Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Planetary Boundaries And Global Catastrophic Risk

Morality and God

Random Neuron Connections

Digital Afterlife: 2045

Is the UN up to the job?

Digital Leaders TV: The Internet of Things (S01E01) - Full Episode (48min)


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
Martine Rothblatt


comments

rms on 'Smut in Jesusland: Why Bible Belt States are the Biggest Consumers of Online Porn' (Oct 21, 2014)

instamatic on 'Smut in Jesusland: Why Bible Belt States are the Biggest Consumers of Online Porn' (Oct 21, 2014)

rms on 'Science Fiction and our Dreams of the Future' (Oct 20, 2014)

rms on 'Sousveillance and Surveillance: What kind of future do we want?' (Oct 20, 2014)

dobermanmac on 'Transhumanism and the Will to Power' (Oct 20, 2014)

instamatic on 'Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?' (Oct 18, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?' (Oct 18, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Google’s Cold Betrayal of the Internet
Oct 10, 2014
(7377) Hits
(2) Comments

Dawkins and the “We are going to die” -Argument
Sep 25, 2014
(5522) Hits
(21) Comments

Should we abolish work?
Oct 3, 2014
(4995) Hits
(1) Comments

Will we uplift other species to sapience?
Sep 25, 2014
(4514) Hits
(0) Comments



IEET > Rights > PostGender > Life > Enablement > Implants > Health > Vision > Futurism > Contributors > Dick Pelletier

Print Email permalink (4) Comments (8971) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Brain enhancements will play a major role in determining the future


Dick Pelletier
By Dick Pelletier
Ethical Technology

Posted: Jan 26, 2013

My brain contains approximately 100 billion neurons, each connecting to other nerve cells through synapses. These interactions process signals entering the nervous system, and then produce output responses that stimulate my bodily functions, everything from thinking to walking to kissing.

I compare this to a massive parallel information processing system, similar to a quantum computer. However, if that computer should break down, my life and all its memories could disappear forever.   Therefore, many forward-thinking scientists are looking into solutions that would strengthen the brain by reinforcing its neurons with non-biological neurons made from carbon nanotubes.

These new artificial neurons would not only act as electrical bypass circuitry, giving patients a ‘fail-safe’ system should their brain become damaged, but would also enhance performance of healthy cells, providing ‘superhuman’ brain functions. Thoughts could be processed millions of times faster.

However, two hurdles must be resolved before this futuristic dream can become reality. First, researchers must unravel the mysteries of human consciousness, which experts define as tracking the quintillions of interactions between neurons that give rise to human thoughts and actions. This will require more powerful computing methods – quantum computers – predicted to arrive by mid-2020s.

Second, molecular nanotechnology must be developed to the point where neuron replacement and modification technologies become routine medical therapies.   Positive futurists believe that carbon nanotube-based circuitry will one day enable brain-machine interfaces, which would lead to new neuroprosthetics that can process sight, sound, smell and motion. Such circuits could for instance, veto epileptic attacks before they occur, eliminate all forms of mental disease, perform spinal bypasses around injuries, and repair or enhance normal cognitive functions.

Though many challenges remain before this dream becomes reality, the potential is clear: healing brain diseases, supercharging the intellect of healthy brains and eventually building a human-machine interface that could download super-computer computational abilities directly into our human brains.

Most experts consider the human brain the most complex system in the Universe, however, I believe that this organ will one day be clearly understood and will play a major role in guiding us into what promises to become a truly awesome brain enhancement future. Comments welcome.


Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.
Print Email permalink (4) Comments (8972) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


Dispense with your futile resistance, puny meatsacs; assimilation into the borg shall proceed apace.





“... enhance normal cognitive functions”—I immediately thought “...  replace normal cognitive functions”.  Might I not like that they are replaced with?  Will I notice?  Might I be missing some of the nuance of which I was capable before?  That the future enhanced brain may be more complex doesn’t necessarily mean it will bee preferable—at least not subjectively.





@Kennita,

Brain enhancement referred to in this opinion piece cannot happen until much more is known about human consciousness. What is the mysterious trait that controls so much of our lives?

In addition, molecular nanotechnology must be developed to provide the non-biological neuron replacement materials – probably carbon nanotubes – that because of their tiny size, would allow a substantial increase in number of neurons. This increase would allow much faster processing of thoughts, enabling us to simulate hundreds of alternate choices in a split second of decision-making.

Finally, before anyone would opt to undergo a brain enhancement, the repercussions would need to be clearly understood. We definitely would not want to become a ‘Frankenstein’ character.

Comments welcome.





This is without doubt the key technology that will transform all others.

If the tech can be made to work without destroying our ephemeral, fragile consiousness and functionally inrease our general intelligence then this will pull us out of the tribal-instinctual morass we are all currently wading through with our intellects mostly unawares.





YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Alzheimer’s Diagnosis and Clinical Trials -Heartache and Hope: America’s Alzheimer’s Epidemic

Previous entry: Major Medical Breakthroughs: Past and Future

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376