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TECHNOLOGIES that have come out of neuroscience have raced ahead of the ethical issues they raise.
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By the third decade of the new millennium, the power of computing will be such that we should be able to scan and download a blueprint of every axon, dendrite, presynaptic vesicle and neuronal cell body, thus creating a software-based facsimile of someone's brain. Human and machine will have become one. Or so observes Ray Kurzweil, the technologist-turned-futurist who has championed the marriage of the biologic and the cybernetic. "Our immortality will be a matter of being sufficiently careful to make frequent backups," he remarks in all earnestness.
Kurzweil's vision is often cited in popular accounts about the future of machine intelligence. But, in the end, his grandiose statements serve merely as technophilic conceits.
This article was originally published with the title A Vote for Neuroethics.