This week I browsed, (can't call it reading) through an article on Linkedin about interview questions. There are many such articles. It's a form of entertainment I guess, because I don't see the value of it. Anyway, one of the questions was “who is your idol?”. I had to smile, tried to think of one, and came up with Robin Hood! Tell that to your future boss! It's not the whole story of course. It never is. My first Robin Hood was a fox and King John was a mean lion.

 

Prince Valiant by Harold FosterFunny characters. But I had also other heroes. My father's history books were full of them. Knights in shining armor like King Arthur, Sir Lancelot and Prince Valiant (A comic book character). Sea heroes like Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, Admiral Tromp, and Robert Surcouf (A French privateer). Or from Greek mythology Ulysses, Hercules, Jason and Perseus. Ooh, and I should not forget about my pop idols. There were many. From Chuck Berry to Lady Gaga, with a strong accent on what we call classic rock nowadays. Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones. Super rock formations! All heroes to me.

 

Then there are the heroes of science. Einstein, Bohr, Darwin, LaPlace, Lavoisier. They are people who made the world into what is today. You learn about them in class and think that's great!! Ooh, we also have Dutch heroes of painting. Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Vermeer, Escher, Van Gogh, Magritte, Ruysdael and Rubens.

I should not forget my space heroes! Buck Rogers, Dr Who, John Koenig (space 1999), Captain Apollo and Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica), Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones, Jean Luc Picard, Captain Sisco. Yes I am a trekkie! Love also starwars. Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were everyone's hero when the first movie came.

 

Richard FeymanAs you are confronted by these people you see inspiration. All of them kindle some flame that is within you. And they they highlight a diFrom the top clockwise Rembrandt, Escher, Van Gogh, Vermeer, Bruegel, Rubens, Horta, Magritte.fferent aspect of yourself in the current phase of your life.Robin Hood gives you a sense of fairness, King Arthur and his knights a sense for justice and romance. The artists instill the rhythm and beauty of life. The mathematicians and physicists give you an inkling about how the universe works. The heroes of future can make you think about what mankind can achieve.

My heroes change also. Even I still admire Einstein I have begun to like Richard Feyman maybe even more. A colorful man who paid his own bills because he could not stand to fill a form for every trip he made. He got stoned, played music in a night club and was the architect of Quantum Electro Dynamics! Wonderful character! And Richard Dawkins replaced Darwin himself. I admire that totally British style of his. The way he can poke fun of his opponents is really incredible. So Dawkins is a hero, even though he is sometimes a bit fanatic about his atheism.

Now that my heroes have changed, developed to a new stage or sometimes been dumped and replaced by others. That's good. It's reflects the ever changing nature of your own development. My heroes will accompany me. All my life.

I am currently reading Michio Kaku's book “Future of the mind”. Michio Kaku is a string field theory physicist who has written a lot of books on the future of science. Since the future is fluid and notoriously hard to predict we are always in doubt whether any claims about can be taken seriously, but Kaku does his best to give his statements some foundation. He talks to fellow scientists in the field who tell him what is already possible and what lies immediately ahead. That's the easy part. It's of course much harder to predict what lies further around ahead of us. Maybe not so much the technology itself as the way it will come to us and how it will be applied.

Technology to duplicate the brain is still far away. A simulation of a single brain takes the energy of a small nuclear reactor while your own can run a hamburger or a pizza. Recording memories is easier and more practical in the short term. It needs a lot of work. You have to make a MRI scan of a brain every time you show a character, word or a picture. But it is possible. With that information at hand you can do a lot of things. I for instance would love to have memories implemented that give me command of Finnish language. You could have whole skill sets downloaded into your wetware making teaching as a process obsolete. However it does not mean you can be instantly transformed into a superman. If your physical possibilities don't match the new skills it will be useless anyway. Of course you can record your own memories for posterity. Or record them to be sold as a kind of Hollywood movie. The stars of the future can create their own virtual reality this way. What it will do to you is open question. Will you become addicted to these fake memories? Will you make a few of your own? What if someone invades your mind and forces fake memories on you? Traumas that paralyze you or drive you to do things you would never have considered to do otherwise? There is a dark side to this technology that makes me uncertain if I like to be around when it comes. And yet I have no doubt it will come.

storing_memoriesBack to the technology of duplicating minds. It's the hardest part, but in a way the most interesting one. It will start with attempts to create a backup of your own mind. A backup that can be restored in case of emergency. For instance when somebody throat is cut and he dies before the ambulance can come. It is possible to repair the body, but usually not the mind. However, with the backup we can do it. Of course the victim will only have memories from the time that the last backup was made so it would be nice if the backup was fairly recent. This might induce people to backup themselves regularly. Say once a week, or when storage space and energy consumption allow every day. I can also imagine that people don't want to delete their backups. After all these are ultimate selfies. I can imagine that before long people make a selfie every day of their lives from birth to death. The mind library on which the selfies are stored does not need to be earth. The moon is maybe a better place, because it has plenty of energy from the sun and storage space. What do we do with all those selfies? Suppose I have 40.000 days to live and a selfie is taken every day. There are Jos-1, Jos-2, Jos-3 ….Jos-40000 in the mind library. They are all Jos but in different stages of life in different circumstances. If they are in the mind library lying passively as recorded data they might be consulted as a kind of archive at best, but things change if selfies can actually have an own life in the mind space.

The bold and the beautiful

How would the bold and beautiful look like when there are 40.000 copies of Ridge and Brooke each! Some might like each other, some hate each other, and some might even want to kill each other. If one of the Brooke copies kills a Ridge will only that copy be held responsible? Might it be so that also others are punished in order to prevent repetition? Relationships can be a mumbo- jumbo without any limits. The number of copies in the mindspace will just grow. You could have a relationship with your great-great-great grandmother. After all in the mindspace you don't grow really old. You just are.

How will society look like in these circumstances? The glorious leader of North-Korea could create 50 million copies of himself to keep track of his corporeal slaves. Other members of the elite might have several copies of themselves while others have none. In democratic societies there are also problems. Do the rich, famous have more copies than anyone else? Is it one copy one vote? Or one personality one vote? Or are the concepts of democracy versus dictatorship not valid any more when society becomes a fluid form of deeply interconnected entities?

Conquer space with our minds

When this happens it is also a time for serious space exploration. Instead of beautiful romantic startrek spaceship we will send a black rock into space. It will contain our minds and some equipment to build a home for new minds. There will be no need for windows, screens or computer consoles. There will be no need to go through great lengths to keep human bodies alive in space. No need to make planets suitable for colonization. What you need is just a sturdy storage of minds that can withstand enormous acceleration towards light speed. This is way we will eventually travel towards the stars. It's the way advanced brain technology will open up for us.

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