Cerebral Downloading??

Richard S. Norman rnorman at umich.edu
Sun Dec 29 10:35:13 EST 2002


On Sat, 28 Dec 2002 19:12:32 -0600 (CST), mrdoubter at webtv.net wrote:

>I belive this is possible as I belive just about any damn thing is
>possible but let me ask anyone actually in the neuroscience field what
>they think.
>If a clone was accomplished and then kept in suspended animation for say
>15 years, is it theoretically possible that the cerebral contents of an
>80 year old person (one's entire life and memories) could be
>successfully downloaded by some means into that new and fresh clone
>brain? This is the vision of the Raelians and myself (I am not a
>Raelian). Never mind that it can't be done this minute (and please
>assume that all procedural failings would have been 'fixed') but I am
>speaking of the near future, perhaps within 20 years. If not, why not?
>Gracias.
>
>mr D

Not a chance.

We don't have a clue as to how mental events, learnings, memories,
hopes, dreams, etc are encoded in physical brain form.  (OK, we do
have some clues, but no real results).  Furthermore, even if we did
understand how changes in neuronal connectedness and details of
presynaptic and postsynaptic functioning correspond to mental events,
we don't have a clue as to how to actually record or detect these
features except perhaps for synapses counted by ones and twos, not by
the billions.  Finally, even if we could "read out" the information
from one brain, we don't have a clue as to how to insert the same
information into another brain which would necessary be composed of
rather different numbers of neurons connected in rather different
ways.

Further, a clone is not a carbon copy of the original.  It is simply
an organism with the same genetic information.  How that information
gets expressed to produce a functional organism is still subject to
enormous environmental variation.  Identical twins are clones, yet
have different fingerprints.  That is, random variations in the
environment within a distance of a millimeter or less cause random
variations in the print pattern.  Similar random variations within a
distance of a millimeter or less would cause enormous differences in
neuronal connectivity.





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