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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saving Your "i" For A Rainy Day

I'm making a prediction folks, get out your notepads cause you can quote me on this. I believe that in the future, maybe sooner than we think, we as humans are going to be able to store memories, thoughts, mental images and other processes of the brain, onto computer chips. Now before you raise and eyebrow, just think about, if we can transmit data from computer to computer, and user to computer, then the next stage would be directly from the brain. Now technically we all can store our memories on USB drives, by just writing down a journal on Word and press 'save as'. But I'm talking about memories that include the visual as well. What if we could download the memory of someone who died recently in your life. You could 'plug in' the chip and experience the memories again, without fear of the memory fading in your own mortal brain. Instead of photo albums you could have a Rolodex of chips from past vacatons, old lovers, your college years etc.. All saved in a compressed file.
Some of you may be familiar with the work and writings of a man named Hans Moravec. He was the one who really got me thinking about this idea of uploading your own memories. But Han Moravec's idea is a step beyond my conclusion. He says that we will be able to upload our entire being, our conciousness itself. That we could literally merge with computer chips, and become bodiless. Mr. Moravec believes that its the next step in evolution, and should be embraced. No longer bound by time, we can live on entirely, in a network, where space and need for movement is completely unessasary. What a bizarre experience it would be. To have no body, no movement, but free roaming thought. Pressumably a nework of these "Memory banks" would be set up to allow the upload 'humans' to live on, without anyone to supervise their operation.

Of course there is the argument that "uploading" yourself into a computer chip merely creates a copy of you. That the true I is planted and deeply rooted in your body somewhere. I don't know how I feel about this. While I can see the connection of a face and body would make someone say that my thoughts and memories aren't all that make up me, I'm just as inclined to say that my body has very little to do with my true I.
Rene Descartes the philospher made it a point to seperate both the Mind and Body, a "dualistic" nature. He felt that the material plane we exist on, houses the body. While off on another plane somewhere, the Mind is dominant.

Anyway thats my idea. I'm not sure if we'll ever achieve what Han Moravec says, that we will eventually come to upload ourselves and live on computer memory, but I can definitely see years down the road, the ability up upload certain memories, dreams, and mental images to flash drives etc... Am I alone in thinking this??

For more on this check out the writings of Hans Moravec, especially his book "Robot"

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