Documenting the Coming Singularity

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Don't forget to backup your brain!

NewScientist - 6.7.10 by Linda Geddes

Upload your life (Image: Darrin Klimek/Getty).

ZOE GRAYSTONE is a girl with two brains. Only one of them is human: the other is an exact digital copy that has become conscious in its own right. When the human Zoe dies, her digital brain is implanted into a humanoid robot, effectively bringing her back from the grave.

Such ideas have littered science fiction for decades. Indeed, Graystone is a character in the American TV drama Caprica. But could such a tale ever become reality?

Though there is little prospect of creating a genuinely conscious robo-clone in the foreseeable future, several companies are taking the first steps in that direction. Their initial goal is to enable you to create a lifelike digital representation, or avatar, that can continue long after your biological body has decomposed. This digitised "twin" might be able to provide valuable lessons for your great-grandchildren - as well as giving them a good idea of what their ancestor was like.

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