Mr. Demille, I’m ready for my closeup.

Cheating Death Part II: Uploading Your Brain

Norma Desmond
Tranhumanism is the name, uploading your brain to a computer is the game. Neuroscientists, biologists and futurists met at the World Transhumanist Association’s ninth annual meeting last week to discuss the viability of a shocking acceleration in human evolution: fusing man and machine.

“Ideas include wrapping the brain in plastic, slicing it with lasers and diamond blades and then using an advanced camera to take images of the tissue. This method is being used currently in mice, but this rapidly growing movement foresees it being developed to transfer human memories and emotions onto microchips.

“Immortality isn’t a question of ‘if’ to people like PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Star Trek’s William Shatner, it’s ‘when.’ By donating sums of up to $4 million Peter hopes that ‘when’ is sooner than later.

“This type of research doesn’t come without controversy. The ethics of immortality and the artificial intelligence required to undertake such a notion have been under attack since their inception. Social concerns involve the question of where all of us would live if no one ever dies and the divide between rich and poor (such as in the movie Gattaca).

“Environmental ethicist Bill McKibben is outraged at the idea of the trivialization of human identity. What becomes meaningfully if life has no obstacles? What if we give birth to monsters that enslave the human race?” . . .

Original: Bust a Change

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Newcomb’s commentary to outraged ethicists:

Athenians to the Melians: ‘When you speak of the favor of the gods, we may as fairly hope for that as yourselves; neither our pretensions nor our conduct being in any way contrary to what men believe of the gods, or practice among themselves. Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can. And it is not as if we were the first to make this law, or to act upon it when made: we found it existing before us, and shall leave it to exist for ever after us; all we do is to make use of it, knowing that you and everybody else, having the same power as we have, would do the same as we do.‘”

Melian Dialogue: Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War

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