On the Way To Replacing the Brain

If we are going to replace the brain for the long term, it will be slowly, neuron by neuron, with something more durable. The first, early steps on the path to the necessary technology are already underway, as reported in Popular Science: "The chip's ability to converse with live cells is a dramatic first step, he believes, toward an implantable machine that fluently speaks the language of the brain - a machine that could restore memories in people with brain damage or help them make new ones. Remedying Alzheimer's disease would, if Berger's grand vision plays out, be as simple as upgrading a bit of hardware. No more complicated drug regimens with their frustrating side effects. A surgeon simply implants a few computerized brain cells, and the problem is solved. ... I don't need a grand theory of the mind to fix what is essentially a signal-processing problem. A repairman doesn't need to understand music to fix your broken CD player. ... What the chip is saying is anyone's guess - the content of the conversation is beside the point ... It's straight mechanic-talk from the man who has created a prototype of the world's first memory implant, basically a hardware version of the brain cells in your hippocampus that are crucial to the formation of memory. The chip is meant to replace damaged neurons in the same way other prosthetic devices stand in for missing limbs or improve hearing."

Link: http://www.popsci.com/popsci/printerfriendly/science/0e54d952c97b1110vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html

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