One of the most intriguing topics in life extension is Neuroscience. In this amazing TED talk Sebastian Seung, Professor of Computational Neuroscience at MIT, tells a story about what may actually be our self – the connectome. The term reffers to the entity of all the connections between neurons in our brain.
Professor Sueng is trying to map the incredibly complex network of neurons by analyzing the images of thin slices of the brain and identifying neural patways.
I’d like to draw your attention to a couple of ideas that are bought up by the researcher.
First of all, he mentioned other people saying the task is too complex and it’s basicly impossible to accomplish. There! This is exactly what is constantly happening to people – they loose hope on solving really complicated problems. No wonder radical life extension is considered an impossible task to implement, but in fact it’s not. It’s just nobody takes into account the acceleration of the scientific progress and the exponential growth of knowledge.
Sebastian Seung says: “Some day, a fleet of miscoscopes will capture every neuron and every synapse in a vast database of images. And some day, artificially intelligent supercomputers will analyze the images without human assistance to summarize them in a connectome. I do not know, but I hope that I will live to see that day.” This is one of the technological challenges, but the problem is finite. There is a finite number of neurons in the brain and a finite number of connections between them. I have no doubt that the problem will be solved in the not-very-distant future.
The other issue is the importance of Professor Seung’s work to radical life extension. Consciousness is believed to be determined by the connectome. If we learn how to preserve our it after the death of the body then we basicly can live forever. Possibly, that can be done by uploading it to a computer. Mapping the neuronal network is the first step to preserving the most precious thing we have – our conciousness.