Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First mind uploading proposal, 1971

Dr. George M. Martin is not as well known as some of today's leading futurists, such as Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge, but some of his futuristic predictions are quite similar and predate those of Kurzweil and Vinge. For example, in 1971 Dr. Martin described the importance of exponential growth in science and, based on the continuation of such a trend, he outlined a hypothetical proposal for achieving "immortality" through a process now described as mind uploading:

We shall assume that developments in neurobiology, bioengineering and related disciplines… will ultimately provide suitable techniques of 'read-out' of the stored information from cryobiologically preserved brains into nth generation computers capable of vastly outdoing the dynamic patterning of operation of our cerebral neurones. We would then join a family of humanoid 'post-somatic' bio-electrical hybrids capable of contributing to cultural evolution at rates far exceeding anything now imaginable.

Martin GM (1971). "Brief proposal on immortality: an interim solution". Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 14 (2): 339. PMID 5546258