Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Peek at Developing Technologies of the Future

Andrew Rosenson, a doctor who heads up Chicago Heartscan, didn't peer so much into the future, but showed us the results of some remarkable recent advances in medical imaging. Combining various imaging technologies, CT scans with PET scans enable physicians and surgeons to precisely isolate areas of disease within a patient's body. Last year, given my family's history of heart disease, I decided to take advantage of this technology by having my heart scanned by a 64-slice CT scanner. Contrary to my critics' views, I do, in fact, have a heart:

Later in the day, Sirius satellite radio founder, Martine Rothblatt, discussed "Cybernetic Biostasis." The idea is that people should be creating digital mindfiles throughout their lives that could be used to revive them by means of mindware when sufficiently strong artificial intelligence is developed. As Rothblatt explained, mindfiles would record aspects of an individual including mannerisms, personality traits, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values. This can be done compiling digital photos and videos, blogs and diaries, the results of psychological testing, and sensecam data. Rothblatt specifically cited the work of information scientist William Sims Bainbridge on personality capture.

To enable the creation of mindfiles, Rothblatt's Terasem Foundation has created the websites, and Cyberev is short for "cybernetic beingness revival."

The Tuesday evening session was devoted to another sort of speculative revival technology, cryonics. Presentations were made by three members of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation.

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