Stretching ICT beyond science?

Would brain upload ever be possibile? Credit: Esquire

I have been seeing in these last 30 years technology advancement that defied my belief, robots that perform surgery, cars driving themselves, ubiquitous telecommunications, instantaneous access to world information, smart materials that regain their shape and so on. I dreamed about these things when I was young but that was science fiction, now it is science, actually it is everyday life.

Hence, I should now be more receptive to forecast that defies current technology capability and usually I am. But in the news I just read I have to say it still looks like science fiction with no foreseeable horizon to become science.  Of course, I might be really wrong.

The reason this news piqued my curiosity is that just a week ago I engaged with a group of friends into a discussion on the advances of Brain Computer Interfaces and the issue of augmenting the human brain through electronics was among the most controversial topic. That involved a way to connect directly a brain with a "chip" and leveraging from the combined "software" capabilities.

We discussed technology at the edges of feasibility and its implication on ethics, social, economy, the all made easy by plenty of wine ;-)

However, this article from Esquire is speculating on the possibility of cloning our "self" into a machine to achieve immortality (as long as the server will not crash....).

And this is something that I feel is impossibile, as was also noted in one of the comments to the article. It is not just about technology, although I see the transfer of a brain into an artificial repository really far fetched in pure technology terms. It is about what you transfer: a brain is not a chest of drawers that you open look at and manage to replicate somewhere else. Simply put a brain has no drawers although sometimes we talk about areas where memories are stored. It is a dynamical system where the interactions are as important as its structure.

I realise this is drifting on a philosophical debate started thousands of years ago well before we understood there was a brain and what it was it all about.

Nowadays scientists (at least most of them) accept that soul and matter are one and the same but when Esquire suggests the future possibility of cloning a brain it basically suggest the transfer of the soul (information) falling once more into the duality.  This is what seems wrong to me and it goes beyond technology.

Nevertheless, the fact that someone is starting to discuss about these possibilities from a scientific standpoint is, per sé, amazing.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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