Wired has as article on the immortality-seeking inventor and transhumanist Ray ‘King Canute’ Kurzweil who is attempting to defeat death by bioengineering his body until he can upload his mind on a computer.
Transhumanism is a movement that attempts to extend the limits of human existence through technology, and one of the obvious, if not slightly fanciful, hurdles is to transcend death.
One of the key concepts in transhumanism is the singularity, supposedly the point where computers will ‘overtake’ the human brain in terms of their processing ability and, hence, intelligence as we know it will become completely transformed.
Accompanying the article about Kurzweil’s wide-eyed optimism is another article on the current science of his objectives which nicely illustrates where the conceptual gaps actually lie.
Many computer scientists take it on faith that one day machines will become conscious. Led by futurist Ray Kurzweil, proponents of the so-called strong-AI school believe that a sufficient number of digitally simulated neurons, running at a high enough speed, can awaken into awareness. Once computing speed reaches 1016 operations per second ‚Äî roughly by 2020 ‚Äî the trick will be simply to come up with an algorithm for the mind.
Which is a bit like saying “once we have the technology to travel to another galaxy, all we have to do is get there”.