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Science & Technology

Could a person live forever inside a machine?

By T.K. Randall
May 27, 2015 · Comment icon 42 comments



Could a person upload themselves on to a computer ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Glogger / Chris Aimone
A leading neuroscientist believes that we may soon be able to upload the human brain on to a computer.
It might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but within the not-too-distant future it might actually become possible for someone to exist digitally inside a machine.

According to Cambridge neuroscientist Dr Hannah Critchlow, to make this happen we would need a computer capable of storing the trillions of connections that exist within the human brain.

"People could probably live inside a machine," she said. "I think it is definitely a possibility."

If the right hardware and software could be designed to accomodate the entirety of the brain's memories, pathways and functions then a person might, in theory, be able to live inside it.
Someone may even be able to exist in this state forever providing the machine kept working, potentially offering a way for someone to live on even after their physical body has died.

"If you had a computer that could make those 100 trillion circuit connections then that circuit is what makes us us," said Dr Crithclow during a talk on 'busting brain myths'. "We are about 100 billion nerve cells and the most complicated circuit board you could imagine."

Whether such a thing would ever be practical or desirable however remains a matter of debate.

Would someone who has been uploaded to a machine still be alive ? Would they be aware of who or what they were and what would their quality of life be ? Would they be able to communicate ?

Without answers to these questions it's not something that is likely to elicit a lot of volunteers.

Source: Russia Today | Comments (42)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #33 Posted by Tiggs 8 years ago
They would lead to the conclusion that bio-life is no needed and all human can turn into robots ! Even if you can't be aged, it doesn't mean you are immortal. There's always a way to die. Sure. The Sun will 'plode one day. The Universe will eventually run out of energy. Nothing is actually immortal in a finite Universe. That said - I'd be okay with living for as many Millennia as I can get.
Comment icon #34 Posted by FlyingAngel 8 years ago
Sure. The Sun will 'plode one day. The Universe will eventually run out of energy. Nothing is actually immortal in a finite Universe. That said - I'd be okay with living for as many Millennia as I can get. You can live, but you can't have children. And probably no sex.
Comment icon #35 Posted by odiesbsc 8 years ago
I have read that within several years? computers will have the capacity of the human brain. As far as I know at the present time we are only using a small percentage of our brain. What would be really outstanding if we could download everything from the internet into our brain. We could ace everything on shows like "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". We could become some really smart people. Who knows what else we could do.
Comment icon #36 Posted by Tiggs 8 years ago
You can live, but you can't have children. And probably no sex. If people can be created digitally - why no children? If experiences can be created digitally - why no sex?
Comment icon #37 Posted by FlyingAngel 8 years ago
If people can be created digitally - why no children? If experiences can be created digitally - why no sex? Creating people digitally is like creating clones, taking a hard drive from this place and copy into another location and adding some modification so that it can't be a another "you" : there is no father/mother-child bound, no love No sex because feelings can be induced digitally, so you don't need a partner to trigger it.
Comment icon #38 Posted by Tiggs 8 years ago
Creating people digitally is like creating clones, taking a hard drive from this place and copy into another location and adding some modification so that it can't be a another "you" : there is no father/mother-child bound, no love No sex because feelings can be induced digitally, so you don't need a partner to trigger it. You don't need a partner to trigger sexual pleasure now - and yet, it still seems to happen. As for creating people digitally - you'd take a leaf out of DNA's book and take a mix of the two digital parents to create something new.
Comment icon #39 Posted by Erowin 8 years ago
It's still a century or more away, but I don't think we would develop it if it just stored your mind in a computer. You would go mad from the lack of sensory input. Downloading the brain into a robot body to be controlled... now that's a good idea.
Comment icon #40 Posted by FlyingAngel 8 years ago
You don't need a partner to trigger sexual pleasure now - and yet, it still seems to happen. As for creating people digitally - you'd take a leaf out of DNA's book and take a mix of the two digital parents to create something new. It's not just about pleasure. It's a connection of body and mind of 2 people Create something new, yes, possible. But there is no love, soulbound involved
Comment icon #41 Posted by Tiggs 8 years ago
It's not just about pleasure. It's a connection of body and mind of 2 people Create something new, yes, possible. But there is no love, soulbound involved A digital upload would functionally be the same as any other human being. Anything you can experience, they could, too.
Comment icon #42 Posted by questionmark 8 years ago
A digital upload would functionally be the same as any other human being. Anything you can experience, they could, too. where physical sensations would be of the "phantom" variety...


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