Surgeon boasts that he can do first human head transplant and admits his final goal is immortality

  • Surgeon Sergio Canavero sees ‘no problem’ with wealthy tycoons using the procedure to get a young body in their quest for eternal life
  • Hopes his first patient will be Russian with genetic muscle wasting disease
  • Valery Spiridonov, 30, has volunteered to be a guinea pig, despite the risks
  • Dr Canavero has been called ‘nuts’ by critics who think his plans a fantasy

An Italian doctor has vowed to confound his medical doubters by proving that he can conduct the world’s first head transplant – in less than an hour.

Surgeon Sergio Canavero, who has no problem with anyone branding him Dr Frankenstein, also has not got any qualms with wealthy tycoons using the procedure to get a young body in their quest for eternal life.

He confirmed that he hopes to operate on his first patient, a Russian with a rare genetic muscle wasting disease, and said he will carry out the procedure in China if he is banned from doing so in the EU or former Soviet Union.

Controversial Surgeon Sergio Canavero plans to perform the first ever human head transplant, claiming the country which hosts the operation will be a 'world leader' like the US when it put a man on the Moon

Valery Spiridonov wants to be the first person to undergo a head transplant despite the massive risks so he can have a shot at having a healthy body having suffered from Werdnig-Hoffman disease

Valery Spiridonov wants to be the first person to undergo a head transplant despite the massive risks so he can have a shot at having a healthy body having suffered from Werdnig-Hoffman disease

Dr Canavero says he is ready to be branded a Dr Frankenstein in his attempts to perform the first head transplant. Pictured here is Boris Karolv playing Dr Frankenstein's monster in the 1931 film

Dr Canavero says he is ready to be branded a Dr Frankenstein in his attempts to perform the first head transplant. Pictured here is Boris Karolv playing Dr Frankenstein’s monster in the 1931 film

Potentially he accepts he could be jailed for conducting such an operation in a country where it does not have approval.

‘It’s not a problem. If Europe and Russia say “no”, the surgery will be done in China,’ he said.

‘I’m ready for that. I’ve been studying Chinese for a few years.

‘You should understand that it’s not simply a medical procedure. This surgery has a political meaning.

‘The Soviet Union was the first one to send Yuri Gagarin to space, America was the first on the Moon. The country that hosts head transplant surgery for the first time will become a leader like this.’

But critics say Dr Canavero’s plans are a fantasy. Arthur Caplan, the director of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Centre, has described Dr Canavero as ‘nuts’.

And Dr Hunt Batjer, president elect of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons, has said: ‘I would not wish this on anyone. I would not allow anyone to do it to me as there are a lot of things worse than death.’

Nevertheless severely disabled Valery Spiridonov, 30, a sufferer of Werdnig-Hoffman disease, has volunteered to be a guinea pig, knowing the risks.

He told MailOnline in an exclusive interview earlier this month: ‘My decision is final and I do not plan to change my mind.’

‘Am I afraid? Yes, of course I am. But it is not just very scary, but also very interesting. ‘

This risks appear huge but Dr Canavero insists it would take him less than an hour to put Spiridonov’s head on the body of a donor body.

‘Valery’s head will be cooled to 10-15 degrees Celsius,’ the Italian medic said.

‘That is done in cases of surgery on deep areas of the brain.

‘We will have an hour to ‘switch’ the head to a different body. You need a few minutes to join blood vessels.

‘Valery’s head will be detached from his body and transferred to another one in a matter of seconds, and the brain’s blood flow will start in about 15 minutes.

Dr Canavero giving a presentation on his plans. He claims he has been 'studying Chinese for the past few years' in case he has to perform the operation in China should Europe and Russia say no

Dr Canavero giving a presentation on his plans. He claims he has been ‘studying Chinese for the past few years’ in case he has to perform the operation in China should Europe and Russia say no

‘I will be explaining all the technical peculiarities on June 12 in Annapolis at an international neurosurgeons’ conference.’

This Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons will hear that such surgery is not only possible but imminent, he said.

‘I’ll prove it is totally possible to all the sceptics there.’

He admitted that attaching the head was only the start.

‘The surgery will take a lot of time, the joining process may take up to 18-24 hours,’ he said. ‘Doctors will be taking turns not to get tired.’

He added: ‘Believe me, I receive a lot of queries from surgeons, volunteers from across the globe who’d like to participate in the surgery.

‘If I wanted, I’d be able to have an international team of 150 highly-skilled professionals.’

Asked by newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda on the cost of the first surgery, he replied: ‘Do you love football? I hate it. Nonetheless, you have slackers who meaninglessly stroll around the pitch and are paid $20-30 million a year.

‘I need $15 million. It’s the price for happiness and health for a lot of people. But sponsors prefer spending money on healthy boneheads who can’t kick a ball.’

Asked if such surgery could be used for ‘elderly billionaires to get a young body’, he claimed he had interest from tycoons seeking to extend their lives.

‘You bet – there are a few funds working on prolonging life expectancy, and they are well-funded.

‘These people came to me and said, “here is the money, but we want our participation to stay secret”.

‘However, I want everything to be transparent. Doing the surgery in a secret place on a secret island is not my cup of tea, to be honest.’

He was ready to be branded Dr Frankenstein.

In 1970 Dr Robert White transplanted the head of one monkey onto the body of another, as shown in this diagram. If Mr Spiridonov's head were to be successfully transplanted his jugular vein and spinal cords would have to be similarly fused with those of his new donor body

Dr Canavero has said his new body swap technique could help paralysed people such as Christopher Reeve

Dr Canavero has said his new body swap technique could help paralysed people such as Christopher Reeve

‘I am prepared for any nicknames, because it sounds cool and will help to sell more newspapers.

‘But I am very conservative when it comes to funding.

‘When Bill Gates or Dmitry Itskov (a Russian millionaire supporting the research in artificial intelligence) fund my project, I’ll come to the cameras with the receipt and say, “this person supported my initiative”.’

He went on: ‘I know what I’m for and am prepared for it. I already have an entire army of enemies.

‘But even if I fail with the project, it’ll be a lot easier for those who carry on after me.’

He admitted that ‘the final goal is immortality’ and brushed aside objections from churches.

‘I’m not a Catholic and not even a Christian. But I respect other points of view. And I will listen to what the Orthodox church has to say. But this church has one point of view, and the Catholic – another.’

He claims a senior Catholic figure has said he sees no objections to the surgery, he said, adding: ‘In Asia and China, the religious authorities also haven’t shown any discontent about that. I don’t think the religious aspect will play a huge role.

Dr Canavero, who currently undertakes experimental surgery near Turin, said that he had had ‘many’ offers to be his guinea pig in such surgery.

‘My secretary receives queries from all over the world,’ he said.

‘I won’t disclose the names of other candidates because they have not allowed me to do so.

‘I chose Valery for two reasons. First, he’s brave enough and ready to go till the end.

‘Second, his bravery is based on knowledge, he studied everything the scientists have discovered in the area.

‘This way, I decided, he will be the first one to make history.

‘Other lucky people will get a chance to change their lives after him.’

In his remarkable interview with MailOnline, the would-be patient explained that he had agreed to the surgery because ‘I don’t really have many choices.

Dmitry Itskov, a Russian millionaire who supports research in artificial intelligence. Dr Canavero says he'd love to 'come to the cameras' with a receipt to show he had enlisted Mr Itskov's support

‘If I don’t try this chance my fate will be very sad. With every year my state is getting worse.’

He confirmed: ‘I read many scientific articles on this topic.

‘The idea to transplant not only organs but the head has been studied for a long time even by Russian specialists.

‘But an actual transplantation of the human head was never conducted.

‘I contacted Professor Canavero two years ago after reading about his works. I offered myself to him to make this operation possible.

‘We have never met, and we just communicate via emails.

‘And for the last two years we’ve been talking this idea through and planning the operation.

‘He’s a very experienced neurosurgeon and conducted many serious operations. Of course he has never done anything like this and we have to think carefully all the possible risks.

‘But in the end it is like with astronauts. Before the first man we sent into space, 300 different scenarios of something going wrong were thought through but when he actually did it, it was the 301st scenario that happened.’

He denied his pledge to be a guinea pig is a stunt, and insisted he goes into it with his eyes open.

Severely physically handicapped, he made clear: ‘I do understand the risks of such surgery. Yhey are multiple. We can’t even imagine what exactly can go wrong.

‘I’m afraid that I wouldn’t live long enough to see it happen to someone else.

‘If I want this kind of surgery to happen, I shouldn’t put the responsibility onto someone else but should try it on myself.

‘My family fully supports me. They also understand all the risks, and even if they think that it’s too dangerous, they still support me in my decision.’

Transhumanism: Man’s new quest for immortality

New book: It may be possible, but is it the right thing to do?

Originally Published: 09/21/2014 at 9:09 PM

“You will eat food by the sweat of your brow until you’re buried in the ground, because you were taken from it. You’re made from dust and you’ll return to dust.” (Genesis 3:19, ISV)

Immortality is a condition that has been sought by man ever since the Fall.

Today’s technology, however, would seem to be on the verge of making the dream of immortality a reality. Lifespans have increased over the last century and now medicines hold the promise of making those lifespans even longer. Even now, research is being done to produce nanobots that will heal the body from the inside, correcting defects in the body as they occur, leading to longer, disease-free lives.

Even with these advances, conventional wisdom holds that the mortal body itself can only be kept alive a finite number of years, frustrating the dream of immortality. To try to overcome this obstacle, people are researching the idea of melding man and machine to keep one’s consciousness alive in perpetuity. This concept is called transhumanism.

Transhumanism has been defined as “a cultural and intellectual movement that believes we can, and should, improve the human condition through the use of advanced technologies.” The transhumanism school of thought is decried by most Christians as a dangerous, perverse, technology that would dehumanize mankind while trying to immortalize him.


virtually-human-190A new book, “Virtually Human: The Promise – and the Peril – of Digital Immortality,” explores the concept oftranshumanism. The book, written by MartineRothblatt, delves into the implications of the advent ofcyberconsciousness and what it will mean for the future of humanity. The book explores the implications oftranshumanism on the law, relationships and religion.The material covered in the book originated from a series of meetings Rothblatt hosted between 2003 and 2011 with what was described as some of the top minds in the field. The meetings were also augmented with personal research Rothblatt had done as a human-rights lawyer, medical ethicist, and creator of IT and life-science companies. The notes from the meetings were compiled into a blog titled, “Mindfiles, Mindware and Mindclones.”

From the blog came the book.

The book does not look as much at the technological side of transhumanism, as it does at the implications of the ethical side.

For example, if a person’s mind is uploaded, where is the identity of that person? What are the legal rights of the uploaded consciousness? What happens when the organic person dies?

Rothblatt breaks down these implications as follows:

  • 1. Ethics will dictate that cyberconsciousness with human values and morality be accorded human rights and obligations – lack of a body is differently abled, not sub-human,
  • 2. Techno-immortality will result from the human rights of mindclones – concepts of identity will change,
  • 3. The next demographic transition is toward majority cyberconscious societies – 10 billion is not the ultimate human cyberconscious population, and
  • 4. Two of the most popular professions in the near future will be cyber-psychology and cyberconsciousness law as they will be on the frontlines of society’s effort to separate cyberconscious beings into human and non-human categories, with differential privileges to each.

The main thrust of the book explores the legal aspects of cyberconsciousness: and the legal rights of a mindclone. (A mindclone is a “functional replica [of] yourself that is comprised of all of the digital information you have uploaded into a ‘mindfile,’” for example, information you have uploaded into Facebook, Dropbox, videos, chats, and any other digital reflections you have uploaded into the Cloud or offline onto a hard drive.)

Based on Rothblatt’s research, software will be available within the next 10 to 20 years that will be able to draw out the “consciousness” that is contained within this information. That mindware will then be able to “think and behave” and interact with people very similarly to your natural mind. This mindware would get better as time goes on and more information is uploaded to the file until it is almost indistinguishable from the person.

Rothblatt believes that as the mindclone progresses, it will want to do the same things that organics do; read books, watch videos, and experience things that humans do.

If a mindclone becomes that sophisticated, several legal questions arise: Is the human is responsible for its actions? Could a mindclone hire a lawyer to sue for a distinct identity from the original? Could it become a citizen? Could a mindclone vote and participate in the political process as humans do?

The second ethical issue is that sooner or later the person from whom the mindclone will derive will die. The mindclone may argue that the person did not die; that its consciousness still resides in the clone. Some would argue that the rights of the original person would devolve to the clone.

The third issue Rothblatt sees is one of reproduction. If mindclones do mature and become “sentient,” they will want to reproduce as other life forms do. These mindclones will want to replicate themselves. (The concept of self-replicating machines was made popular in the late 1940s in a series of lectures given by mathematician John von Neumann as a thought experiment.)

In short, what is the ethical and legal status of these new, unique cyberconscious beings?
Rothblatt says that this, too, is not a new condition. Rothblatt postulates “every kind of human that is deprived of human rights eventually agitates for what is rightfully theirs, natural rights. Slaves did. Women did. The paralyzed, paraplegic, and disabled did. Gay people did.” Mindclones would be a natural extension of this struggle.

Many of the rights given to these groups were given by judicial fiat. Rothblatt believes rights for mindclones would need to be codified in law, rather than in the judicial process because, “What a judge giveth, a judge can taketh away. That is a big danger with any rights associated with mindclones.”

The idea of giving non-humans “person status” isn’t a new idea either.

Within the law there are now two definitions of a person. There is the human-born person, and there is now also the legal definition of a corporation as a person. While a corporation cannot vote, it does have other rights accorded to human beings. A corporation can own property and it has First Amendment rights, among other things. It is a person by statue rather than biology with its rights expanded upon by the courts.

What prevents a cyberconsciousness from being declared a person just as a corporation has? Once a statue is in place, the definition and rights of “personhood” given to a mindclone could also be expanded on by the courts.

This concept is not as far off into the future as one would think. As Rothblatt writes: “Websites such as (as in astronaut, but exploring life instead of space) already offer tens of thousands of people uploaded images of their faces displaying a variety of emotions, and the software system behind the website morphs the images into mannerisms.” The software would present “the voice tones and visual representations of the facial mannerisms of humans, whether it’s a high-def human face on a computer screen or an actual 3D-printed replica of a human person like BINA48.”


bina48-350BINA48 is a “proof of concept” prototype that gives a glimpse into what amindclone would look and act like. While some writers have called this device “sentient”Rothblatt says that “Bina48 is close to a sentient being as the thirteen second flight of the Wright Brothers is to a jumbo jet.” After spending three hours with Bina48 in 2011, GQ writer JonRonson described his experience in interacting with themindclone as “not unlike interviewing an intellectually precocious but emotionally andexperientially limited three-year-old.”BINA48 represents the start of a technology that is part of a logical progression of man-machine interfaces that goes back to at least the industrial revolution.

Biblical scholar William Welty disagrees with the very premise of cyberconsciousness. He believes that Rothblatt is confusing hardware and software with an operating system.

A computer consists of hardware, software and the operating system that runs it. In a man, Paul called the components of man, the body, soul, and spirit or the tri-part nature of man. The body is a man’s hardware formed the “dust of the earth,” the soul is his software and the spirit, the breath of life, is his operating system.

Man can replicate the body and soul, but not the spirit, not the operating system. That is in the province of God alone. Ultimately, God is sovereign over Man; we are not sovereign over ourselves. Once a person takes the view that they can re-create themselves, they place themselves in an unrealistic spiritual position and usurp the prerogatives of God. Man’s knowledge, power and ability simply cannot compare to that of the Creator (Job 38:2–5).

Aldous Huxley noted “what science has actually done is to introduce us to improved means in order to obtain hitherto unimproved or rather deteriorated ends.”

The book also states, “The Enlightenment occasioned a redefinition of ‘soul’ from the most enduring part of a person to the most enduring part of the consciousness of a person.” One question it does not answer is if a consciousness can be cloned, can the soul be cloned as well?

To say that a cyberconscious has a soul also begs the questions, “Can a mindclone be saved?” “If it can be saved, then what is heaven and hell, if they exist at all?”

The basic idea of improving the human condition is perfectly compatible with the Bible. In fact, it’s one of the purposes of a Christian lifestyle (“… I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ISV)). Transhumanism contradicts the Bible when it assumes that humanity is completely sovereign and capable of self-directed change without the need for God.

There are some admirable motivations behind transhumanism. For some, the intent is to reduce suffering or improve quality of life. One of the chapters of the book, “G-d and Mindclones” addresses this issue. Rothblatt says “transhumanism is bad no more than a sword is bad or fire is bad … I believe that they are tools. Transhumanism is a whole other set of tools. … In the book, I implore people to get ready for mindclones by being better people right now.”

Rothblatt has now gone on to ventures other than cyberconsciousness, the primary interest now being a project to develop a source of unlimited supply of transplantable lungs.

One of United Therapeutics’ goals is to bring to market a drug to combat the effects of pulmonary hypertension (PH) which manifests itself as an abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. It makes the right side of the heart work harder than normal. Rothblatt’s daughter Jenesis was born with this condition and United Therapeutics was formed to bring an already developed “orphan drug” to market to make it available to the sufferers of the disease.

United Therapeutics was successful in bringing the drug to market, but the only real cure for PH is a lung transplant. No one who has received a lung transplant has ever suffered from a reoccurrence of the disease. However, a severe lack of lung donors is preventing a cure for PH (only about 2,000 per year are available) and those who do get one have to contend with the chronic rejection of the lung.

Given the number of people who need lung transplants, those suffering from PH, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, to name a few, UT is working to provide an unlimited supply of transplantable lungs. One of the ways they are working to develop these lungs is to modify the pig genome so that the aspects of the pig lung that give rise to rejection in humans would be eliminated.

It is Rothblatt’s hope that the work being done with pig lungs could be extended to their hearts, kidneys and livers.

Some of these issues were dealt with recently in the movie “Transcendence.” A plethora of other books have begun exploring transhumanism as actual lab work continues without much concern to the rightness or wrongness.

Transsexual CEO Pushes Transhumanism – Envisions world of cyber clones

Rick Jervis, USA TODAY 6:26 p.m. EDT March 15, 2015

AUSTIN – In a not-too-far-future, robotic mind-clones will accompany us to the ballot box or grocery store, sit in on business meetings we can’t make, argue with us occasionally and keep our essence alive long after we’re gone.

That’s the vision pharma tycoon and futurist Martine Rothblatt shared Sunday with several thousand attendees during one of the more popular events of Day 3 of SXSW Interactive.

“There will be continued advances in software that we see throughout our entire life,” Rothblatt told a packed audience in the cavernous Exhibit Hall 5 during her keynote speech. “Eventually, these advances in software will rise to the level of consciousness.”

Rothblatt is the founder of Sirius Satellite Radio, current chief executive of United Therapeutics and was recently named by Forbes as the highest-paid female CEO in America. She is a transgender activist and a trans-humanist philosopher who believes technology will one day grant humans eternal life.

At the keynote, Rothblatt described how the inevitable emergence of cyber consciousness – when machines act with a sophistication and thought level equal to that of humans – will not be overnight but a more subtle evolution.

“Every company will try to out-Siri Siri until we have consciousness,” she said, referring to the Apple/iOS application that works as a personal assistant and navigator. “It will be like water that rises and rises and rises and, before we know it, we’re in an ocean of cyber consciousness.”

Artificial intelligence and robotics have been key – and controversial – themes at this year’s SXSW. A slew of panel discussions and keynote speeches on the topic have drawn thousands of attendees, while films screening at the film festival portion of SXSW, such as Ex Machina and Creative Control, have addressed it in their plot lines.

The themes have also prompted protests outside the conference warning of an over-reliance on artificial intelligence to the detriment of humans. In one, a group of protestors held signs reading “Stop the Robots” while chanting “A-I Say Goodbye!”

Rothblatt said robots and humans don’t have to choose sides – such as in the plotlines seen in popular Hollywood movies – but will live in a peaceful co-existence that will make them virtually indistinguishable from one another.

“It’s not us versus cyberspace,” she said. “We’re merging together.”

She added: “We don’t want to create a new slave-versus-free motif. I’m all for merging everyone together. On the level of consciousness, we’re all one.”

Rothblatt has applied many of her theories to practical experiments, including creating a lifelike robotic replica of her longtime wife, Bina Aspen. The robot, named Bina48, could answer questions and replies using the real Bina’s characteristics and mannerisms.

Robots in the future will have constitutional rights and even “cyber psychiatrists” who will ease the cyber’s anxiety of not being completely human, she said.

Through United Therapeutics, a company she founded nearly two decades ago to save the life of her daughter, who suffered from a rare pulmonary disease, Rothblatt has overseen advances in organ regeneration and the system used to ferry organs from donor to patient.

As those and other breakthroughs advance, coupled with gains in software and robotics, cyber-technology will continue to push the envelope of human existence, she said. That world, not too far off, will off the chance to keep living well past traditional limits.

“We are the species that keeps pushing further and further and further,” Rothblatt said. “There is no line in the sand at which point human consciousness has to end.”


Nine real technologies that will soon be inside you

9 real technologies that will soon be inside you
9 real technologies that will soon be inside you

Given the frenzy of interest following the announcement of the Apple Watch, you might think wearables will be the next really important shift in technology.

Not so.

Wearables will have their moment in the sun, but they’re simply a transition technology.

Technology will move from existing outside our bodies to residing inside us.

That’s the next big frontier.

Here are nine signs that implantable tech is here now, growing rapidly, and that it will be part of your life (and your body) in the near future.

1. Implantable smartphones

Sure, we’re virtual connected to our phones 24/7 now, but what if we were actually connected to our phones?

That’s already starting to happen.

Last year, for instance, artist Anthony Antonellis had an RFID chip embedded in his arm that could store and transfer art to his handheld smartphone.

Researchers are experimenting with embedded sensors that turn human bone into living speakers.

Other scientists are working on eye implants that let an image be captured with a blink and transmitted to any local storage (such as that arm-borne RFID chip).

But what takes the place of the screen if the phone is inside you? Techs at Autodesk are experimenting with a system that can display images through artificial skin.

Or the images may appear in your eye implants.

2. Healing chips

Right now, patients are using cyber-implants that tie directly to smartphone apps to monitor and treat diseases.

A new bionic pancreas being tested at America’s Boston University, for instance, has a tiny sensor on an implantable needle that talks directly to a smartphone app to monitor blood-sugar levels for diabetics.

Scientists in London are developing swallowable capsule-sized circuits that monitor fat levels in obese patients and generate genetic material that makes them feel “full”.

It has potential as an alternative to current surgery or other invasive ways to handle gross obesity.

Dozens of other medical issues from heart murmurs to anxiety have implant/phone initiatives under way.

3. Cyber pills that talk to your doctor

Implantables won’t just communicate with your phone; they’ll chat up your doctor, too.

In a project named Proteus, after the eensy body-navigating vessel in the film Fantastic Voyage, a British research team is developing cyber-pills with microprocessors in them that can text doctors directly from inside your body.

The pills can share (literally) inside info to help doctors know if you are taking your medication properly and if it is having the desired effect.

4. Bill Gates’ implantable birth control

The Gates Foundation is supporting an MIT project to create an implantable female compu-contraceptive controlled by an external remote control.

The tiny chip generates small amounts of contraceptive hormone from within the woman’s body for up to 16 years.

Implantation is no more invasive than a tattoo.

And, “The ability to turn the device on and off provides a certain convenience factor for those who are planning their family.”, said Dr Robert Farra of MIT.

Gives losing the remote a whole new meaning.

5. Smart tattoos

Tattoos are hip and seemingly ubiquitous, so why not smart, digital tattoos that not only look cool, but can also perform useful tasks, like unlocking your car or entering mobile phone codes with a finger-point?

Researchers at the University of Illinois have crafted an implantable skin mesh of computer fibers thinner than a human hair that can monitor your body’s inner workings from the surface.

A company called Dangerous Things has an NFC chip that can be embedded in a finger through a tattoo-like process, letting you unlock things or enter codes simply by pointing.

A Texas research group has developed microparticles that can be injected just under the skin, like tattoo ink, and can track body processes.

All of these are much wiser choices than the name of a soon-to-be-ex.

6. Brain-computer interface

Having the human brain linked directly to computers is the dream (or nightmare) of sci-fi.

But now, a team at Brown University called BrainGate is at the forefront of the real-world movement to link human brains directly to computers for a host of uses.

As the BrainGate website says, “using a baby aspirin-sized array of electrodes implanted into the brain, early research from the BrainGate team has shown that the neural signals can be ‘decoded’ by a computer in real-time and used to operate external devices.”

Chip maker Intel predicts practical computer-brain interfaces by 2020.

Intel scientist Dean Pomerleau said in a recent article, “Eventually people may be willing to be more committed to brain implants.”

“Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.”

7. Meltable bio-batteries

One of the challenges for implantable tech has been how to get power to devices tethered inside or floating around in human bodies.

You can’t plug them in.

You can’t easily take them out to replace a battery.

A team at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is working on biodegradable batteries.

They generate power inside the body, transfer it wirelessly where needed, and then simply melt away.

Another project is looking at how to use the body’s own glucose to generate power for implantables.

Think the potato battery of grammar school science, but smaller and much more advanced.

8. Smart dust

Perhaps the most startling of current implantable innovations is smart dust, arrays of full computers with antennas, each much smaller than a grain of sand, that can organize themselves inside the body into as-needed networks to power a whole range of complex internal processes.

Imagine swarms of these nano-devices, called motes, attacking early cancer or bringing pain relief to a wound or even storing critical personal information in a manner that is deeply encrypted and hard to hack.

With smart dust, doctors will be able to act inside your body without opening you up, and information could be stored inside you, deeply encrypted, until you unlocked it from your very personal nano network.

9. The verified self

Implantables hammer against social norms.

They raise privacy issues and even point to a larger potential dystopia.

This technology could be used to ID every single human being, for example.

Already, the US military has serious programs afoot to equip soldiers with implanted RFID chips, so keeping track of troops becomes automatic and worldwide.

Many social critics believe the expansion of this kind of ID is inevitable.

Some see it as a positive: improved crime fighting, universal secure elections, a positive revolution in medical information and response, and never a lost child again.

Others see the perfect Orwellian society: a Big Brother who, knowing all and seeing all, can control all.

And some see the first big, fatal step toward the Singularity, that moment when humanity turns its future over to software.

Top Physicist predicts By 2045 ‘The Top Species Will No Longer Be Humans’

  • Jul. 5, 2014, 8:33 AM

terminator red eye rise of robotsTerminator

“Today there’s no legislation regarding how much intelligence a machine can have, how interconnected it can be. If that continues, look at the exponential trend. We will reach the singularity in the timeframe most experts predict. From that point on you’re going to see that the top species will no longer be humans, but machines.”

These are the words of Louis Del Monte, physicist, entrepreneur, and author of “The Artificial Intelligence Revolution.” Del Monte spoke to us over the phone about his thoughts surrounding artificial intelligence and the singularity, an indeterminate point in the future when machine intelligence will outmatch not only your own intelligence, but the world’s combined human intelligence too.

The average estimate for when this will happen is 2040, though Del Monte says it might be as late as 2045. Either way, it’s a timeframe of within three decades.

louis del monteScreenshot Louis Del Monte

“It won’t be the ‘Terminator’ scenario, not a war,” said Del Monte. “In the early part of the post-singularity world, one scenario is that the machines will seek to turn humans into cyborgs. This is nearly happening now, replacing faulty limbs with artificial parts. We’ll see the machines as a useful tool. Productivity in business based on automation will be increased dramatically in various countries. In China it doubled, just based on GDP per employee due to use of machines.”

“By the end of this century,” he continued, “most of the human race will have become cyborgs [part human, part tech or machine]. The allure will be immortality. Machines will make breakthroughs in medical technology, most of the human race will have more leisure time, and we’ll think we’ve never had it better. The concern I’m raising is that the machines will view us as an unpredictable and dangerous species.”

Del Monte believes machines will become self-conscious and have the capabilities to protect themselves. They “might view us the same way we view harmful insects.” Humans are a species that “is unstable, creates wars, has weapons to wipe out the world twice over, and makes computer viruses.” Hardly an appealing roommate.

He wrote the book as “a warning.” Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more capable, and we’re adopting it as quickly as it appears. A pacemaker operation is “quite routine,” he said, but “it uses sensors and AI to regulate your heart.”

A 2009 experiment showed that robots can develop the ability to lie to each other. Run at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems in the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne, Switzerland, the experiment had robots designed to cooperate in finding beneficial resources like energy and avoiding the hazardous ones. Shockingly, the robots learned to lie to each other in an attempt to hoard the beneficial resources for themselves.

“The implication is that they’re also learning self-preservation,” Del Monte told us. “Whether or not they’re conscious is a moot point.”