50 years???

    I thinks Mother Natures copy protection is quite effective. Although I have no doubt we will be able to genetically modify the human race to extend lifespan significantly (i.e. the wealthy and the powerful that is...), I doubt forever.

    Thinking we can build a machine to do it I think speaks volumes of our ignorance about how the brain really works and if it truly is the part that provides "conscious" thought.

    Note, I am not sure if we REALLY understand the difference from conscious thought and intelligence.

    Do the two require each other for example?

    Exactly what IS UN conscious thought if so?

    We have lots of crack pot organizations right now that measure intelligence for example, like MENSA.

    I am not even sure we know what intelligence is let alone how to measure it.

    I have a PhD sitting next too me who I think is clueless half the time and I do not find him intelligent. Meanwhile, the guy who use to do Tattoo's for people has written genuinely interesting and useful software for our customers and is self taught. His work pays for the over inflated EGO and salary of the PhD guy.


    So what is intelligence?

    I think it is any organisms ability to modify its environment to an extreme (i.e. make its own environment to sustain itself even when the outside environment would kill it.)

    So if you build a house in response to winter, or air conditioning units in response to heat I would consider that intelligent.
    (if you move into outer space and do it, your not just intelligent, your going to likely live forever...)

    However, I do not think you need to be conscious to do these thinks and explore the Universe, simply intelligent.

    Sort of like the creatures in the new War of the Worlds remake.

  • by danila ( 69889 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @04:57AM (#12621493) Homepage
    It's interesting how the media works. Here we have the head of futurology unit of British Telecom. He isn't some random guy and he clearly did some studies about the future. He makes a speech (was it at Futurex), where he, no doubt speaks at length about the future, about likely developments, about his work, about BT plans, etc. But the media takes two soundbites and rehashes them endlessly, without analisys or as much as a second thought. As a result, we get a bunch (hundreds of, to be more precise) of identical articles titled "Download your brain by 2050" and the text centering around "The other prediction was talking yoghurt by 2020".

    This is pathetic. The average reader/viewer/listner has no chance to form a coherent picture of the future, or even our current ideas of it. But sadly, this is typical for news coverage of all topics. And it's actually one of the problems - that we treat such items as "news", where you get a notable person speak, then a few hundreds of nearly identical articles appear, then silence. In the best case the meme of "Playstation 5 will be as powerful as a human brain" will spread and settle in the brains of the public.

    Instead of starting a decades-long discussion of all the implications of the future changes, instead of purposefully changing our societies to adapt to the scientific and technological advances, instead of basing our research budgets on the goal of achieving the most desirable of all possible futures, we just live as if nothing important is happening. This is beyond sad.

    I don't know how you can change that, may be it's impossible in the world of corrupt democracies and commercialised mass-media, but if you personally want to understand where we are heading, check out the links in the end of this post.

    Ian Pearsen is late. I remember the idiotic 21st century forecast that BT produced five years ago. Only now he starts to get things that better thinkers realised a decade ago. For some people the idea of mind uploading is not new and they already managed to present a much more comprehensive picture of the future.

    Here are some of the resources outlining it:

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.