I am human.. I know that’s probably not exactly an earth shaking revelation, but- its true. I am human, and I’m not perfect, I suspect this fact is due in no small part to Gods little plan. We are frail, subject to illness, pain and emotional stress. We tend to break down from time to time, we break bones, we take sick, we go to the doctor- and depending on the severity of the problem, they can usually find a cure for whatever ails us, and so we usually survive to fight another day. Sometimes though- people just die. Like I said, its all part of the plan. We are human, and we have- by design, a shelf life. Part of the plan. Its ok most of us have accepted this fact and have already moved past it. There are others though that simply won’t go peacefully, Not without a fight. Some people just want to live forever.
Some people dream of the day when we become one with our own creation, when we become living computers. I know it sounds ridiculous, but think about your computer for a second. To simplify it a bit- It has a mother board, for processing and distributing information, it has a hard drive to store that information. Not unlike the human brain- which pretty much does the same thing only considerably slower. Ok I know that the processes that a computer goes through to compute and distribute information is a bit more involved than that, but that’s pretty much how it works. So what happens if your hard drive fails? If it is a sudden failure you are pretty much screwed, anything that was stored on it is gone. And then there are times when the hard drive just develops bad sectors which slowly diminishes its capability to retain information, and it eventually fails.. Not unlike the human brain when it develops Alzheimers or other diseases like Parkinson’s.
They being the experts, tell us that we should always back up our computers data, all of the pictures, word documents, and all of the other information that is stored on the hard drive in case of failure, should be backed up on another external hard drive or to the cloud, the cloud meaning the internet. Just in case of a massive failure of your system. Then when you get a new computer all you have to do is re-download all of the information from where you store it on the cloud and Voila! You have all of your information right there with you. You don’t lose a memory, not a picture, not a word. So what happens when your brain fails? There is no back up, there is only one option when your brain fails, you lose everything- period. But what would happen if someone came up with a way to back up your brains information to the cloud? Just implant a computer chip in the brain stem that would send a signal to the internet and instantly back up all of your memories. just open the cranium insert new brain insert the chip and retrieve your information from the cloud. And your pretty much whole again.
What would happen if they were able to create artificial blood cells? Ones that could replace your bodies broken down white blood cells. Artificial cells that would immediately recognize a health threat to your immune system. Artificial cells that could process information, immediately recognize, attack and kill, things like cancer or the HIV virus before it ever became active in your blood stream? How long then before they would find a way to reverse the effects of aging? The scary thing to me isn’t that any of this is or isn’t possible, the scary thing is the alarming rate at which technology that we openly embrace- pushes us closer to these realities. The scary thing is- the closer we get, the more our technology allows us to do, the more likely it will become that someone will actually try to make it a reality.
The singularity, the event when man will actually merge with the machine. Some people are just far enough off of their rocker to think that this could possibly be a good thing. Futurist, and inventor Ray Kurzweil thinks that we are 30 to 40 years away. Personally? I don’t think that it really sounds all that far fetched. I think the question that we need to really ask anyone who is even thinking about considering trying this, isn’t whether or not we should use our technology to do any of this, what we should be asking is SHOULD we be trying to do this in the first place?
Ray Kurzweil on Digital Frontiers.