Monday, 12 November 2012

Digital Body

In this blog I am going to discuss the most important aspect in our life which is; life itself.  Some scientists around the world are looking at the possibility of uploading the human mind on to computers for memory use like a hard drive or, even crazy ideas which I am going to talk about.

Mind upload is where a human uploads his or her conscious mind to a computer system where, the device would store or would operate as if it were a genuine human brain. “The computer would have to run a simulation model so faithful to the original that it would behave in essentially the same way as the original brain, or for all practical purposes, indistinguishably. The simulated mind is assumed to be part of a virtual reality simulated world, supported by an anatomic 3D body simulation model. Alternatively, the simulated mind could be assumed to reside in a computer inside (or connected to) a humanoid robot or a biological body, replacing its brain.” Reference from: Naturally to me that sounds crazy and out of this world and then, I thought who in their right minds would want to do that? Surely enough I got think of the slight benefits.

The factor of uploading someone’s whole memory to a computer doesn’t seem like such a bad idea if for example; a person is suffering from brain damage due to that, their mind is no longer operating like how it once used to. The convenience of having already stored that person’s brain on to a computer would be such a relief for the family and friends of the injured person. Also without our mind being in our bodies anymore and, the use of a computer processing information stored on a hard disk the capability of us becoming immortal is very likely. The computer brain could remain for as long as it can amongst us continuing to learn and improve as time goes on.

Even though I said immortality could be a benefit who would actually want to live forever? Watching everyone you’re close to die whilst you still live on won’t be very fun. Yes maybe you might make new friends and meet all your descendants, but surely by then you would have had enough of life by then. Another main factor of life that makes us all human is the uncertainty of death. We all have the sense of confusion and slight fear of dying as we do not know what, lays ahead for us after we go. Thereby by removing that element of fear of dying and, never living again surely dehumanising into fearless robot.  This then also makes you think who would want to live forever? I can only think that maybe just the rich and, famous would want to do it or even, could afford it but I can think of another reason why someone would want to.

Another aspect of mind uploading will be essentially how this new brain will work compared to the old one. Our minds’ are very powerful things allowing us to; think, remember, talk and, sense things around us. But the adjustment of mind uploading could benefit the users by “could potentially think much faster than a human even if it were no more intelligent. Human neurons exchange electrochemical signals with a maximum speed of about 150 meters per second, whereas the speed of light is about 300 million meters per second, about two million times faster. ”- Reference from: This would mean the encounters with super intelligent human being which leads into singularity.

“Singularity is the technological creation of smarter-than-human intelligence. There are several technologies that are often mentioned as heading in this direction. The most commonly mentioned is probably Artificial Intelligence, but there are others: direct brain-computer interfaces, biological augmentation of the brain, genetic engineering, ultra-high-resolution scans of the brain followed by computer emulation. Some of these technologies seem likely to arrive much earlier than the others, but there are nonetheless several independent technologies all heading in the direction of the Singularity – several different technologies which, if they reached a threshold level of sophistication, would enable the creation of smarter-than-human intelligence.”- Reference from More of what exactly singularity is and means can be found on the link stated above.  What I think of a half-man, half-machine walking around is much undecided. I Say this because, sure it would be great having lots of helpful A.I (Artificial Intelligence) amongst us but, how long will it be till they learn too much and turn against us like in the film; I, Robot, (2004).

Whilst researching I came across a website that details key features that I agree with that, highlights why mind uploading would not be such a good thing: Point 3 is a factor that I agree with strongly. Point 3 assumes that the energy demand is going to be insanely high is a very valid point. If everyone is uploading their minds to computer the world would surely be going against all energy saving plans, already in place.

To conclude I think that maybe the idea of mind uploading and singularity is taking technology a bit too far and that, if plans are successful by means of mind uploading, what lies ahead after that? We will no longer see the need to reproduce or even live in our normal lives and, will be trapped living in a digital world just like avatars. Computers will probably go on to become more significant than actual humans, which could be a real nightmare. Humans could lose all connections with our past and although, we might live forever and may turn out to be super intelligent, it isn’t being human and I think it is the most important of all regardless of any technological progress. Through the history technology, computer interfaces have become more advanced, smaller and smarter. I don’t think it should be the case that to better technology we ourselves should become the next interfaces for technology.

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