Mind-uploading tech that creates ‘virtual copy of you’ to live forever may be ready in our lifetimes, scientists reveal
PEOPLE alive today might live long enough to see human brains uploaded to computers, scientists say.
It’s one way experts think we could “live forever” – transferring our minds to computer systems that don’t age or die.
Creating a virtual clone of your own mind is one way ‘transhumanists’ think we could live foreverCredit: Getty
This is called “transhumanism”, a movement that wants to use tech and science to become effectively immortal.
By creating a virtual copy of ourselves on a computer, we could live far beyond the lifespan of our fleshy bodies, transhumanists argue.
And that future might not be hundreds of years but in our lifetimes, according to Clas Weber, a senior lecturer at The University of Western Australia who specializes in philosophy of the mind, AI and metaphysics.
“It took years and hundreds of millions of dollars to map the first human genome about 20 years ago,” Weber explained.
“Today, the fastest labs can do it within hours for about $100.
“With similar gains in efficiency, we might see mind-uploading technology within the lifetimes of our children or grandchildren.”
Weber said that we might map the brain of a mouse within a decade – but the human mind is far more complicated.
And even once we do map a human brain, there’s still a long way to go.
Cloning the mind
There are three hurdles that humanity needs to overcome before we can truly move our minds to computers.
The first is being able to develop the raw technology that could take a brain, clone it, and transfer it only a computer.
“Trying to simulate the human brain would be a monumental challenge,” Weber warned.
“Our brains are the most complex structures in the known universe. They house around 86 billion neurons and 85 billion non-neuronal cells, with an estimated one million billion neural connections.
“For comparison, the Milky Way galaxy is home to about 200 billion stars.”
Second is whether or not the simulated brain could “give rise to a real mind”.
Making this happen could involve utilizing AI apps of the future.
AI is designed to mimic some parts of how the human mind work – and they may be much more powerful in decades to come.
And third is whether a virtual mind created using this process really becomes “you”.
“Only then does mind uploading become a way for you to live on,” Weber explained.
“Imagine your brain is transplanted into the empty skull of another person’s body.
“Is the resulting person, who has your memories, preferences and personality, you – as the mental camp thinks?
“Or are they the person who donated their body? In other words, did you get a new body or did they get a new mind?”
Weber also warned that uploading the human mind would involve a “huge leap of faith”.
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