A question that I have had for a long time now is this- How long could the cells of the brain and nervous system live and perform if they did not
require a human body to sustain them? Depending on the answer, it could have very serious ramifications for the future of humans, technology, and
Death typically occurs when the body can no longer sustain the necessary requirements of feeding the human brain.
But how deeply connected is the brain to the body? Is it possible to remove the human brain and sustain it on a technological life support system?
While we certainly do not have the technology to do this now, I guarantee we will have the ability to do this one day.
Well, the first of my questions has been answered in a sense.
Brain cells shown able to far outlive
the lifespan of their host
The scientists removed embryonic neuron precursors from mice and transplanted them into the developing brain of the longer lived Wistar rat. The
siblings of the donor mice in the study lived an average of 18 months, whereas the Wistar rats lived an average of 30 months and up to 48 months. The
mice neurons were labeled and the rats with transplanted nerve cells were followed for their entire lifespan. It was discovered that the mice neurons
survived for the entire lifespan of the recipient rats, proving that brain cells are capable of far outliving their hosts.
So we have proof of concept. Neuron cells age much slower than the other cells in the body. This opens up a whole new avenue for AI, Robotics, and
Forget uploading your brain into a computer. That is a dream that is unlikely to ever be true. Sure you could copy the exact state of the brain at any
given moment, onto a digital medium. But that DOES NOT mean you are transferring the consciousness out of the body and into the machine. You may have
a good replica of that personality, but these two systems would quickly diverge as a different set of experiences and perspectives drive this
"feed-back loop" in different directions.
Here is my idea. I must warn you it is very different, futuristic, and not likely to come true for a very long time.
From the movie Avatar
When people reach an old age, give them the option to continue helping humanity and take part in this great experiment. The brain could be extracted
from the body and then networked into an artificial robotic body (avatar). The nerve inputs for, say the eyes, can easily be synchronized with the
visual input of the robot. And so forth with the arms, legs, ect. Through the wonders of wireless networking, the human brain could be maintained in
an embryonic type environment, provided artificial blood, while remotely controlling a robot. From the conscious perspective of the human brain, they
would feel as if they were in the body of the robot. They would not sense the fact that their brain is floating in this embryonic medium (the brain
has no sense of feeling), their entire experience would be fed to them from their avatar.
Forget AI and the risk of a hyper-intelligent race of machines destroying the planet, a la terminator. Our robots could controlled by homegrown
organic humans. This would also give another avenue for extreme longevity which has been a wish for many people.
We know it is possible to interface man and machine.
quadrapalegic controls robot arm through brain interface
Scary? Maybe. Possible? Yes! Will it happen? It's more likely than you think.
Imagine if the minds of our greatest scientists, philosophers, and engineers could continue helping the human condition for an additional 200 years?
How effective, capable, and intelligent could these minds become after centuries of work and understanding? What if our first explorers into other
star systems could be these individuals, rather than attempting to transport a living body across these distances. I am only touching upon a few
possibilities. I am sure the members of ATS can come up with many more.
edit on 2/27/2013 by VonDoomen because: (no reason given)
edit on 2/27/2013 by VonDoomen because: (no