from Motherboard.Vice Website
Battlestar Gallactica intro
Call it mind transfer, uploading, brain backup, whatever - the idea of copying the human brain to a computer so it can live on without the body has a strong hold on futurists, neuroscientists, and folks that just want to live forever.
Also Stephen Hawking.
At screening of a new film about his life this week, the cosmologist said he believes it's possible to retain a digital version of the brain after the body dies - though it probably won't happen in his lifetime.
The quest for immortality has been enjoying a moment in the limelight this month, not least because of Google's new moonshot project, Calico, which will focus on studying the science of aging - namely, how we can stop it from happening.
Larry Page is just one of a crop of influential wealthy businesspeople that have poured millions into immortality research lately. But while Calico tackles how to slow down our physical decay, many futurists believe that the key to extending human life isn't the body, it's the brain.
These thought leaders in cybernetics gathered this summer in New York City for the Global Future 2045 International Congress, organized by Russian multimillionaire Dmitry Itskov.
Futurist and transhumanist Ray Kurzweil, Google's director of engineering, suggested at the event that we'll be able to transfer the entire human mind to a computer within four decades.
Indeed, for all its sci-fi fanfare, technical singularity is rooted in science.
And there are continuous advances in cybernetics lending credence to the claim that mind transfer holds the key to a post-mortal human race. Massive supercomputers are getting better at simulating the human brain. Artificial intelligence experts are developing increasingly smart machines that can reason, think, and learn by mimicking the brain's cerebral cortex.
And brain-computer interfaces - machines that can effectively read your mind - are advancing fast.
Still, the concept of digitally preserving the human mind is based on whatís theoretically possible, not a step-by-step roadmap. One of the biggest holes in the theory (and there are many to poke) is more philosophical than scientific: the notion of whether consciousness would survive the digital switchover in tact.
Or even beyond that, what about the soul? Or whatever it is that makes you you, beyond the biological puzzle pieces.
For the Battlestar Galactica fans among us, itís the mystery of what made Boomer No. 1 still love the Chief after Boomer No. 2 fell for that other guy, even though No. 2ís consciousness was directly uploaded from the first.