Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reasons why you will never store you "mind" online

Dvice blog has postulated that a person's mind will never be "living" online or digitally. There are some good arguments made...I am sure some counters are available as well? So here goes

Even the most reliable service crashes at the most inopportune moment. Without constant "backup" you would be in trouble in short order.

Digital storage media wears out alarmingly fast. Forget thinking.... constant backups, refreshes, and format updates, would be the rule of the day.

Power consumption. Your brain works on 25 watts. As the article states, Google takes 100 megawatts just to do a simple index, imagine what it would take just to power up the processing power of the human brain let alone enough power to let it think?!

Processing power. The brain in theory can do about 10 quadrillion calculations per second, or 10 petaflops. IBM's Blue Gene/P supercomputer has a maximum theoretical limit of around 3 petaflops. But you say...well get three and you have enough...well not really, neuro-scientists now are certain that a neuron does more than just flip on and off to store data, but may in fact process and encode the data which in my mind ups the anti in a BIG way.

People forget that the brain is a management system for the body as well. The nervous system collects data and feeds the brain constant amounts of high bandwidth data every fraction of a second of the day. Without this constant stream of data, the mind soon stops functioning in any useful way. So now we are up to huge data loads, massive processing and unbelievable amounts of power.....

So it soon becomes evident that with all of this infrastructure will not be available, even if it worked, to everyone...wana guess who goes and who doesn't?

soooooooo lets say that all the problems are solved and everyone goes over...who does maintenance? Robots? ok, so who maintains them? and so on .......and we are counting on it all working perfectly forever?

The article really goes a lot more into depth. Read more here over at Dvice


Gary Baker said...

Assuming 'everyone will go over'? That's a bit much in my view. How about starting with the critically ill? Place them in storage until their bodies can be fixed up / renewed. Must beat cryo freezing your head in a jar, surely. If only to avoid the horrendous bed-head.

Beam Me Up said...

As a static backup, I can certainly see it working easier, but still, just looking at the Google example, that is a static index of FAR less data and that uses hundreds of megawatts so a like backup of the human mind puts thousands of megawatts into a static system. Some radical rethinking of the types and uses of backup medium are going to have to be available to even equal the "frozen head" method. Plus we haven't even considered redundancy to protect us from the inherent errors built into the system. Even at 1% redundancy, you are talking about commuting resources at a fabulous rate.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who says anything will "never happen" has not been paying attention.

Beam Me Up said...

Oh that is true enough on the surface. Many things that were said to be "impossible" were often overturned. However if you look at many of the pundits that said NEVAH! were hardly experts in the field or did not have a full grasp of the science involved. Remember some said that trains would never run past a certain speed for health safety. You see it was thought that if a train went faster than the blood in your body traveled you would die of oxygen starvation. In the short term they were right...but still did not have a full understanding of inertia and acceleration. On the other hand, until the tech catches up, many things are "impossible" Going to the moon was not impossible because rocketry wasn't understood, because it plainly was, but because the computer power needed could not be made small enough and light enough. Once that was overcome it was simply a matter of scaling up. (people today still do not realize how many things in the Apollo program were one offs just for that program which later lead to so much innovation!) So what is keeping us from living digitally? Well at this point we just do not have the computer power small enough and efficient enough to do the job. On top of that we are in our infancy in the understanding of the human brain. The difference being is that the scientists saying that it is unlikely to impossible clearly understand the dynamics even if we do not quite grasp the scope. The computer as we know it today just will not do for someone to "exist" on. Our computers are way to "strict". Black and white, either or, on or off, yes or no. There are no maybes. A true human intelligence needs the grays and maybes. Until the quantum computer becomes a reality, I just can not see it happening or any practical reason why it even should. If I were there, I want my flowers all to smell different, the sky a million shades of blue, clouds that can be one thing to me and another to you and everything between the two more than just yes and no