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first cyborg?

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As these videos suggest, scientists are taking tiny, incremental steps toward melding humans and machine all the time. Ray Kurzweil, the futurist and now Google’s director of engineering, argued in “The Singularity Is Near,” a 2005 book, that technology is advancing exponentially and that “human life will be irreversibly transformed” to the point that there will be no difference between “human and machine or between physical and virtual reality.”

Mr. Kurzweil was projecting based on the scientific and intellectual ferment of the time. And technological achievements have continued their march since he wrote the book — from creating computers that can that can outplay humans (like Watson, the “Jeopardy” winner from I.B.M.) to technology that tracks a game player’s heartbeat and perhaps his excitement (like the new Kinect) to digital tools for those with disabilities (like brain implants that can help quadriplegics move robotic arms).

But most researchers do not aspire to upload our minds to cyborgs; even in this crowd, the concept is a little out there. Academics seem to regard Mr. Itskov as sincere and well-intentioned, and if he wants play global cheerleader for fields that generally toil in obscurity, fine. Ask participants in the 2045 conference if Mr. Itskov’s dreams could ultimately be realized and you’ll hear everything from lukewarm versions of “maybe” to flat-out enthusiasm.

“I have a rule against saying something is impossible unless it violates laws of physics,” Professor Church says, adding about Mr. Itskov: “I just think that there’s a lot of dots that aren’t connected in his plans. It’s not a real road map.”

Martine A. Rothblatt, another speaker at the coming conference and founder of United Therapeutics, a biotech company that makes cardiovascular products, sounds more optimistic.

“This is no more wild than in the early ‘60s, when we saw the advent of liver and kidney transplants,” Ms. Rothblatt says. “People said at the time, ‘This is totally crazy.’ Now, about 400 people have organs transplanted every day.”

Double whoa.

Attendees will hear people like Sir Roger Penrose, an emeritus professor of mathematical physics at Oxford, who appears on the Web site with a video teaser about “the quantum nature of consciousness,” and George M. Church, a genetics professor at Harvard Medical School, whose video on the site concerns “brain healthspan extension.”

The quantum nature of consciousness:

Brain healthspan extension:

Penrose is just a test to see if you can think critically.  He has always seen mystical solutions to scientific gaps.  Follow at your peril.

They are saying that a child born today will live until they are 200. Many people agree that this sounds plausible, but if you mention that this will happen because of advancements in bionic implants and people slowly becoming cyborgs and people give you funny looks... even in SF!

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