Uploading Consciousness to a Computer
There are a number of films that explore the idea of uploading the human mind to a computer or a different body such as Transcendence, Chappie and Avatar. These films got me thinking…
If we had the ability to transfer our consciousness and personality into a robot body, would you do it?
If I had the choice I think I would consider it. BUT only if it was a tested, reliable and safe procedure. I’m not going to be the first one to volunteer for it.
But why would I want to do it? Well, it’s like if you have a broken car. If you can’t fix it, you buy another one. My body is a bit messed up, and doesn’t work as it should. So, if I have a chance to get another one that works fine, then I think it’s worth a try.
After all our body does not define us as a person. It is our mind and personality, contained in the brain, that defines us. The body is merely a vehicle for the brain to express itself.
This is obviously something that will not happen in the near future (if at all), probably not for at least another 20 or 30 years.
BUT there is a guy that is seriously trying to make it happen.
The 2045 Initiative
Dmitry Itskov, a Russian billionaire and entrepreneur, has founded the 2045 Initiative which brings together many experts in the field of life extension and Cybernetics. Check out their website here: http://2045.com/
They have a number of goals which they want to achieve under a project called Avatar:
- Avatar A 2015 – 2020: Create a robotic copy (avatar) of the human body to be remotely controlled by a brain – computer interface
- Avatar B 2020 – 2025: Create a non– biological Avatar into which a human brain can be transplanted at the end of one’s life.
- Avatar C 2030 – 2035: Create an avatar with an artificial brain into which a person’s personality can be transplanted when they die.
- Avatar D 2040 – 2045: Create a hologram like avatar.
So, by 2035 they hope to be able to upload a person’s consciousness into an artificial body, just like in Chappie or Transcendence.
If they manage to do this then disability could become a thing of the past. However, we need to consider the ethical, moral, and legal issues of it first.
Think about people who have terminal illnesses who want to kill themselves. They have to travel to places like Switzerland because assisted suicide is illegal in a lot of countries. If disabled people wanted to upload their consciousness to a robot than they would have to have help to do it, which may or may not be legal. So there will probably be a lot of legal loopholes that would have to be jumped through to do it.
There is also the possibility that people can abuse the system. Some people may want to have a robot body just so they could use it for crime for example, as it would probably give them extra strength.
To combat this people would have to do a lot of psychological tests beforehand to determine their state of mind, and intentions. It’s probably not a good idea to let a psychopath loose with a robot. But probably, like everything some people will probably slip through the net.
I personally think that the potential benefits would outweigh the potential drawbacks. This technology could save lives, for example, if you can remotely control a robot body to put out fires. The military could use it which could reduce casualties in war. But as with the use of Drones there will probably be a lot of resistance to the use of robots in war zones.
So, we could possibly see human consciousness uploaded to a robot within our lifetimes. The technology doesn’t exist AT THE MOMENT but who knows what we will be capable of in 20 years time. 20 years ago we didn’t even have the Internet. Now almost everyone has a smartphone. According to Moores law computer power doubles every 18 months, so who is to say what we will be capable of in 2045.
In the next 10 years however I hope that robots and artificial intelligence becomes sophisticated enough so that they can help disabled people like myself in our homes. Personally I am looking forward to the future. I think technology has the potential to change our lives for the better in ways we can’t imagine now.
What do YOU think?
Would you want to have a robot carer, or housekeeper? Would you want to upload your consciousness to a robot if you had the chance? Please comment and let me know what you think!