April 29 2008 / by futuretalk
Category: Health & Medicine Year: General Rating: 8 Hot
By Dick Pelletier
Neurons made from exotic nanomaterials could one day enable humans to survive even the most horrendous accidents, and as a bonus, provide some amazing new abilities.
Nano-engineer John Burch, co-designer of the nanofactory video, “Productive Nanosystems: from Molecules to Superproducts,” believes that by as early as the 2030s, we could be replacing our brain cells with non-biological nanotech materials that process thoughts faster, and is nearly indestructible.
“The new brain would include an exact copy of our memories and personality that existed before we converted”, Burch says, “but it would run millions of times faster and would increase our memory a thousand fold. In addition, this futuristic brain will allow us to control the speed of our thoughts; we could jump from 100 milliseconds, the response time for biological cells, to 50 nanoseconds – 20 million times faster”.
Creating thoughts at this speed would, in our mind at least, slow the world down by a factor of 20 million. Our perception would speed up, but physics limits how fast we can move, so to us, the world would seem to slow as our brain ran faster. Think of what this means. In an emergency, we would have time to think and plan. Events that seem like hours to us would actually be happening in a split second. (cont.)
Burch describes the following procedure to ‘switch’ over to the new brain: a daily pill would supply the body with nanomaterials and instructions for nanobots to format the new neurons – one-by-one – and position them next to existing biological brain cells to be replaced. These changes will be unnoticeable in our mind, but in just six months, we will be enjoying the benefits of the new brain.
Since nanotech brain cells are smaller than their organic counterparts, there’s plenty of room to add more memory. This would provide many new features and benefits; we could access the Internet with just our thoughts, install backup units to replace failing neurons, and understand and speak another language, or master a complex subject without need to study.
Neurons made from powerful nanotech materials will be nearly indestructible compared with biological brains. Should a converted person die in an accident, their body may be a total loss, but the new brain could even survive an explosion and quickly regain all functions. Biological brains die within minutes after the heart stops; our new brain simply turns itself off and waits for a new power supply.
All memories would remain intact after a fatal accident. Rescue workers would remove the brain from the deceased body and reinstall it into a newly-cloned body. The patient would ‘wake up’ in their new body and resume life as if nothing happened. Of course one might feel depressed over dying, but this could be offset with happiness of experiencing life in a new, upgraded body.
As non-biological brains become affordable, some may want to swap their body for a new one with improvements – like intelligent immune systems, diamond-reinforced bones, and skin that changes color on demand.
Though some may view this technology as distorting our view of what it means to be human, others, including this writer, believes that brain replacements bring us one-step closer to a ‘magical future’.