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Archive for the ‘life extension’ category: Page 458

Feb 17, 2011

The Global Brain and its role in Human Immortality

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, complex systems, futurism, life extension, neuroscience

It would be helpful to discuss these theoretical concepts because there could be significant practical and existential implications.

The Global Brain (GB) is an emergent world-wide entity of distributed intelligence, facilitated by communication and the meaningful interconnections between millions of humans via technology (such as the internet).

For my purposes I take it to mean the expressive integration of all (or the majority) of human brains through technology and communication, a Metasystem Transition from the human brain to a global (Earth) brain. The GB is truly global not only in geographical terms but also in function.

It has been suggested that the GB has clear analogies with the human brain. For example, the basic unit of the human brain (HB) is the neuron, whereas the basic unit of the GB is the human brain. Whilst the HB is space-restricted within our cranium, the GB is constrained within this planet. The HB contains several regions that have specific functions themselves, but are also connected to the whole (e.g. occipital cortex for vision, temporal cortex for auditory function, thalamus etc.). The GB contains several regions that have specific functions themselves, but are connected to the whole (e.g. search engines, governments, etc.).

Some specific analogies are:

1. The Broca’s area in the inferior frontal gyrus, associated with speech. This could be the equivalent of, say, Rubert Murdoch’s communication empire.
2. The motor cortex is the equivalent of the world-wide railway system.
3. The sensory system in the brain is the equivalent of all digital sensors, CCTV network, internet uploading facilities etc.

If we accept that the GB will eventually become fully operational (and this may happen within the next 40–50 years), then there could be severe repercussions on human evolution. Apart from the fact that we could be able to change our genetic make-up using technology (through synthetic biology or nanotechnology for example) there could be new evolutionary pressures that can help extend human lifespan to an indefinite degree.

Empirically, we find that there is a basic underlying law that allows neurons the same lifespan as their human host. If natural laws are universal, then I would expect the same law to operate in similar metasystems, i.e. in my analogy with humans being the basic operating units of the GB. In that case, I ask:

If, there is an axiom positing that individual units (neurons) within a brain must live as long as the brain itself, i.e. 100–120 years, then, the individual units (human brains and, therefore, whole humans) within a GB must live as long as the GB itself, i.e. indefinitely.

Humans will become so embedded and integrated into the GB’s virtual and real structures, that it may make more sense from the allocation of resources point of view, to maintain existing humans indefinitely, rather than eliminate them through ageing and create new ones, who would then need extra resources in order to re-integrate themselves into the GB.

The net result will be that humans will start experiencing an unprecedented prolongation of their lifespan, in an attempt by the GB to evolve to higher levels of complexity at a low thermodynamical cost.

Marios Kyriazis
http://www.elpistheory.info