Bioengineers at Stanford University have modeled a circuit board after the human brain. There is still a long way to go before it will be as big, powerful, and efficient as an actual brain, but it’s still a huge step forward — 9,000 times faster than the typical computer. Will this technology make brain upload — such as that seen in the movie Transcendence — possible?
Current practical uses will come first
Scientists at Stanford believe that the technology could be used to move prosthetic limbs. This will be fantastic for those who have lost an arm or a leg. If the technology can be attached effectively, prosthetics could become much like regular human limbs, with all of their subtle movements.
Transhumanists believe brain upload will happen by 2045
Transhumanists believe that humans will be able to upload their brains to computers by the year 2045. If the Stanford technology — or other similar technology currently being researched — can be improved quickly enough, there is still the problem of actually “uploading” the contents of an actual human brain into the synthetic brain. Although this type of technology is also being worked on, beginning with the upload of a bee brain, it may take much longer to work out the upload problem than it will to create an actual synthetic brain.
What would a synthetic brain contain?
It’s fun to imagine transhumanism, and what it would be like to live forever, but would it be possible to upload everything that makes up a human brain? Let’s say we create a synthetic brain that is just as efficient as the human brain. Then imagine that a method of brain transfer is created. What would actually be uploaded? The brain is extremely complex, creating new neural pathways all the time. Even the act of accessing information in your brain could possibly change that information.
The problem is that it may not be possible to simply upload a whole brain. The only way for a synthetic brain to be truly the same as the uploaded brain would be to somehow clone the brain as it currently is, with all of its pathways intact. The new brain would need to have the ability to create new pathways in order to “think” and learn. Otherwise, the synthetic would likely contain only basic static data. The data may not have sufficient context, or other supporting information to make sense of the data. The technology to do all of that would have to be exceedingly advanced.