August 27 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Other Year: General Rating: 8 Hot
By Dick Pelletier
Neurons made from exotic nanomaterials could one day enable humans to survive even the most horrendous accident, and as a bonus, provide amazing new capabilities.
Nanoengineer John Burch, co-designer of the nanofactory video, Productive Nanosystems from Molecules to Superproducts, predicts that by mid-2030s, we could be replacing brain cells with damage-resistant nanomaterials that process thoughts much faster than today’s biological brains.
“The new brain would include our same consciousness, memories and personality that existed before the conversion,” Burch says, “but it would run much faster and would increase our memory a thousand-fold.”
In addition, others experts say, this futuristic brain will allow us to control the speed of our thoughts; we could jump from 100 milliseconds, the response time of today’s brains, to 50 nanoseconds, millions of times faster.
Creating thoughts at this speed would, in our mind at least, slow everything down. Our perception would speed up, but activities would appear to slow down as our brain ran faster. Events that seem like minutes would actually be happening in seconds.
Burch describes how we would switch to the new brain. A daily pill would supply nanomaterials and instructions for nanobots to format new neurons and position them next to existing biological brain cells to be replaced. These changes would be unnoticeable to us, but within six months, we would be enjoying our new brain.
The new brain will allow wireless interface with computers and other digital technologies. We could access the Internet, control electronics, and make phone calls, with just our thoughts. Or we could understand complicated subjects – even speak a new language – without need for study.
Should a person with the new damage-resistant brain die in an accident, their body could be a total loss, but the brain would survive. Biological brains die within minutes after the heart stops; our new brain will simply turn itself off and wait for a new power supply.
All memories and consciousness would remain intact after a fatal accident. Rescue workers would remove the brain from the deceased body and reinstall it into a newly-cloned body. The patient would ‘wake up’ in their new body and resume life, not even realizing they had died.
Would we feel depressed from dying? Maybe, but this might be offset with the joy of living in an upgraded body. Standard body clones in the 2030s could include stronger bones and muscles, skin that instantly repairs itself when damaged, and hair that changes style and color on demand.
Some ask, with all this technology in our bodies, will we still be considered human? Life extension enthusiasts point out that we already enjoy false teeth, titanium hip replacements, cochlear implants, and artificial limbs.
In the 2030s, some will opt for a complete body transformation, and with their new damage-resistant brain, will be confident that memories, emotions, personality, and consciousness will remain unchanged during the transfer. Afterwards they will feel awareness that they are the same person who existed before the transfer – with all their ‘humanity’ intact.
Could this bold vision happen by mid-2030s? Experts believe that it can. Nanotech and quantum computer advancements that forecast this “magical future” are already in early development stages today.
This article will appear in various print media and blogs; comments welcome. See other published work by Dick at http://www.positivefuturist.com and click on the “published work” tab.