What Will the Human Brain of the Future Look Like?


Due to rising interest in artificial intelligence research, I have been pondering this question lately and wanted to share some views on this subject. I think the question is actually rather, what might the human ‘mind’ of the future look like? These questions originated from observations and theoretical findings about science and the ideas from highly specialized fields like: bioengineering, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, computational hardware architecture, visual arts, industrial design, philosophy and psychology.

The transfer of minds into computer-based systems has been referred to as “uploading.” However it was found that those hoping to advance this field of research seem to use the term ‘Advancing Substrate Independent Minds’ (ASIM), to emphasize a more scientific, and less science-fiction approach to creating emulations of human brains in non-biological substrates. The term ASIM captures the fact that there are several ways in which hardware and software may be used to run algorithms that mimic the human brain, and that there are many different approaches that can be used to realize this end goal.
As an ongoing initiative of my blog, I would like to keep you aware of current projects in this field. The following are just a sampling of initiatives that explore brain engineering and physiological simulations, as well as memory storage and brain health:

The Blue Brain Project is an attempt to reverse engineer the human brain and focuses on creating a physiological simulation for biomedical purposes.

• Neuro suspension through cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of the human brain. Cryoprotectants are used to reduce crystallization of brain cells. The process for cooling the brain is called vitrification.

• There are projects working to build an anatomically detailed and physiologically accurate large-scale model of the nervous system.

The Neural-Prosthetic Program researches experimental and theoretical approaches to develop models of mammalian neural systems. The focus is currently on the hippocampus (learning and memory).

The Connectome Project represents emerging field called “connectomics” and attempts to physically map all synaptic connections between neurons in the mammalian brain and its neural circuits that collect, process, and archive information contained in the nervous system.

The Brain Preservation Project has a three-fold purpose: (1) to develop progress in connectomics, plastinating, and scanning animal brains in order to develop deeper understanding of healthy and disordered mental behavior; (2) to preserve memories and experiences of animals; (3) to aid to the project of continued life by working with other technologies, such as AGI and nanomedicine.

Reconstructing Minds Project. Project suggests reconstructing minds from software mind files. The subproject is CyBeRev Project, which provides an opportunity for people to take a first step in preserving their identity.

Despite the fundamental differences in how computers and minds work, with enough computing power, all the ordered chaos and minute details of the human mind could theoretically be approximated well enough to function like one.

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4 Comments

Filed under Neuroscience

4 responses to “What Will the Human Brain of the Future Look Like?

  1. Refreshing article, glad you used the term ‘Advancing Substrate Independent Minds’ (ASIM).

    I am a bit biased with this article because I favor computers, AI and neuroscience to gerontology but I think I advertise more anti-aging progress than the other topics mentioned.

    I think a very important factor with the success of anti-aging researches is the people’s awareness that aging is a disease.

    Great article with good links to great projects that are, to say the less, fascinating!

  2. Tyler Chesley

    ASIM is the Holy Grail of us technophiles. I get a nerdgasm reading about this shit.

    I thought I would mention this organization I ran across a couple weeks ago.

    http://www.carboncopies.org/

    I also see plastination presented as a brain preservation method on the cheap. I’m interested to see if plastinated brains have high enough fidelity to be replicated in another medium.

    There was an article in H magazine with some the philosophical objections to mind uploading. I’m a little skeptical of the idea myself. I have no problem with the idea of simulating a brain but whether this is actually you is a different question.

    BTW your English is very good. I wish my Russian was half that good.

  3. A human (homo sapient) brain (i.e. that part of the central nervous system that is located within the skull) maybe augmented mechanically or biologically. My suspicion is that it will be augmented mechanically way sooner than biologically (although there is interesting work being done now using stem cells to help the brain recover from a stroke http://singularityhub.com/2010/11/22/scotland-injects-stem-cells-into-mans-brain-to-heal-stroke-damage/ ).

  4. I love technology and I consider this realm of research worthwhile with potential helpful outcomes for the better of man. Nevertheless, it reminds me of something I wrote in a play entitled “The Pit: The Road To Salvation”. In it I make the claim that ‘the human mind has the potential to act like a runaway train; with you very soul as a captive passenger’!
    Blessings to each of you ‘very smart’ folks!!

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