Brain Uploading – TV Tropes

"The point is, if we can store music on a compact disc, why can't we store a man's intelligence and personality on one? So, I have the engineers figuring that one out now."Artificial Intelligence is hard. Why reinvent the wheel, when you've got plenty of humans walking around? Who will miss one, right?Alternatively, you might be one of those humans looking for easy immortality. Either way, once you finish scanning the brain, you end up with a file that you run in a physics simulator, and presto, you have a computer that remembers being a human. If you do it carefully enough, the original brain won't even notice it happening.This computer has a number of advantages over a meat human. The simulation can be run many thousands of times faster than objective speed, if you've got enough computing power. It can be backed up with trivial ease. You can run multiple copies at the same time, and have them do different things, make exotic personality composites, and tinker around with the inner workings of the brain in ways that are either difficult or impossible to do with a meat brain. Additionally, there's the fact that it's impossible to kill as long as its data is backed up somewhere and there exists a computer on which to run it - you can just restart the simulation wherever you left off and the mind won't even recognize it.Critics of the concept are quick to point out that it presupposes an understanding of neurology (not just human neurology, but even the neurology of a common insect) far, far beyond what currently exists; and that without that knowledge, even the most powerful computer cannot do this. Proponents of the idea assure us that this knowledge is coming. Proponents who hope to live to see and actually benefit from it assure us that it's coming really really soon.As with The Singularity, the idea of brain uploading has inevitably taken on a quasi-religious aspect for many in recent years, since it does promise immortality of a sort (as long as your backups and the hardware to run them on are safe), and even transcendence of the body.The advantages bestowed by brain uploading are a bit overwhelming if you're trying to incorporate them into a story. It kind of kills the tension when the protagonist can restore from backup whenever the Big Bad kills them. Authors have devised a number of cop-outs, which you can recognize by asking these questions:

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