Science fiction aficionados are no stranger to the book “neurorover,” which pioneered the literary category of “digital punk,” better known as “the Matrix,” a film deeply influenced by the science fiction novel. Set against the backdrop of Chiba, Japan, the novel depicts a world in which computer networks are unprecedentedly developed. In such a world, bioengineering technology advances by leaps and bounds, human beings can connect self-consciousness and computer network, and give up the body to enter the control space for wonderful exploration.
In the 2014 Johnny Depp film Transcendental Hack, the brain of a dead AI expert (Johnny Depp) was copied into a computer network by his wife, remaking him in a virtual world. The plot of “consciousness upload” has appeared in many sci-fi works, in fact, it is a common part of digital punk.
But the most common thing about science fiction is that people have to work for decades or even centuries to replicate the human brain, a technique that sounds like magic reality.
Really, it’s hard. But we might as well discard prejudice and discuss the technology.
Is it possible to replicate the human brain?
In principle, yes. The brain is an extremely complex aggregate. The human brain is made up of 100 billion nerve cells, equivalent to the number of stars in the Milky way, and more than 100 trillion synapses connect to nerve cells. Although the number is very large, but they are limited, can still be figured out.
The Transcendental hacker has a line that says that thought is a pattern of electronic signals. It sounds incredible, but if you go back to high school biology textbooks, you’ll know it’s true. All our senses, including hearing, vision, smell, touch and so on, are transmitted to the brain in the form of electrical signals. And we all know that the electronic signal mode can be run on a computer.
In theory, it is feasible. Stephen Hawking, a physicist who recently died, said, “I think thinking is a program stored in the brain, just like a computer, so theoretically we can copy the brain into a computer,” said Stephen Hawking, a physicist who recently died. Providing a way of life after death. “We can mimic the physical, chemical and electronic structures of the human brain and input all the parameters into the computer to produce outputs similar to those of the real human brain, such as the control of virtual limbs, five senses and other organs.
3D printing brain
Theodore Berger, a professor at the University of Southern California, announced at the SXSW Technology Conference in 2015 that a “near perfect” switch from short-term memory to long-term memory storage could be made through the artificial hippocampus, which could complete a backup of the human brain’s memory. And copy it to other people’s brains, but given the complexity of the brain, such a bold attempt carries with it a very high risk. A little carelessness can lead to epilepsy, delusions, and even complete loss of consciousness.
Just this year, MIT researchers used 3D printing to create the most accurate brain models. The breakthrough is that researchers have combined 3D printers with brain imaging for 3D printing.
Ct scans have a high resolution and produce tiny gray-scale images that reflect all the activity in the brain. But because of the shortcomings of 3D printing technology, gray is often made white or black during printing, so the researchers break down each gray pixel into smaller dots, which appear black or white. In this way, the 3D printer can record the image according to the very small scale of black to white pixels, and finally get a better result.
Printing your brain in 3D will help you reconstruct the structure of your brain, understand the patterns of brain networks that are developing, and help you understand how intractable diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, affect brain networks.
Holographic brain modulation
Also this year, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, developed a new device that projects holograms onto brain cells. The new device, called a holographic brain modulator, uses holographic projection to activate or suppress certain neurons. Its ultimate goal is to control a large number of neurons at the same time, so that they present a real pattern of brain activity, and thus achieve sensory replication. In the future, we can use this technique to edit memories, remove pain, and implant images that don’t exist.
At present, “holographic brain modulator” technology is still in its infancy, but the prospects should not be underestimated. The researchers conducted an experiment on mice that targeted a small, three-dimensional area of the brain containing 2,000 to 3,000 neurons. Each neuron is supplemented by a virus that contains a protein that activates the neuron when struck by a flash of light.
The researchers then created a computer-generated hologram, created a 3D pattern, and projected it onto the surface of the somatosensory cortex, the brain’s center of touch, vision and movement. The researchers monitored brain activity in mice in real time and found that their brain activity was the same as the response to real sensory stimuli.
The equipment required for this technology is very large and only works in a small area. But once this technology is developed, in the future, we can use it to edit memories, delete pain, implant images that don’t exist, and even debug the brain by monitoring brain activity, such as showing the world to the blind. Old people who are no longer physically fit travel all over the country, north and south, and so on.
Living brain preservation.
Nectome, an American start-up, plans to preserve living brains and upload consciousness in the future. First, the company freezes the brain completely. Next, it waits for the further development of science and technology, and then turns all the information stored in the brain, such as feelings, knowledge, and so on, into a digital existence that can be uploaded by consciousness. The ultimate realization of human immortality.
Lei Yu, an analyst at intellectual relativistic aixdlunn, has written an article on frozen human bodies, in which they say that the prime time for freezing a human body is 2 to 15 minutes after death. But the technique of replicating the brain in vivo is not much different from that of freezing the human body. But the only difference is that the technology to preserve the brain needs to be carried out before the person is dead.
“dedicated to archiving your thoughts,” Photo from Netcome’s official website.
And that, in turn, must be a technology that leads to death, so it’s only available to certain groups of people. This is a typical “to live and die” technology, just the ethical issues behind it, it makes people shudder.
Copying brains is complicated, encouraging or resisting?
Henry Makram of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lobsang, who runs the Blue brain Program, is an avid fan of brain replication. In 2009, he asserted that the human brain would be replicable over the next decade, with a decade in sight.
And the three technologies mentioned above, in any way, are not really replicating the brain, and there are many technical barriers that have yet to be overcome. For example, in the 3D printing brain, even if humans do print out every tiny structure perfectly, they may not be able to do so because they don’t know enough about the brain, and holographic brain modulation is still in its early stages of development. Its technology is far from being applied to people. Living brain preservation, apparently, is a bit like the whimsy of the utopian rich.
At the same time, there have always been different voices in academic circles regarding the copying of the brain. Some scientists believe that human consciousness cannot simply replicate. Because most of its important features are the result of unpredictable, nonlinear interactions between billions of cells.
If a technology has been subject to controversy for a long time but has been developing methodically (at least officially), there is no doubt that there is a steady stream of support from various stakeholders. After all, for some successful plutocrats, how to survive is the only thing they worry about. Search: plutocrats live forever, you will find that too many plutocrats grapple with this matter.
Let’s not discuss whether copying the brain can actually achieve immortality. I mean, it’s open to question whether consciousness alone can be called immortality. If replicating the brain does a better job of fighting disease, saving lives and saving lives, and everyone can enjoy the dividends of the technology, then it is certainly a technology to be encouraged.