(Victoria Woollaston) In just over 30 years, humans will be able to upload their entire minds to computers and become digitally immortal – an event called singularity – according to a futurist from Google.
Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, also claims that the biological parts of our body will be replaced with mechanical parts and this could happen as early as 2100.
Kurweil made the claims during his conference speech at the Global Futures 2045 International Congress in New York at the weekend.
Ray Kurzweil – director of engineering at Google – claims that by 2045 humans will be able to upload their entire minds to computers and become digitally immortal – an event called singularity. He made the statement at the Global Futures 2045 International Congress in New York
WHAT IS SINGULARITY?
Technological singularity is the development of ‘superintelligence’ brought about through the use of technology.
The first use of the term ‘singularity’ refer to technological minds was by mathematician John von Neumann. Neumann in the mid-1950s.
He said: ‘ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.’
The term was then used by science fiction writerVernor Vinge who believesbrain-computer interfaces are causes of the singularity.
Ray Kurzweil cited von Neumann’s use of the term in a foreword to von Neumann’s classic The Computer and the Brain.
Kurzweil predicts the singularity to occur around 2045 while Vinge predicts it will happen before 2030.
The conference was created by Russian multimillionaire Dmitry Itskov and featured visonary talks about how the world will look by 2045.
Kurzweil said: ‘Based on conservative estimates of the amount of computation you need to functionally simulate a human brain, we’ll be able to expand the scope of our intelligence a billion-fold.’
He referred to Moore’s Law that states the power of computing doubles, on average, every two years quoting the developments from genetic sequencing and 3D printing.
In Kurweil’s book, The Singularity Is Near, he plots this development and journey towards singularity in a graph.
This singularity is also referred to as digital immortality because brains and a person’s intelligence will be digitally stored forever, even after they die.
He also added that this will be possible through neural engineering and referenced the recent strides made towards modeling the brain and technologies which can replace biological functions.
Examples of such technology given by LiveScience include the cochlear implant – an implant that is attached to the brain’s cochlear nerve and electronically stimulates it to restore hearing to someone who is deaf.
Other examples include technology that can restore motor skills after the nervous system is damaged.
Ray Kurzweil, pictured, said that ‘frail, biological parts’ of human bodies will be replaced with ‘non-biological’ parts in the future. He added that the non-biological part will become so powerful it can completely model and understand the biological part and make it redundant.
Earlier this year, doctors from Cornell University used 3D printing to create a prosthetic ear using cells of cartilage.
A solid plastic mould was printed and then filled with high-density collagen gel.The researchers then added cartilage cells into the collagen matrix.
Kurweil was invited to the conference because he has previously written books around the idea of singularity.
Expanding on this idea Martine Rothblatt, CEO of biotech company United Therapeutics introduced the idea of ‘mindclones’.
These are digital versions of humans that can live forever and can create ‘mindfiles’ that are a place to store aspects of our personalities.
She said it would run on a kind of software for consciousness and told The Huffington Post: ‘The first company that develops mindware will have [as much success as] a thousand Googles.’
Rothblatt added that the presence of mindware could lead to replacing other parts of the body with ‘non-biological’ parts.
During Kurzweil’s conference talk, and in his book The Singularity Is Near, he refers to Moore’s Law of Computing, pictured. The law claims that the power of computing doubles, on average, every two years which puts us on course for singularity by 2045
In this book he discusses immortality and how he believes the human body will develop.
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