>}} In your opinion, how likely is it that within the next couple of
>}} hundred years we will develop a way of sending and recieving very
>}} specific signals to the brain--signals precise enough to simulate most
>}} of the sensory input we recieve from the world around us.
Well, if one accepts Dennett's analysis of the "Brain in the Vat" as
being essentially impossible due to the "combinatorial explosion"
(Consciousness Explained, pp. 3-7), then probably not. However, let's
take a less ambitious goal. Namely, limited stimulation that gives
an acceptable result. The current state of cochlear stimulation
implants shows we can do that. If the past is prologue, I do not
believe the issue will be a technical one. I'm confident technology
will continue to advance exponentially. So, I would place my bet this
will be done in the next 100 years, assuming we do not actually or
functionally self-distruct as a species. It's an easy bet for me to
make since I won't be around to see it through.
--the ol' professor