"'Transhumanists' are planning to upload your mind to a memory stick…"-- London Telegraph

I'll leave you to the full article (link is below), but here are a couple of excerpts to give the flavor of the Transhumanist concept:

 "As the name implies, Transhumanists are people who want us to become "beyond human". It’s an umbrella term for a broad family of ideas united by the vision that technology now, or at least soon will, allow us to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.  That means everything from bionic limbs to uploading our entire brains on to memory sticks and carrying them around with us as back-up."

 Well, while there are times I'd like to have my, uh--what's the word? Ah, memories!-- on a stick, the reality is I'd probably forget where I put it.

Here's another excerpt, this looking at some of the down-sides:

"The whole project throws up very difficult ethical and philosophical challenges. Is an uploaded mind still human? Should we give "human rights" to an artificial intelligence with a superior intellect to a human? Then there’s the bread-and-butter social problems. Presumably, human enhancement technologies would be disproportionately available to those with greater financial resources, creating a genetic divide. And if you lived forever, are you taking up the place of another generation? What about the more mundane things: what would be a fair prison sentence for murder if we could all live for 200 years? Or the right retirement age. I’m guessing it won’t be 70 if we can all make thirty score and ten. Above all: are we happy about all of this, and can we stop it?"

Here's the link to the Telegraph article.   It's by Jamie Bartlett, Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think tank Demos.

"Mind reading" is no longer a dirty word in the field of science.

A few days ago here we posted " A step closer to mind-reading technology"  about an experiment at Duke in which electrodes were implanted in the brains of two rats, one at Duke, the other in South America.  The research indicated that the rat with the "encoder" was able to send signals through the ether to the guy with the "decoder."  Granted, those signals were enhanced, not just electrode to electrode.

But it -- and much other research -- is making that point that brain waves or signals can be transmitted outside the skull: transmitted and read.

Now back in the old days, before all this, that was termed "mind reading", "telepathy", and "allegedly psychic".  Bad words all, leaving bad tastes in the mouths of "true" scientists.

But now "real" scientists are exploring.  I'm short of time today, so I'll just post the links to a pair of intriguing articles

In Slate we have "Telekinesis without the woo: how people move things with their minds"

And in Salon "Mind reading is possible!"      (That's an excerpt from a book THE BRAIN SUPREMACY: NOTES FROM THE FRONTIERS OF NEUROSCIENCE by Kathleen Taylor, published by--get this-- Oxford University Press.) Link to the book on Amazon


(1)   A report on work at the University of Michigan :   Non  -invasive brain implant could somedday translate thoughts into movement"   "BioBolt does not penetrate the cortex and is completely covered by the skin to greatly reduce risk of infectionResearchers believe it's a critical step toward the Holy Grail of brain-computer interfacing: allowing a paralyzed person to "think" a movement.

(2)  And from research at Brown University, in the same general track:  "This wireless brain implant could make telekinesis a reality"

Note, however, that the Brown work involves going into the skull to perform the implant. "The purpose of the project was to develop a neural interface device that could eventually help amputees, spinal cord injury victims, and those living with severe neuromotor disease (like Parkinson's) overcome their physical limitations. The challenge, however, was in developing a system that's safe, effective — and durable. Brain implants are not the kind of thing physicians want to be implanting and extracting on a regular basis."

So far, the experiments have been on animals.  (George Dvorsky authored that article in io9)

Granted, these are all different aspects of what I'm broadly terming "mind reading," close enough to get us started.  More another time.

"Red wine in a pill"-- will it slow aging?

According to London's DAILY MAIL, the pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline is testing synthetic versions of resveratrol, which is found in red wine, and seems to have the effect of reversing the aging process, even serving as an anti-aging method.

Why, you  might ask, bother with developing a "quasi- red wine" pill?  Why not just drink the red wine itself?  Because you would have to drink something on the order of 15,000 glasses per day.  (This not from the Mail, rather via my memory from another article I can't put my finger on at the moment.)

Back to the Mail: "The work proves that a single anti-ageing enzyme in the body can be targeted, with the potential to prevent age-related diseases and extend lifespans."

Sounds great.  But then some of the reader follow-ups raise another side: (a) what if a miracle drug--this or another--extends human life, but doesn't really help the ills of aging: creaky joints, wrinkled skin, memory and eye problems?

And (b) where will the 150-year olds live, given the continuing influx of "young-uns."

And a point I didn't see in those viewer comments but is raised in my technothriller A REMEDY FOR DEATH: Playing God with Body, Soul, and Bio-tech-- what if this breakthrough is reserved only for the elite?  That is, the super-rich, powerful political types, and those who are willing to play along, follow the elites' orders, do whatever?