Digital Evolution – Another Step Closer

This is a key step towards our digital evolution and our migration from organic to digital lifeforms. Basically, if we can’t record the human brain in sufficient resolution, we can’t migrate. Period. No Omortality

But this research looks like we’re poking our sticks in the right ant-nests! If we get this right, then, sometime in the next 10-20 years, we’ll have the technology to record and store the information constituting a complete human brain, probably in a few 10 minute sequences, to the resolution required to preserve our entire personality, memory and neural matrix well enough to be re-animated, later, when a digital substrate exists to house us.

Unfortunately, that might be MUCH later. Like another 50-100 years. So we might, I’m afraid, still have to spend a few years technically dead. Although, interestingly, along the way, technology should reach the point where the brain maps could be interacted with as a kind of “living in the permanent present” avatar, like Henry Molaison, who we’ve been hearing about only this last week…

This isn’t a breakthrough, but it is a major step in the direction we need to travel in order to achieve the break-through.

Oh, and along the way, it’s going to have some fascinating commercial and security spinoffs:

Ferinstance, I give you: the perfect authentication device. It not only verifies, unspoofably, unique individuals, but can even detect the absence of informed consent and thus even block those attacks based on coercion. You couldn’t unlock the safe or file even if you did have a gun pointed at your head. And the attacker will know this, so they won’t even try that. It will even enable version 1 of the Mindlock I mused on back in April.

And of course, it makes possible the Perfect communication and self-surveillance device I was fantasising about in the History of Digital Telepathy

…and think of the impact this is going to have on VR. I think we can bet that “Full Immersion” will come along shortly after the first wave of smart dust adopters have begun to appreciate the benefits of receiving data direct to the sense processing parts of the brain.

And obviously, whatever we record, subject to our informed consent, can be played back. Think what that’s going to do for the sex industry. Just a thought. Though I challenge you not to think about it.

It’s happening Reg! Something’s actually happening!
Just remember, you ‘eard it ‘ere first. Righ’!


About Harry Stottle
Refugee from the Stumbleupon Blogicide of October 2011 Here you will find my "kneejerk" responses to the world and what I happen to bump into. For my more detailed considerations and proposals, please visit my website or my previous main blogging site.

5 Responses to Digital Evolution – Another Step Closer

  1. Pingback: Optional Mortality – The Informed Consent Protocol | Ragged Trousered Philosophy

  2. My only concern with digitally downloading my consciousness is that, in a sense it isn’t actually me. Once my organic self has passed, what would be returned would not actually be me but a copy of myself. Therefore I’m not actually continuing my personal existence and will never see any future come to pass. I feel like the only way around this would have to be a complete download to where at the time of the download you would no longer exist in the organic sense.

    • Greetings Iam
      your question is the most common objection to the plausibility of the concept (of a digital “afterlife”) and we addressed it in some detail on the forum

      I think the conceptual problem is deeply rooted in the organic (human) prejudice that whatever it is that makes us self aware and self directed (our consciousness) is a somehow independent entity which, although housed in the brain, is separate from it and cannot be digitally captured.

      I don’t share that belief and strongly suspect that every thought or perception which goes on in our heads is directly mirrored by changes in the physical brain state. If so there is no obvious reason why it cannot be captured along with all the other brain state data.

      As to the continuity of consciousness, together with the problem of duplicate consciousness, I think I’ve addressed those issues both in that forum reply and my recent post on the Informed Consent Protocol. If I have failed to answer your question, let me know how and we’ll try again!

  3. Possible – Yes. Likely – No.

    Even under the optimum conditions which I expect us to achieve in the next century or so, Resurrection is going to difficult – but, I believe, highly likely. The first key enabling technology will, I suspect, be available in the next couple of decades. It is the ability to achieve high quality high resolution storage of the data required to make resurrection possible. That requires storage capacity we haven’t yet achieved but is clearly on the horizon (I personally guesstimate we’ll need about an exabyte per person) and a scanning capability we’re not yet close to but obviously working towards.

    With that combination we can perform the nano-level scanning of the human brain (at least) in order to capture the precise synaptic pattern and other data which will, we think, be required to create a digital model of your brain – which in turn will one day be possible (once we have the second enabling technology – some decades later is my current best guess) to re-activate in order to generate the Mind of same person who was captured at the time of the scan.

    The second enabling technology is a high level artificial intelligence capable of reverse engineering the data captured in the scanned model in order to recreate the original Mind from the copy of the Brain.

    My own speculation is that it will need more than a single high res snapshot. It will, I suspect, need a high resolution stream with a minimum of 10 minutes worth of captured brain activity (possibly longer) in order to be able to capture both physical structure and the working algorithms or “thought processes” which constitute a “Mind”.

    These are enormously complex operations but, I believe, entirely within our grasp.

    However, without such a high resolution scan (as would be the situation if you died today) we are left with the option I “invent” for the play, in which we rebuild history through the process of what some call “quantum archaeology”. Although that is a credible hypothesis, the idea that its ability to reassemble the past would ever be sufficient to achieve the kind of high resolution data streams I suggest are necessary to recreate individual humans is stretching the idea well beyond reasonable limits, Hence “Possible – Yes. Likely – No”.

    So my advice to you is not to die today!

    Try to hang on till they’ve at least got the scanning technology in place and you can get yourself “backed up”. Only then can you afford to die with some realistic hope of resurrection…

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