Now, here's something truly scary. An American scientist is claiming that within 20 years it will be possible to back-up human brains and the memories contained therein. Martyn Warwick reports.
Raymond Kurzweil, is a US scientist and futurologist active for many years in disciplines such as optical character recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology and artificial intelligence.
Speaking at a symposium in the Austrian capital, Vienna, Dr. Kurzweil claimed, "Within the next 20 years we will have thousands of nanobot computer machines in our blood that will heal our bodies, improve our performance, and even be able to back up all the contents of our brains, just as you backup your files on a computer. That means they would back up every thought, every experience, everything that makes us an individual."
He added, "it may sound far-fetched but in the early 1980s, people thought I was crazy for predicting the emergence of the world wide web by the middle of the 1990s; but it happened, and on the schedule I predicted."
Mind you, Dr. Kurzwell also predicted that the US economy would boom from 1998 through to the end of 2009, and that by the same year cars would drive themselves using sensors installed in highways.
Yes, I know Google is experimenting with this right now but its all a long, long way from becoming reality.
Dr. Kurzweil doesn't have just one PhD, he has 19 honorary doctorates and advises governments, scientists, and the military on technology-related issues. Among other things he currently working with Google on a project to solve the world's energy problems. Easy-peasy.
Interviewed by the magazine Rolling Stone in February last year, Dr Kurzweil said he wants to construct a genetic copy of his dead father from DNA taken from his grave. He intends to do so by using nanobots to retrieve DNA samples from his father's mortal remains so that he can clone his parent and "retrieve memories and recollections" from the dead brain.
Back in 1966 the great science fiction writer Philip K Dick wrote the story "We can remember it for you wholesale." In it the Rekal company provides a service of implanting real and false memories in people's brains.
The film of the book is "Total Recall" and in it Arnie the Governator (for it is he who stars) in his role as the hero Douglas Quaid, says, "if I'm not me, who the hell am I?"
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