[ExI] How to Replace Uninjured Parts of the Brain

Spencer Campbell lacertilian at gmail.com
Sun Feb 21 19:27:33 UTC 2010

meteor girl <girl.meteor at gmail.com>:
> We already have electronic devices that are capable of replacing certain
> parts of the brain. Researchers are asking your proposed question now.

Functioning brain implants would be news to me! Let's google it:


This makes me very, very happy.

meteor girl <girl.meteor at gmail.com>:
> Will someone take a guess at how one might go about replacing each
> individual synapse, neuron, their neurotransmitters, etc. without losing
> continuity?

By my estimation, the easiest way to get from wetware to hardware is:
gradually. I'll use modern-day technology for my example, so it'll be
pretty clunky.


Let's say that we build a wireless interface, call it the bridge, into
the left hemisphere of my brain. The bridge is covered in a cornucopia
of electrodes. It records neural impulses to be exported to a remote
Blue Brain supercomputer and transmits its own simulated impulses
according to information imported from the same.

The idea here is to get virtual neurons to interact sanely with real
neurons, so that your mind effectively has a foot in both worlds. All
sorts of complications could arise in practice.

Maybe "aligning" the virtual cortex with the real electrodes would be
prohibitively difficult, maybe the lack of chemical signals across the
bridge would have unfortunate side-effects. Maybe Gordon is right,
somehow, and you would partially zombify yourself in the process even
if the operation is a success by any and every objective measure.

If it works, though, all you have to do is scale up. Once at least
half of your effective brain is virtual, death would be comparable to
a hemispherectomy. Regaining the functions that remained mostly
localized in the living tissue could be a problem, but, hey,
neuroplasticity. What's the worst that could happen?

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list