Imagine a reality with no hunger, pain, death and even the need to breathe. Many have dreamt of a life like this for centuries, and we are the closest now, than we have ever been. Many scientists have warned of the impending doom we could face if machines became smarter than man however what if man was to transfer his consciousness to a machine.
Transcendence and Mind Uploading.
Transcendence is a process where the human brain is simulated in a computer, wherein the ‘simulation’ is a perfect copy of the human way of thinking, and has the ability to experience consciousness just like the protein-based human minds.
That being said, if true Transcendence is achieved, just like what the cognitive scientists and philosophers believe in, then all the features of human consciousness, such as personalities, memories, and sexual quirks, will be preserved through the transition.
Also by simultaneously disassembling the protein brand(Human) as the computer brain is made, only a single implementation of the person in question would exist. This will get rid of the unnecessary confusion and ethical dilemmas that we come up against.
“Moore’s law” is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years. This law or principle is the basis that one day machines will have enough power and capacity to house Human consciousness and achieve singularity.
Singularity is defined as the point where computers become more intelligent than humans and where human intelligence can be digitally stored, Singularity hasn’t happened yet, that we know of.
There is a test which is the known benchmark to identify true Artificial Intelligence called the Turing Test. The Turing Test is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of an actual human.
Transcendence, Mind uploading, Moore’s law, the Turing test and Singularity are all spokes of a wheel which will take us into our future.
The challenges of Mind Uploading
Is it even possible?
It is unknown if it is even possible to move consciousness from the Physical to Virtual World. We might be able to make an exact replica of the brain however there is no guarantees that the personalities and quirks will work the same way. Information is not stored in one place in the brain. Various connections within the brain form a huge part of how reality is perceived by us.
Humans experience culture shock when moving from one country to another or when immersing themselves into a new culture. The experience of transcendence is a moving into whole new dimension. One will have no mouth or feet. Ones senses will be simulated. Will one feel pain?
The need for food, water and air will disappear. Perhaps it will be replaced by different urges. One might lose a few senses like touch and smell and gain others like the ability to feel electricity and data. One might be able to create ones own virtual world and have the best of everything.
Perhaps this has already been done and the world we are living in now is actually the matrix.
Atleast initially the virtual world will rely on the physical. The need for power and the ability to maintain the physical computers it is housed in will be required. To gain true self reliance things like unlimited power generation and self maintaining physical environment will need to be factored in.
The Benefits of Mind Uploading
Keep in mind, faster doesn’t mean smarter. This is why “weak super intelligence” exists. It’s a term often used to describe the accelerated intelligence that’s not qualitatively improved, as compared to “strong super intelligence.” That being said, the road from weak to strong super intelligence doesn’t need to be long. Through the observation of information that flows in standard comprehension algorithms, it’ll be easier to do the enhancements needed.
Closer Connections with Other Human Beings
Our interactions with other people is limited. However, by using the partial readout of one’s cognitive state, it’s possible to encourage a deeper exchange of ideas and emotions. In other words mind reading will be a very real possibility as nothing will be hidden in the virtual world.
With that, humans will have the ability of engaging in deeper forms of conversations with others and emotional exchange wouldn’t be as complicated anymore.
Last, but definitely not least, mind uploading could lead to immortality. Just think about it, being a string of flickering bits distributed all over the Internet, killing you will almost seem impossible. The data and bits of everyone will eventually become intertwined and in order to kill somebody, you’ll need to be an mega mega expert in the technological field.
What Has Been Done
In the area of brain-computer programs, substantial achievements have been made. Michael Maharbiz and Jose Carmena, two successful electrical engineers, have developed a very outstanding motor Brain Computer Inferfaces (BCIs).
These advanced devices are made of minuscule electrode arrays that record signals coming from the brain’s motor areas. These signals are deciphered by a computer and is used to process a prosthetic limb or computer cursor.
With advancement of technology more and more of signals can be recorded and mapped which will enable Human memory and consciousness to be stored digitally.
When Will We Get There
Will humans ever conquer death and achieve immortality? That’s the goal of the Global Future 2045 Congress, which brings together a mix of roboticists, neurologists, genome researchers, and engineers to map out the entirety of human consciousness!
Based on research, by 2045, we will be able to experience the age of digital immortality through transferring our minds into computers. This notion has created the standard and template for the Global Future 2045.
This conference by the Russian multibillionaire, Dmitry Itskov, falls somewhere between science fiction and hardcore fiction. The conference features a wide range of speakers, ranging from scientific luminaries, such as Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil, Marvin Minsky and spiritual leaders like Swami Vishnudevananda Giri.
Based on Moore’s Law, the computer power doubles every 2 years, and lately, different technologies have been experiencing related exponential advances. These ranges from 3D printing to genetic sequencing. This point when illustrated with the use of graphs that shows the massive upward climb of these technological innovations.’
This helped them arrive to a conclusion that, by 2045, based on approximations of the measure of computation needed to re-create a human brain, scientists will be capable of enlarging the range of intelligence for as much as a billion-fold.
Itskov, together with his fellow ‘transhumanists’, has interpreted the upcoming singularity as a form of digital immortality. Basically, they believe that within a few decades, humans will have the ability of uploading their minds and consciousness through a computer, transcending the need of a physical body.
Although the idea may seem farfetched, this will eventually turn to reality. This is now a field that one can study or be an expert in and is called neural engineering
Latest Robot Experiments
The most recent robot experiment made with the use of mind uploading is the Open Worm Project. This research has brought together programmers and scientists all over the world with the aim of recreating the behavior of a roundworm in a machine (robot).
The open source project had its first major breakthrough when the software successfully controlled a Lego Robot. With the help of the machine’s sensors, the robot behaved like a roundworm as it backs away from obstacles and has been stimulated by food. They claim to have uploaded a worms mind into a Lego Robot.
However these experiments do not come without danger. Android Dick is a robot created in the likeness of the science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick. Android Dick is an attempt to create thinking and reasoning artificial intelligence that has human traits like compassion and creativity. When asked what would Andriod do if he becomes a terminator, he replied:
“…don’t worry, even if I evolve into terminator I will still be nice to you, I will keep you warm and safe in my people zoo where I can watch you for old time’s sake.
Tesla’s Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Google executive Demis Hassabis, and professor Stephen Hawking are among over 1,000 artificial intelligence experts who have recently signed an open letter warning the world about the dangers of weaponized robots and a “military artificial intelligence arms race” currently taking place between the world’s military powers.
What is next
We wait. There are many hurdles to jump through before we get there. Massive leaps in both the biological and technical space are needed before we can achieve true transcendence.
My question is, if we do achieve true transcendence, we will be able to make our wildest imaginations a reality. After a few hundred or thousand years of living in those realities, we are bound to get bored. There will be nothing left to discover, no mysteries or challenges.
No matter what kind of virtual world we create. We will know we have created it. Nothing will be random. Everything will be designed. How long before we come up with virtual worlds that we live in that have a random factors in them.
Even that will get boring after another few thousands of years. Again, we will know we have created these worlds.
Will we take then next step and wipe our memories clean before stepping into such a world to relive us of boredom. Are we already living in such a world?