Would You Like to Be a Cyborg?


Futurists have been predicting for some time now that we will eventually be able to, literally, upload our brains to a computer. Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, predicted in June of this year that we would be able to do that by 2045 and that before the century is out our bodies would be replaced by machines.

From the Daily Mail:
"Kurzweil said: 'Based on conservative estimates of the amount of computation you need to functionally simulate a human brain, we'll be able to expand the scope of our intelligence a billion-fold.'

He referred to Moore's Law that states the power of computing doubles, on average, every two years quoting the developments from genetic sequencing and 3D printing." 

Kurzwells estimate may turn out to be very conservative since quantum computing could rapidly accelerate the pace at which our computing power increases.  Science also seems to be marching along nicely with that sense of touch, recently adding a sense of touch to prosthetic limbs.

To many people, probably most, this idea is horrific. We would, after all, no longer be human. We would no longer share DNA with the great apes because our bodies would no longer contain DNA. There is no telling how this might shape us psychologically or behavior. No doubt science fiction authors will have no end of horrific scenarios to lay out.

However, it is worth thinking about the other things we would be giving up. For example would be giving up disability and disease, no more cancer or heart disease, no more HIV/Aids, flu or even allergies. We might have occasional malfunctions, or parts that needed replacing but we would likely have an army of nanobots in our bodies, doing fine tuning and minor repairs.

We would also be giving up hunger, and thirst. We would no longer need nutrients, just energy (wind, solar or otherwise). We would no longer need sleep, though an occasional 10 minute reboot might be refreshing. We would be giving up aging and even death. Our bodies might wear down after awhile but we would probably want to upgrade periodically anyway. We would be giving up poverty and shortages of any kind. We would not only be able to colonize the Moon and Mars but our entire definition of a habitable climate would change. Real estate would literally become unlimited, while the amount we require individually would drastically decrease. We wouldn't be concerned about heat or cold anymore and we wouldn't need to breathe.

Our bodies would be faster and stronger than ever. Our hearing and vision would be vastly superior and augmented with things like x-ray, infrared and night vision as well as telescopic and microscopic abilities. We would also have access to all of the information that exists (basically you'd be able to 'Google' things by thinking about them). We will be able to gain new knowledge and acquire new skills as easily as we, currently, download an app to our smartphones. Provided our understanding of how the human brain works continues to improve we would be able to do all of this while retaining our imaginations and emotions.

All of this is not happening today, but at least parts of it will happen in the lifetimes of most of the people reading this. Do you think it's a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think you'd be up for it? Do you think it should even be allowed? Before you answer imaging asking a person who is terminally ill, or severely injured. Imagine asking someone who is starving or who is raising their children in poverty.

For now it is just food for thought, but it is something you should take a good long time to think about while you can.

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