Monday, December 18, 2006

Computers 'could store entire life by 2026'

Leading computer scientists, psychologists and neuroscientists gathered to debate these issues at Memories for Life, a conference held at the British Library yesterday.

Prof Nigel Shadbolt, president of the British Computer Society and professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Southampton, said: "In 20 years' time it will be possible to record high quality digital video of an entire lifetime of human memories. It's not a question of whether it will happen; it's already happening."


We're laying the groundwork for a "widescreen" version of the "lifebox" envisioned by Rudy Rucker, described here:

Rudy Rucker has a new book on the way that describes a hypothetical device he calls a "lifebox" -- an interactive personal database that can simulate conversation with an individual, whether alive or dead. While the "lifebox" isn't a true "upload" or artificial intelligence, it promises to do a good job of faking it, and may prove to be a popular archival tool for those with the requisite hardware and bandwidth.

In the meantime, we have blogs. Will Rucker's "lifebox" turn out to be the logical outgrowth of online self-publishing? Imagine a near-future Internet populated by thousands or millions of digital doppelgangers able to converse in real-time, sharing information with a warm, seemingly human delivery.

A future incarnation of Posthuman Blues might be able to imitate me so effectively that casual users are unable to distinguish the blog's persona from the actual author. If we reach that level of complexity, there will doubtless be those (possibly including blogs themselves) who maintain that the Web has achieved a sort of sentience, with constituent archived personae vying for human rights . . .

Information wants to be self-aware.


Anonymous said...

Information most certainly does not want to be self-aware. What kind of fallacious nonsense is this?

Armchair Anarchist said...

... constituent archived personae vying for human rights ...

Whether this could actually happen or not is question for far smarter and better-educated tech geniuses than me. But for an excellent and mind-blowing fictional treatment of the idea, try to find a copy of the David Marusek short story 'The Wedding Album'. Having followed Posthuman Blues for a while now, I'm pretty positive that story will throw all your switches.

razorsmile said...

Gordon Bell, ladies and gentlemen.