The future of the mind – uploaded to computers?

H+ Magazine recently interviewed AI researcher, Bruce Katz, who believes that we as a species will ultimately want to be free of the limitations of the human brain, which by extension means uploading our memory and consciousness to a different device, a computer of some sort.

Katz describes the brain as having a kludgy design and lays out those ‘kludges’ in his book, Neuroengineering the Future. They include:

  • Short-term memory limitations (typically seven plus or minus 2 items),
  • Significant long-term memory limitations (the brain can only hold about as much as a PC hard disk circa 1990),
  • Strong limitations on processing speed (although the brain is a highly parallel system, each neuron is a very slow processor),
  • Bounds on rationality (we are less than fully impartial processors, sometimes significantly so),
  • Bounds on creativity (most people go through their entire lives without making a significant creative contribution to humanity), and perhaps most significantly…

It will still be a while before we’re able to do this. Let’s face it, imperfect or not, the human skull does a pretty good job of protecting that delicate piece of meat we call a brain, and we hardly think about it.

1 comment

  1. Dozens of SF books explore this possibility and more than a few argue that if the contents of your brain were moved to an artificial medium you would be dead, regardless of how it would appear to onlookers. Machinery may someday be capable of storing memory, but I question whether the owner of those memories would truly be experiencing them or would actually be a vegetable that walks around and produces a convincing counterfeit of a thinking person.

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