My friend Trevor has an intriguing post about methods of mapping the brain. This is of interest to me because of how I have been reading “The Singularity is Near” by Ray Kurzweil. Trevor talks about research into “seeing” water flow in the brain, as opposed to glucose or electrical signals or bloodflow. It’s a really cool idea to help understand how the brain works and how it could help humans relate to the world around them.
So why am I interested in the brain? Well, as Ray says, mapping the brain will result in technology beyond anything we could ever imagine for future technology. Using the biologically evolved model of the brain will allow us to leap past prior research in digital and analog technologies to create more advanced computers sooner. This will eventually allow for humans to choose to either become hybrid (biological/machine) beings or even completely machine beings, with transferred knowledge from the biological counterparts. This is also the idea he refers to as “The Singularity”…when human intelligence is surpassed by machine intelligence and machines begin to evolve on their own. Not to worry, he also claims that the machines will consider us “their biological forebears” and they will respect us (and not dominate us and turn us into batteries).
For more reading on/by Kurzweil, be sure to check out The Law of Accelerating Returns, upon which he bases many of his arguments. Some of the ideas he has are pretty radical and optimistic, but they are definitely possible in this lifetime. If you’re not interested in that, make sure you read Trevor’s post (or an part of his blog), it’s quite intriguing.