Can you imagine a manufactured device that can serve as a storage upgrade for your brain? Your memories off-loaded to one or more backup mirrors as needed?
No? Well such a device now appears to be in the human trials phase. According to an article in the Financial Times, our friends at DARPA have completed animal trials and are now embarking on human trials for what is effectively a cognitive prosthesis — brain implants that can accurately translate electrical signals in the brain such as to mimic wetware workflow, thus prepping signals for long term storage. The hope is to restore memory for folks otherwise impaired, which now seems plausible. Clearly the use cases extend far beyond aiding those with brain damage.
If off-loaded memories as such can be stored and accessed reliably, then how can we be from Kurzweil’s dream of complete consciousness migration to non-biological instruments?
If you can imagine some memories off-loaded, then why not all memories?
If you can imagine all memories stored in the cloud, as it were, since memories ostensibly comprise the better part of the “I AM” that is reading this, then why not your fovea of consciousness too?
So is it Kurzweil or Gelernter? I think I’m still in the Gelernter camp — “You can simulate a rainstorm, nobody gets wet.” But DARPA may yet prove Kurzweil’s predictions true.