Why should you upload your mind to a supercomputer?

    The prospect is so far away that it seems incredible. Just thinking for a minute, we can name many factors that interfere even with theoretical research. And only the presence of tremendous benefits allows us to consider digital life as something worthy of attention. As a result, the realization that death at the end of life is not an obligatory act compels us to turn to the topic of digital immortality again and again.

    Go to the stars in the form of "software" of the ship? To become a true Artificial Intelligence and create virtual worlds with all the power of imagination? Get the body of a robot and enjoy the life of an invulnerable machine? Everything is possible, even if the limit of your dreams is a small "pumping" of the brain in order to increase efficiency. It remains to wait for the technological singularity and to solve several interesting problems in advance.

    Some interesting issues

    Skeptics argue that the human brain will never be digitized. Supercomputers do not have enough power to process human brain data. And after decades, not enough. And when that's enough, the question will be where to store this data. Moore’s law inspires hope that we will solve these problems sooner or later. From a biological point of view, it is more difficult whether the brain (and mind) is able to exist outside the biological body.

    The counterargument of supporters of eternal life:“The brain is quite autonomous and needs a body, mainly as a supplier of necessary metabolites and oxygen. The aging process takes place in the body independently of the brain and is accompanied by destabilization of the flow of fatty acids and glucose, which is necessary for the brain as the main source of energy, and is the cause of neurodegenerative changes and pathologies such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson’s disease . "

    Thus, by separating the brain from the body and placing it in a more comfortable environment, we will make the brain "immortal." Moreover, we will increase the functionality of the brain by changing the biological body to an artificial one. But this will not help solve the problem of aging of the brain cells themselves. Biological tissue, alas, is doomed from the moment of its inception. The brain can live for some time in a “jar of nutrient solution”, but the final solution to the problem is “transition to silicon”.

    None of the physical media of information known to science has the ability of the brain to create unpredictable, non-linear relationships between billions of cells, which forms our consciousness. Can we predict the behavior of such a structure, if now even the stock market is a black hole for the computing capabilities of supercomputers?

    Moreover, there is still no established definition of consciousness as such. We cannot determine the difference between a being in consciousness and a hypothetical being that acts and reacts as if it is in consciousness, but without an internal psychic attitude. It is enough to look at the list of the main unsolved problems of neurobiology to understand how far we are from the possibility of loading consciousness. As if picking a shovel in the sandbox, we imagine how we build the Great Pyramids.

    There are many theories and a huge amount of research material, but there is no clear model of consciousness. This leads to an interesting paradox: even if consciousness can be downloaded to a computer, we cannot be sure that the resulting digital mind will be identical to the biological mind. As a result, we may create a new race of beings, but in no way provide ourselves with immortality.

    Ray of hope

    Ultimately, we are not going to exceed the speed of light, change Planck’s constant, or otherwise undermine the foundation of the universe. The load of consciousness, even in theory, looks much easier than time travel, cloning of dinosaurs and interstellar flights. We assume that the translation of consciousness into "digital" is possible. Key questions: how soon? How many resources will we need? And the most important: do we want this?

    Many distinguished scientists, philosophers and futurologists do not perceive thinking as a unique, inimitable process. The human brain, in their view, is practically a Turing machine, adhering to the laws of physics in the known part of the universe. Proponents of digital life believe that we can recreate the structure of the brain using non-biological material and transmit nerve cell signals to it.

    If the theory that the brain is computer-like and algorithmic is true, then the process of transferring consciousness into a non-biological alternative to the brain will be feasible with a sufficient level of development of computer technology. Even other theories, including the quantum nature of consciousness, leave us hope to move into cyberspace.

    Threats and rewards

    Imagine a cave through which the huge Dragon of Probability can easily move. Under the stony arches lie mountains of gold and precious stones. This treasure is a symbol of our reward for life in the form of zeros and ones. The biological body requires care and attention, which takes a tremendous amount of time that you can spend on work or entertainment on a new, posthuman level.

    You do not have to worry anymore about pension contributions, cholesterol levels, weakening memory. On the other hand, paradise does not shine for you either - life outside the body has its difficulties due to viruses, hackers, deterioration of equipment and possible natural disasters. Getting rid of mortgages and biological death does not at all turn you into a god. Any analogue barbarian ramming a satellite on a suborbital bus will bring a lot of trouble.

    If we perceive digital life as a new stage of technological development, and not its ultimate goal, it will be much easier to accept a new reality.

    The end of biological existence is an excellent potential for development. For many, virtual immortality will be a continuation of the GTD methods, healthy lifestyle and other ways to develop your creative abilities and increase your working capacity. One of the best ways to increase efficiency in digital being is to create an unlimited number of copies of consciousness.

    Backup data! For this, it is not necessary to part with the biological body. You can make a copy of the brain throughout your life. Just imagine that a difficult question in old age can be discussed with your 20-year-old copy, full of mental strength and energy.

    The number of backups is unlimited. You will solve any problem by massive brainstorming. Your versions from different periods of life will be able to discuss issues and come to a collegial decision. Something similar we can observe now in psychiatric practice. For example, the case of the appearance of twenty-four personalities in one consciousness is described.

    Now we perceive several “copies” of one mind as a disease, but there is every reason to believe that in the future several “people” in one body (or without any body) will become the norm. In Peter Watts’s novel False Blindness, the character is described with a whole team of split personalities inside. Needless to say, the efficiency of her work was higher than that of other characters (with the exception of non-livingheroes of the book).

    Interaction with copies of your mind is not only an exciting future that futurists argue about. For many of us, it’s peculiar when solving a difficult task to consider it from different angles. We discuss it within ourselves, even argue with ourselves. Carried away by this process, we even risk creating a dissociative disorder. The presence of an external, separate personality does not pose a threat to the integrity of our "I".

    In addition to the acquired digital immortality, we are fortunate enough to once and for all solve the "problem of the day." “Only twenty-four hours a day” - how many times did we use this phrase to explain the failure of the project? Life in supercomputers will go at super speeds. We can think faster, work faster, gain and accumulate experience faster. Even conditional seventy years of life will become muchlonger . Remember how slowly time passed on the back desk at the end of the last lesson? Imagine this moment and imagine that it can be spent more interesting .

    Naturally, this process will be part of the overall trend for an increase in IQ. "Pumping" a fully digital brain will be much easier than upgrading a biological brain. The digital mind will be more flexible, reliable and protected from overload. The virtual mind will be able to have more memory, it is better to concentrate attention and, undoubtedly, it will acquire “fuses” from emotional burnout. Switching the digital brain to the desired wave of emotional state is not difficult. Controlling emotions is one of the most important comfort zones of a posthuman.

    Speaking of pluses, one cannot but recall Mother Earth. Human civilization is causing significant harm to the environment, and when the world’s population doubles - this is not a distant prospect - then we will talk about the global extinction of all other species of living things. Of course, the creation and maintenance of the performance of colossal supercomputers will have an additional impact on nature, but the benefits of the disappearance of biologically active sources of garbage compensate for the new burden that our civilization will impose on the planet.

    Are we able to look a little further into the future? Are we ready to imagine a world in which society is a symbiosis of connected digital minds, essentially a collective mind? The fundamental problem is that the merging of consciousnesses will create an information storm in which any valuable information will be lost in the ocean of extraneous “noise”. As if you are in a crowd where everyone speaks at the same time. This problem can be solved by developing standardized protocols for the communication of the brain with the brain.

    To adapt consciousness in a digital environment, virtual reality for the first time will resemble an offline world. But why do we need to create a world exactly like the famous universe? The ability to fine-tune the space will create worlds that are limited only by our imagination. After that, the "analog" world will be perceived painfully limited, with "truncated functionalities." The difference between the digital world of the future and the biological environment - both between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space.

    Retrograds do not need to be afraid to disappear in the Matrix. Downloading to a supercomputer does not mean only in a virtual environment. A person will be able to load himself into the body of a robot or cyborg. A small (hopefully) chip in the biological brain - and here is your consciousness in the good old human body. For nostalgic people this will be a great opportunity to return home again.

    Preparatory stage

    Now we are at the very beginning of the journey. You've probably heard of DARPA SyNAPSE , or you know that the Blue Brain Project , a project for computer modeling of a human neocortex , started in 2005 . You might be interested in Human Brain Project news and other attempts to make a “map of the human brain”. But on a global scale, we are surprisingly little interested in the possibility of transferring consciousness.

    Ray Bradbury correctly noted:“People are idiots. They did a lot of stupid things: they came up with costumes for dogs, the position of an advertising manager and things like the iPhone, having received nothing in return but a sour aftertaste. But if we developed science, mastered the Moon, Mars, Venus ... Who knows what the world would be like then? Mankind has been given the opportunity to surf the cosmos, but it wants to engage in consumption: drink beer and watch TV shows. ”

    That's just space - this is also a turn in the wrong direction. Dmitry Rogozin may dream of a Russian colony on the moon, but the benefit of this to you personally is doubtful. Space technologies, of course, bring the moment of technological singularity closer. The only benefit from them is a pot of gold, not a cave filled with treasures.

    If you approve of the idea of ​​loading consciousness, then talk more about it with people. Yes, the flight to Mars seems completely real, and the replacement of each brain neuron with an artificial element - pseudoscientific witchcraft. You can recall that neurons are constantly dying, so it would be logical to replace them with backups combined into a single neurocomputer. But what to answer the question "friend, is this even possible?"

    Dr. Ali Banizir has developed a methodology for the probability of the birth of a specific, individual person. He calculated the likelihood of meeting his hypothetical parents, taking into account many factors, including the number of men and women on Earth, as well as the number of people of the opposite sex that these future parents could meet in the first 25 years of their life. So, in the end it turned out that the chance of a particular person being born is close to zero.

    But, despite the theory of probability, you were born.

    And the appearance of the postman is already a matter of time.

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