Monday, August 14, 2006
Speculation: perhaps it would be possible to clone a person's brain cells, then keep the cells alive in an artificial environment which might be in the form of a biology-based computer module. This module could, perhaps, be connected to the brain of the person from whom the cells were cloned. After a period of time, when the person had grown used to using these cells integrated with his or her own brain functions, the module might be removed from the person's cortex and slotted into a computer. The cells would continue to be nourished artificially while functioning as a neural net within an electronic computer. The person could gradually have the lobes of his brain replaced with these cloned units until all of his higher brain operations of cognition and sense of self were functioning normally within removable units. If all of the modules were removed at the same time the person's body would only have a vegative life maintained by machines. The brain modules, however, could be slotted into the computer where the consciousness would continue. The person would, I suppose, feel physically numb, having no sensory nervous system. The brain centres where feelings are actually perceived, though, would still be active, feeling perhaps exhilaration (when given direct access to the internet by mind-skype) or horror (when the existential penny drops).