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In Pictures: Science vs. fiction: 15 sci-fi techno...
Digital mind transfer
The idea of digitizing a human consciousness is a common theme in both the sci-fi subgenre of cyberpunk and the transhumanist school of thought. The gist: Copy the brain -- on the molecular level -- to a sufficiently advanced computer system, and you'll have a potentially immortal brain, without the troublesome mortal body. Richard K. Morgan's 2002 novel Altered Carbon imagines a future in which people are regularly digitized, transmitted to other planets, then decanted into new bodies. The upcoming Johnny Depp film Transcendence deals directly with the issue of mind uploading. Scientists have developed limited artificial neural networks based on insects and rodents, and several research groups are dedicated to advancing the cause of digital immortality.
In Pictures: Science vs. fiction: 15 sci-fi technologies that are (almost) here