Interesting idea raised by Jimmy in another thread - if an advanced race fully understood their DNA they could recreate themselves as they saw fit. Topic for discussion: What would be the ultimate modifications?
I'm imagining almost all brain, living in an almost indestructible metal shell connected to robotic limbs that could be changed out as necessary. What do YOU think?
They are only electrochemical as they need chemical reactions to produce the electric signal that is transmitted to the brain through the optic nerve.
The chemicals enable awesome (and sometimes unpredictable) complexities in neuronal behavior and interaction between brain parts, whether the chemicals are system-wide (e.g. hormones), at a modular level (e.g. for sensory processing or motor control with feedback), at a cellular level (e.g. when glial cells help mediate a multitude of growth connections between neurons), or at the synapse level where all kinds of analog activity has to happen before a neuron fires off its electrical signal.
So by directly inducing electrical currents we are bypassing a lot of the chemical based processing factors of the brain?
Yes, although I shouldn't have interjected that argument here, in the case of retinal stimulation. There is some chemical/analog processing that occurs between the retina and the optic nerve before electrical pulses are sent to the brain, but those complexities either aren't insurmountable with new technology, or don't matter wrt directly stimulating the retina.
I meant to speak to other processes in the brain where the analog nature of chemical processes drastically complexify its digital nature. The chemical environment of neuronal interactions--especially inside synapses--can vary from one split second to the next.
Nah, it's a good place to bring it up. When thinking about the problem of whether or not we'll ever be able to compute human consciousness, the issue of rather obscure clouds of chemical inhibitors/catalysts has never really entered my mind. It updates my view of the brain from one of very complex circuits to something more like complex circuits governed by a weather system of sorts.
I think modern behaviorceuticals are almost at the point of being able to do this.
Machine/brainwise, an interesting tidbit: The average brain runs on about 30 watts of power. Only recently has a computer been advanced and efficient enough to beat human brains on a TV game show (was it Jeopardy?), and it required 85,000 watts to run, plus extensive internet access.
I often feel that AI designers have all the flaws of the average parent. They want to create a copy of themselves that is by far superior by all benchmarks but which, oddly enough, still takes their commands and respects their authority.
Thought this may be relevant to the topic
There are much better ways of designing a transhuman experience that might allow us to live beyond our bodies. The idea of a simple copy paste falls short. Simply making a copy of your consciousness into some sort of super computer might allow your loved ones to have access to a copy of you after you die - seemingly giving you immortality - but you still die.
That is why I'd never use a Star Trek transporter. The "me" on the other end might look like me and talk like me and have memories like me and be as educated as me, but I don't see how the consciousness would be anything other than a twin of my consciousness, not my exact same consciousness.
@Heather, I don't know about the consciousness part. What you speak of does indeed fall short. Without the senses there would be no consciousness. I wouldn't think. I think that brief article was referring to memory stored in the brain. To add back some of the senses, i.e. sight and sound, motion, pressure sensors, would require peripheral robotic sensors. That's is being entertained also. We could eliminate the pain part.
But it's not just that. If I make a copy of you to an android version of you - then you will still exist concurrently with the android. Now, if I point a gun at your face and tell you I'm going to kill you, will you just be ok with that because there is a copy of you in the android that will go on after I pull the trigger?
Simply making a copy does not allow the original to live on after the destruction of the original - the original still dies.