The idea of transferring a human mind into a computer is hardly a new one, as transhumanists and technologists have hinted at the idea for years. But the limits of humanity's understanding of the brain makes creating an effective interface and storage system that could properly copy a human personality really, really difficult.
However, one Stanford professor thinks we're closer to developing the tech required to transfer a human personality than you'd guess. Sebastian Thrun is a professor of computer science at Stanford, as well as one of the founder of Google X Labs, where Google is testing out a variety of experimental devices. This means that Thrun is often the first person to get his hands on the latest tech developments. Such access led him to tell a crowd at a recent event at Stanford that he believes the technology required to transfer a personality back and forth isn't far off.
"I think we have only scratched the surface of all these technologies. Almost everything of interest has not been invented yet.... Maybe we will reach the point where we will be able to put our personal experiences with a computer and maybe even our personality. Maybe one day we will have a demonstration of a computer that would 'Sebastian,' " says Thrun.
The robotics developer also predicted the arrival of a number of other gadgets, including flying cars, computers that are designed to work inside the human body, and medical treatments that will drastically curb unnatural deaths.
"Thrun was speaking as part of events to mark the premiere of 'The Demo,' an experimental opera about the 1968 data transmission test by scientist Doug Engelbart that helped pave the way for the creation of the Internet," The Daily Mail reported.
It's unclear if these are new gadgets that Google X will pursue in the future, or if these are just things that Thrun wants to see become a reality.