I live in the northeast portion of the United States. For my international readers, it’s where a LOT of our population lives who does not live in California, Texas, or Florida. You have large cities along a highway called I-95. Starting around Washington, D.C – then Baltimore, then Wilmington, then Philadelphia, then New York City, then Boston. Lots of traffic around these major cities. I often have commuted 90+ minutes each way to work…for years on end. My in-laws are 5 hours away in New York. So, the question rattles around in my head – where are the high speed trains in this country, and where are the teleportation devices?!
A few years ago, I started thinking about how people can live forever. Crazy, I know. I started thinking about how we might someday be able to transfer a person’s memories to disk…and perhaps their personality…their ethics…and maybe even their consciousness? This is where it’s going, I believe.
Not to pull a Michio Kaku, but I do like to live in big ideas of the future. By the way, how does one put “futurist” on their resume, and how does one get revenues for it? I’d like to get paid to pontificate about the technology of tomorrow.
If you look around today, let’s understand the current technologies, and where they are:
- Bionics – there are some really advanced limbs out there, able to use chemical/electrical signals to move pretty accurately.
- computer processing – more steps towards the quantum computing, at which Moore’s law will cease to work anymore. I believe this will have bio implications, where materials are more cellular than the silicon type chip of today.
- storage capacity – we continue to store more and more information in smaller and smaller devices
- the human brain – we are continuing to make progress with our understanding of the brain, and what I read recently was something about a computer able to read your memories and store them, and then retrieve them.
- robotics – the scary looking sex bots of today are evolving. Nothing like porn and sci-fi to advance robotics
- Communications – from his speed cable modems to satellites, bandwidth seems to increase…most recently I read an article on LED lights being 100 times faster than wifi, I think it was called LiFi. This uses colors at rapid speeds to transmit information. To dumb this down for you, a stoplight has red for stop and green for go. Those two lights communicated information to you in a binary format. Imagine a singal at a million times a second with 65 million colors and a receiver that can detect these color changes.
Give where we are today, where could we go with this?
- In 10-20 years from now, quantum computing is mainstream. Economies will start to tank, as we hit the wall with processing capabilities. Software begins to get leaner, more direct, and incorporate AI with dynamic coding. For example, do we need 800 million lines of code at the onset of a program, or could we have an AI module which can build a million or two lines of code on the fly to adapt to a situation? You tell your AI robot to make pancakes. It researches the process, the materials, the equipment, and the method. It examines the kitchen and finds the items needed. It then writes a routine to perform the job, in that particular kitchen.
- In 30-40 years from now, scientists with the help of the above, will have then cracked many of the codes of the brain. How specifically does the brain think? Store thoughts? For example, I watched a movie on Temple Grandin and apparently she “thinks” in pictures. Well, same for me. I asked around, and apparently no one thinks like this that I know. I’m sure there’s a lot of us out there – point is, that computers might have a “shorthand” for concepts. Many words I read/write are associated directly with pictures or abstract concepts. I’m a slow reader, as everything I read is seen in pictures that must then be processed further. Computers will use a form of “short hand” with concepts like this to “understand” words.
- Certain words like “dog” may have random pictures of dogs for me, usually blonde haired dogs for some reason.
- Other non-noun verbs have consistent images for me. So, if you asked me what images I saw for 1000 words, then asked me 6 weeks later what images I see, the results would be identical. For instance, “verb” for me has almost a jellyfish, nerve-like appearance. Whenever I read the word, I get a flash of this. “Jellyfish” is a more concise jellyfish that is a solid pink in color. I can do down this rabbit hole in streams of consciousness for quite some time.
- When I do recall, I see images and try and find the words that match the image/feeling. Meaning, I can act on things without being able to verbally describe to you or others what the f is going on it my head.
- I would contend that picture thinking goes back to cave man and hieroglyphics and that the written word is far more advanced for nuance – but pictures do say 1,000 words and are therefore more efficient for thought, not necessarily communication to others. I am in awe of people who are terrific orators. So, if we were to teach computers how to think, I’d argue that a more efficient way to think would be to browse concepts, then identify words. These concepts can be stored algorithms.
The point is, that they will find that synapses have patterns. To simplify, turning on synapse 1, 6, 12 might convey a concept of a “bicycle”. Turning on synapse 1,7, 12 might convey “ostrich”. Turning on synapse 1,7,12, 16 might convey “birthday”. Turning on synapse 1,6, 7, 32, 114, 65, 14, 26, 15, 226, 1036, and 3413 night give you a short video of your 7th birthday party where you can see, smell, and hear. Imagine several trillion synapses, and instead of “on” or “off”, there are degrees of on or off with different chemical reactions, and different synapses in different orders do different things. Now what happens when synapse 1 dies or becomes damaged? Do you lose all memories, or does it simply degrade the quality?
I would then contend that your brain has a library of all of these pathways, sort of like how you remember where you put your spoons versus where you put that bill that came in the mail last week, versus where you put a child hood toy. You put the spoons in a certain area that is used frequently, and the pathway is more or less loaded in FAST RAM of your brain. Then there are the possible usual spots you placed your mail, perhaps it could be in one of 8 locations you check and in slower RAM. Lastly, your childhood toy was in a storage box…somewhere. This you have to access your hard drive where you see a fragment of your toy in the corner of a box – but you don’t know which box or where that box is. The robot making pancakes will do the same thing with it’s new code for cooking it writes. Sub-modules of that will be turning on the stove (FAST RAM), getting to the refrigerator (FAST RAM), getting the ingredients (slow RAM, has to then possibly modify code based on available ingredients), and method (hard drive, as variances to the recipe and tools can modify this). Meaning, the method might be something stored on a central cloud for access at a later time, but turning on the stove and going to the refrigerator..in THAT house, will be in FAST RAM.
- In 40-50 years, bionics will live in harmony with quantum processing and the human brain. perhaps a chip is injected into your brain, and this chip interacts with synapses, and the chip then directs movement to artificial limbs. This will also have the effect of curing paralysis, as you will be able to bypass the spinal cord for limb movement. Yes, this can also be liable to being “hacked” so be careful!
- In 100 years, everyone will have a tiny chip implanted into their heads at birth. This chip will do a LOT of things to assist you, and essentially prevent/cure diseases.
- Chip can tell if infection is coming, and assist human defenses in killing intruder
- Chip can detect cancer clusters and eliminate with specialized proteins ordered to the region
- Chip can moderate behavior – those with bipolar and the like will have moods leveled with increased internal doses of hormones.
- Chip will order what nutrients are needed. The chip will be able to kill/promote gut flora, which in turn will tell us what foods we are hungry for. This list of ingredients then feeds the body to the proper weight, thus eliminating obesity and promoting better health
- Chip will also be able to make you alert and help you exercise. This removes the need for coffee, as well as keeps people fit later in life. Retirement age pushed to 75 as average lifespan goes up to 95 with improvements to human health, medicines, and anti-aging discoveries.
- Chip may be able to record events to be retrieved later – homicide rate is virtually eliminated, as suspect interrogation involves retrieving memories from brain to see if suspect recalls event.
- In 200 years from now, human beings will be able to be identified by a signature, if you will. For example, if I use email now, I can use a digital signature, or hash, to identify myself. This is a long stream of characters that is tied to who I am. In 200 years from now, the chips from above will advance to understand everything about me as a person – and my bionic clone can be located in another location. My consciousness can be then pulled from “the cloud” when I want to “commute”. For example, my bionic clone can be 3D printed in 5 minutes, and my consciousness be downloaded to it. I can then experience everything I need on a vacation, at work, etc. I can then plug back in, my “rented” body is destroyed, and I’m relocated back into my “host” at home with all of the experiences, knowledge, and feelings as if my “host” was there. After all, sitting at the beach is synapse 2, 4, 9, 10 – and my bio clone experienced that, was able to save that memory, and my host was able to hit synapse 2, 4, 9, 10 and exactly recall it as if the host had experienced it. This also means the host may never have to venture more than a few miles from home, which also reduces risk of harm to the host. If you are rock climbing in Hawaii with your bio clone and drop off a cliff, you can awake in your clone with the delta memories uploaded to you from the cloud. Bioclones could be expensive, so care will be taken to preserve them. Bioclones could also be an interesting solution for people who have a raw deal with their host bodies. Maybe they were scarred in a fire and no plastic surgery could help. A patient could literally make the bio-clone the new “host”.
- This then means…while teleportation is now possible – so is immortality. The only thing I could think is that with more and more transfers, there might be degradation of experiences. Perhaps synapse 2 was damaged in the bioclone and an uplink send bad information that overwrote the master. Then, you wonder, how would you do versioning? If you had a bad experience, can you then “revert” to an earlier self? Could you then essentially “un-see” something traumatic?
- What about control? Security? With these chips, could a government entity then prevent murder by doing something to your chip? Prevent other crimes? Could a far leftist or far rightest want to try and “program” their ideal society?
This then brings up many ethical dilemmas. Below are a few:
Would you give up freedoms to do whatever you want in the name of society and security…for the possibility of immortality? If not, what trade offs would you accept for immortality? What would you do with your life if you had immortality? If humans became immortal – would they still reproduce? At what point have you then evolved beyond homo sapien? How do you feel about humans being able to shape their own evolution – if this means the end to all disease and death? At what point do humans realize they ARE God, not just playing God? Should we stop all advancements in science to feed the need for religion, or does religion evolve as well as science does? Does this mean we can create bioclones which are fit for space travel and we can colonize planets hundreds of light years away? Could we “pre-program” a bioclone to be able to live on Mars with a different environment than earth’s? Could this be the answer to reaching out to the stars? Could “great people” inhabit multiple clones in order to be more productive to society? Could society then “destroy” a consciousness who is not productive and perhaps defective? Could this then lead to a society, eventually, where one person’s consciousness is downloaded in all bioclones? Does this mean a Bruce Jenner could have simply downloaded himself into a bioclone that had a different sex? Could anyone download themselves into a custom biolclone? What implications could it have if you cannot be identified by the person you inhabited on a daily basis – and what does that do to your version of “self” and your identity? Would everyone in society look “beautiful” or would uniqueness now become the new beautiful? Could you design your own face?