Monday, November 4, 2013

Brain Cortex Mind Uploading Part 19

1st Brain in a bottle - part of the family
Mind uploading, mind transfer or whole brain emulation is a use of a computer as an emulated human brain, and the view of thoughts and memories as software information states. The term mind transfer also refers to a hypothetical transfer of a mind from one biological brain to another.

— Humanoido Labs has created an artificial life form and given it a small intelligence to accept a part of a human brain for an example simplified human-to-machine brain transfer

— brain transfer can lead to longer life, immortality and a clear cut path to seeing and experiencing the future — 

Will People Alive Today Have the Opportunity to Upload Their Consciousness to a New Robotic Body?

When Steve Jobs passed away last year, a joke bounced around--not that there was anything particularly funny about it--that the man who had done so much to shape modern technology hadn't really died at all, but rather had figured out how to upload himself into the Mac OS so he could live on with us, and with his products, forever. The notion was ostensibly so far out as to be ridiculous. But not everyone sees it that way. 

At the recent Global Future 2045 International Congress held in Moscow, 31-year-old media mogul Dmitry Itskov told attendees how he plans to create exactly that kind of immortality, first by creating a robot controlled by the human brain, then by actually transplanting a human brain into a humanoid robot, and then by replacing the surgical transplant with a method for simply uploading a person's consciousness into a surrogate 'bot. 

He thinks he can get beyond the first phase--to transplanting a working brain into a robot--in just ten years, putting him on course to achieve his ultimate goal--human consciousness completely disembodied and placed within a holographic host--within 30 years time.

Russian Mogul’s Plan: Plant Our Brains in Robots, Keep Them Alive Forever.
The Pentagon’s new Avatar project, unveiled by Danger Room a few weeks back, sounds freaky enough: Soldiers practically inhabiting the bodies of robots, who’d act as “surrogates” for their human overlords in battle.

But according to Dmitry Itskov, a 31-year-old Russian media mogul, the U.S. military’s Avatar initiative doesn’t go nearly far enough. He’s got a massive, sci-fi-esque venture of his own that he hopes will put the Pentagon’s project to shame. Itskov’s plan: Construct robots that’ll (within 10 years, he hopes) actually store a human’s mind and keep that consciousness working. Forever.

Scientists Are Convinced Mind Transfer Is the Key to Immortality
“This project is leading down the road to immortality,” Itskov, who founded New Media Stars, a Russian company that runs several online news outlets, tells Danger Room. “A person with a perfect Avatar will be able to remain part of society. People don’t want to die.”

Call it mind transfer, uploading, brain backup, whatever—the idea of copying the human brain to a computer so it can live on without the body has a strong hold on futurists, neuroscientists, and folks that just want to live forever.

Also Stephen Hawking. At screening of a new film about his life this week, the cosmologist said he believes it's possible to retain a digital version of the brain after the body dies—though it probably won't happen in his lifetime.  

"I think the brain is like a program in the mind, which is like a computer, so it's theoretically possible to copy the brain onto a computer and so provide a form of life after death," he told a crowd in Cambridge, reported the Guardian. "However, this is way beyond our present capabilities."

Futurist and transhumanist Ray Kurzweil, Google's director of engineering, suggested at the event that we'll be able to transfer the entire human mind to a computer within four decades. "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,” Kurzweil said at the conference.

The quest for immortality has been enjoying a moment in the limelight this month, not least because of Google's new moonshot project, Calico, which will focus on studying the science of aging—namely, how we can stop it from happening.

Larry Page is just one of a crop of influential wealthy businesspeople that have poured millions into immortality research lately. But while Calico tackles how to slow down our physical decay, many futurists believe that the key to extending human life isn't the body, it's the brain. 

Pentagon’s Project ‘Avatar’: Same as the Movie, but With Robots Instead of Aliens
Soldiers practically inhabiting the mechanical bodies of androids, who will take the humans’ place on the battlefield. Or sophisticated tech that spots a powerful laser ray, then stops it from obliterating its target.


If you’ve got Danger Room’s taste in movies, you’ve probably seen both ideas on the big screen. Now Darpa, the Pentagon’s far-out research arm, wants to bring ‘em into the real world.

In the agency’s $2.8 billion budget for 2013, unveiled on Monday, they’ve allotted $7 million for a project titled “Avatar.” The project’s ultimate goal, not surprisingly, sounds a lot like the plot of the same-named (but much more expensive) flick.

According the agency, “the Avatar program will develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi- autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier’s surrogate.”

So how would Itskov’s “Avatar” work? Well, he anticipates developing the program in stages. Within the next few years, Itskov plans to deploy robots that can be operated by the human mind. That’s actually not too wild a proposition: Pentagon-backed research has already demonstrated a monkey controlling a robotic arm using some nifty mind-meld tech, for example. And one study on human patients, out of Johns Hopkins, is using brain implants to control artificial limbs.


After phase one of “Avatar,” however, Itskov’s ambitions arguably eclipse even those of the Pentagon’s maddest mad scientists. In 10 years, he anticipates “transplanting” a human mind into a robotic one. After that, Itskov wants to do away with surgical procedures and instead upload the contents of the mind into its brand new, artificial robo-body. And, last but not least, within 30 years Itskov anticipates developing hologram-type bodies — instead of tangible robotic ones — that can “host” human consciousness.

“Holograms give plenty of advantages. You can walk through walls, move at the speed of light,” he says.

The hypothetical transfer of a human mind either into a computer or other non-human receptacle, or from one human body to another; also referred to as mind uploading or mind downloading. Transference to a computer would result in a form of artificial intelligence sometimes called an infomorph, while transference to an artificial body would result in a cybernetic organism, or cyborg. Uploading consciousness into bodies created by robotic means is a goal of some in the artificial intelligence community. In this scenario, the consciousness is assumed to be recorded and/or transferred to a new robotic brain, which generates responses indistinguishable from the original organic brain. However, it is not known how much computer memory or processing capacity, or what kind of architecture, would be needed to simulate the activity of a human mind inside a computer.

Mind Transfer in the Extraordinary Future

In the scenarios presented there are usually several parts to the process. First, we have to ascertain the contents or details of an individual's mind. Primarily this would be done by scanning it, either invasively (destructively) or noninvasively. Then we have to transfer the results of the scan into a robot brain or construct a robot brain to match the structure of the human brain scanned.

Paul and Cox also discuss the possibility of mind transfer via a transplant process scenario, in which parts of a person's brain are systematically replaced by electronic parts from a robot brain. They envision replacing each neuron, synapse, and connection with a circuit switch and line that functions like the natural system. At the end the mind has been transferred to the robot brain. They also mention the possibility of growing the brain to twice its size (twice as many neurons), with all information duplicated. The brain is then spilt down the corpus callosum and each half put into a new body, and you wind up with two people and successful mind duplication. However, this would not be an instance of mind transfer from human brain to robot brain (Paul & Cox, 1996, p. 189). 

In his earlier work Mind Children, Moravec presents several possible scenarios for mind-transfer. He clearly recognizes that transfer must maintain personal identity for it to be a continuation of the same person. Transplanting a brain into a robot body would not be enough, because it would not have changed the limitation of the limited and fixed intelligence of the human brain. What is needed is a way to get the mind out of the brain (Moravec, 1988, p. 109). Here of course we see that another goal of mind transfer is not immortality but getting a lot smarter.

Index to the Brain Cortex