The Scientist planning to upload his brain to a  computer
Dec19

The Scientist planning to upload his brain to a computer

ShareBy MARK PRIGG FOR MAILONLINE It is a plan taken straight from the pages of a science fiction novel – and potentially a way to exist forever. A San Francisco inventor has revealed plans for a system to upload his brain to a computer.He hopes to be able to replicate the human brain as a mechanical system. Randal Koene says the key to this is the SIM – a ‘Substrate-Independent Mind.’By mapping the brain, reducing its activity to computations, and reproducing those computations in code, Koene argued, humans could live indefinitely, emulated by silicon. ‘When I say emulation, you should think of it, for example, in the same sense as emulating a Macintosh on a PC,’ he told a recent San Francisco conference. ‘It’s kind of like platform-independent code.’The thing that makes all of this possible is a ‘Substrate-Independent Mind.’This, according to Koene, is not merely an artificial intelligence, but a human mind downloaded to a computer. Neuroscientists are 99.9% percent convinced that the brain is a mechanism, he says. It is something that computes, something that carries out functions. If you can figure out how it works, you can build a replacement for it. ‘The idea that you can take a small piece of the brain and build a replica for it is very mainstream and well understood,’ he recently told Vice. ‘Why not do that with the whole brain? And then why not upload that to a computer so that we can process more data and store it better, the way a computer does, organizing thoughts into folders that we can access whenever we choose?’ ‘It would be interesting to inhabit a more virtual world. ‘Or perhaps bodies that aren’t built to survive in this environment, but somewhere else, like space.’ He has set up an organisation, carboncopies to work on the technical and ethical issues around the project. ‘We support practical approaches toward what we descriptively term “advanced substrate-independent minds (ASIM), i.e. transferring mind functions from the biological substrate to another substrate on which those functions can be performed,’ it says. ‘Carboncopies initially takes a technology agnostic stance. We organise workshops and conferences where interested parties can exchange ideas, network with others, and keep updated on the latest developments in the field’ HOW IT WILL WORK According to Koene’s site, :‘The functions of mind that we experience are originally implemented through neurobiological mechanisms, the neural circuitry of our brains. ‘If the same functions are implemented in a different operating substrate, populated with parameters and operating such that they produce the same results as they would in the brain, then that mind has become substrate-independent. ‘It is a substrate-independent mind (SIM) by being able to...

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Short Film “Memories 2.0″ Envisions Reliving the Past Through Virtual Reality
Dec06

Short Film “Memories 2.0″ Envisions Reliving the Past Through Virtual Reality

ShareBY DAVID J. HILL  ON DEC 06, 2014 One of the hard truths of human existence is that though we are able to move freely through space, we are mercilessly constrained by time. Each moment of life arrives then rapidly passes, seemingly lost forever. In an attempt to capture information from these moments as they flow past, our brains record memories, but they are limited by what is perceived and stored on a device that is organic and fragile. Drawing on concepts of technology, memory, and lost relationships explored in others films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the short film Memories 2.0 explores the use of virtual reality to recapture moments of love lost forever. Whether virtual reality and neuroscience will converge in the future to produce technology that will enable the reliving of memories, science fiction films love to delve into technology’s affect on the mind. Consider movies such as Brainstorm, Until the End of the World, and The Matrix that all explore the mental strain anticipated when bridging the physical world and virtual reality. Each depicts how technology will empower us, but at a price. Coexisting in a world full of constraints and one that seems limitless will have an impact on our identity and relationships. Yet even with today’s technology, we are increasingly existing in two realities concurrently or, put another way, the new reality is hybridized. Digital images and video allow us to capture and relive memories in detail, and social media and cloud technology now permit vicarious reliving of moments from other people’s lives with ease. Virtual reality will only make these delvings much more immersive, and underscores the justification for Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift for $2 billion. It raises the question, How are our minds already being affected by this divide? Memories 2.0 doesn’t offer any answers but simply a glimpse at the life of a protagonist attempting to regain a part of himself through technology. In the future, all of us may end up in his shoes. Via Singularity...

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Virtual Reality May Become the Next Great Media Platform—But Can It Fool All Five Senses?
Sep28

Virtual Reality May Become the Next Great Media Platform—But Can It Fool All Five Senses?

ShareBY JASON DORRIER   SEPT 28 Jason Silva calls technologies of media “engines of empathy.” They allow us to look through someone else’s eyes, experience someone else’s story—and develop a sense of compassion and understanding for them, and perhaps for others more generally. But he says, while today cinema is the “the cathedral of communication technology,” looking to the future, there is another great medium looming—virtual reality. Expanding on the possibilities embodied in the Oculus Rift, Silva envisions a future when we inhabit not virtual realities but “real virtualities.” A time when we discard today’s blunt tools of communication to cloak ourselves in thought and dreams. It’s an electrifying vision of the future, one many science fiction fans have imagined. At present, we’re nowhere near the full digital duplication and manipulation of reality Silva describes. But if we don’t dream a thing, it’ll never come to pass. Sometimes we can see the long potential of tech and are awed by it, even though we don’t know how to make it happen yet. All new technologies begin in the mind’s eye like this. “We live in condensations of our imagination,” Terence McKenna says. Realization can take years; the engineering process can fizzle and reignite—go through a roller coaster of inflated expectations and extreme disillusion. Eventually, we get close enough to the dream to call it a sibling, if not an identical twin. So, what will it take to get to Silva’s real virtuality? Let’s take a (brief) stroll through the five senses and see how close we are to digitally fooling them. Sight Two items crucial to immersive visuals are imperceptible latency (that is, no delay between our head moving and the scene before us adjusting) and high resolution. With a high-performance PC and LED- and sensor-based motion tracking, the Oculus Rift has the first one almost nailed for seated VR. As you move your head, the scene in front of you adapts almost seamlessly—as it would in the real world. This is why the Rift is so exciting, it not only makes such immersion possible, it does so affordably. But what about resolution? It’s acceptable, but could be better. Currently, the Rift uses a high-definition display—the latest prototype is rumored to be about 2,600 pixels across. You can’t see the dark edges separating pixels (as you could in the first developer kit) but the graphics still aren’t as sharp as they could be. Displays about 4,000 and even 8,000 (4K and 8K) pixels across are near, and they get us closer to ideal resolution—but even they won’t be enough. “To get to the point where you can’t see pixels, I think some...

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Welcome to Life: the singularity, ruined by lawyers
May18

Welcome to Life: the singularity, ruined by lawyers

ShareBy Tom Scott   A science fiction story about what you see when you die. Or: the Singularity, ruined by lawyers…   If you liked this, you may also enjoy two novels that provided inspiration for it: Jim Munroe’s Everyone in Silico, where I first found the idea of a corporate-sponsored afterlife; Rudy Rucker’s trippy Postsingular, which introduced me to the horrifying idea of consciousness...

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