Is it possible to live forever? It is certainly very difficult to maintain the human body young and healthy for very long, but what about the brain? Or, more precisely, the contents of the brain? We could assume that our memories, thoughts and beliefs – something that, for the most part, builds our consciousness and makes us who we are – are a kind of data stored in our brains. What if there was a way to transfer these data to a computer?
According to Dr. Hannah Critchlow, a neuroscientist at Cambridge University, people could live forever through converting their brain into a program code. In essence, this would allow us to “live inside a machine” – something similar to what we have seen in recent sci-fi movies such as Transcendence. However, it could be feasible only as soon as a computer capable of supporting 100 trillion circuit connections is created.
Dr. Critchlow made this statement at the Hay Festival which took place the previous week in Wales. Speaking of the way the human brain works, she compared it to a complex circuit board.
“We are about 100 billion nerve cells and the most complicated circuit board you could imagine,” she said.
This comparison has to do with the fact that the processes occurring in the brain involve an enormous amount of neural connections, just like a computer’s work is based on electric circuits. “If you had a computer that could make those 100 trillion circuit connections – then that circuit is what makes us,” Dr. Critchlow said.
The neuroscientist also spoke of the common myths about the human brain, and, in particular, the 10 percent one. It’s not that we only use 10 percent of our brain capacity, she said, it’s that most of the time, our brains are running in idle mode in order to save energy. In fact, despite taking up only 2% of the body’s mass, the human brain consumes about 20% of all energy! That’s why not all areas of the brain are active all the time – most of them are ‘powered’ only when being used.
At the same time, the myth about left-handed people being more creative does have some scientific evidence behind it, Dr Critchlow said. It has to do with the brain hemispheres – the right one is associated with creativity and is more developed in left-handed people. A recent study found that the electrical stimulation of the right hemisphere can increase creativity. Moreover, there are even some hat-like devices with electrodes to stimulate this area that can be bought online for about $80.
As for eternal life through brain uploading, with the continuous progress in neuroscience and technology, this possibility is not as remote as it may seem. Well, even if technological immortality becomes a reality one day, I’m not sure if I would like to try it myself. What about you? Would you like to live forever? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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