The Promise---and the Peril---of Digital Immortality
St. Martin's Press
On Sale: September 9, 2014
Hardcover / e-Book
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Virtually Human explores what the not-too-distant future
will look like when cyber-consciousness—simulation of the
human brain via software and computer technology—becomes
part of our daily lives. Meet Bina48, the world's most
sentient robot, commissioned by Martine Rothblatt and
created by Hanson Robotics. Bina48 is a nascent Mindclone of
Martine’s wife that can engage in conversation, answer
questions, and even have spontaneous thoughts that are
derived from multimedia data in a Mindfile created by the
If you’re active on Twitter or Facebook, share photos
through Instagram, or blogging regularly, you’re already on
your way to creating a Mindfile—a digital database of your
thoughts, memories, feelings, and opinions that is
essentially a back-up copy of your mind. Soon, this Mindfile
can be made conscious with special software—Mindware—that
mimics the way human brains organize information, create
emotions and achieve self-awareness.
This may sound like science-fiction A.I. (artificial
intelligence), but the nascent technology already exists.
Thousands of software engineers across the globe are working
to create cyber-consciousness based on human consciousness
and the Obama administration recently announced plans to
invest in a decade-long Brain Activity Map project.
Virtually Human is the only book to examine the ethical
issues relating to cyber-consciousness and Rothblatt, with a
Ph.D. in medical ethics, is uniquely qualified to lead the
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