Documenting the Coming Singularity

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The First Brain Uploads - Bee Brains

Anyone familiar with the concept of the technological singularity will know about brain uploads. It's the expectation that by about 2045 you will be able to upload human consciousness into a computer substrate. Effectively, you can move your identity, memories, emotions, everything that makes you you, into computer hardware. Could this be one of the very first steps toward that goal?

WIRED.CO.UK - October 3, 2012 by Ian Steadman

Engineers from the universities of Sheffield and Sussex are planning on scanning the brains of bees and uploading them into autonomous flying robots that will then fly and act like the real thing.

Bionic bees -- or perhaps that should be "beeonic" -- could, it is hoped, be used for a range of situations where tiny thinking flying machines should be more useful than current technology, which might mean seeking out gas or chemical leaks, or people who are trapped in small spaces. They might even help pollinate plants in places where natural bee populations have fallen due to the still-mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder.

It's important to note that this won't be an entirely comprehensive model of a bee's brain -- it's only going to be the parts associated with its sense of smell and vision. These modules will be melded with other software to form what the team call a " Green Brain", one that can react to new situations and improvise rapidly just like a "real" animal or insect brain.

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