2.27.2004

THE FUTURE

Cool news.
Researchers at the University of Calgary have found that nerve cells grown on a microchip can learn and memorize information which can be communicated to the brain.

"We discovered that when we used the chip to stimulate the neurons, their synaptic strength was enhanced," said Naweed Syed, a neurobiologist at the University of Calgary's faculty of medicine.

The nerve cells also exhibited memory traces that were successfully read by the chip, said Syed, co-author of the landmark study published in February's edition of Physical Review Letters, an international journal.

The immediate uses involve coordinating a human brain with artificial devices like appendages or optics, to replace body parts that do not function correctly. But this is just the beginning. Instead of implanting these devices into an organic body... perhaps someday we may choose to transplant (download) our brain's electro-chemical pattern into a database, somewhat similar to Phillip Dick's half-life solution to physical death. In other words, when we get to the point where we can no longer extend our physical body's lifespan, we may choose to download ourselves to a database. Our physical body will be gone, but our loved ones will still be able to communicate with us via a database interface. Or when our physical bodies fail, we may choose to clone a new body and download ourselves into a new body. Hence, extending our lives indefinitely.



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