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Head transplants – body optional?

So you haven’t heard of head transplants? Get with the times, dude!

Believe it or not an Italian medical research team is planning to do a head transplant in 2017. And yep, they even have a volunteer. Takes all types.

There’s considerable skepticism however that the operation can go ahead let alone succeed. Most mainstream surgeons think it’s impossible. Still, that’s what the experts said about the first heart transplants and now that’s almost a routine operation. Never say never.

But even I’ve gotta admit it sounds like a long shot. But what do I know?

Here’s the interesting part. It doesn’t matter if it’s impossible right now or not. What’s important is that people are taking it seriously. No-ones saying it shouldn’t be done. What does that tell us?

That at some stage it’s going to happen. And the way things are these days, probably sooner rather than later. Five years maybe? After all, two years ago who would have thought that we’d have a human settlement on Mars in the 2020s?

So it’s a question of when, not if. Then what?

What about the designer body? Can I contract for my head to have a new body every 30 years? Could I actually have 10 different bodies in my (or my brain’s) lifetime?

How about a spot of high fashion? Instead of just transplanting my head on a new body, I can have a brain-computer interface which allows me to connect to any body anytime. A just-in-time body. A body for the party tomorrow, then back to my home-body when no-ones looking. Maybe I want a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger (when he was young) or Melania Trump (ditto). Now I can choose the body so I can wear the clothes I really lust after.

If we get good at this, could I achieve immortality? Maybe I need to do some fiddling with the brain part too? So that it can keep up with the constantly rejuvenated body?

And if we want to get humans to Proxima B, could we make it easier by just sending the brains of team members with shared artificial bodies to make things lighter, easier and less energy intensive?

Who needs bodies at all? Could we decide to live our lives vicariously as disembodied brains, with either organic or inorganic bodies to carry out the messy and routine parts of living? Going to the toilet is just a massive waste of time right? Think what we could do if we dispensed with excretion time and effort!

When you come down to it, do we really need a body? There’s plenty of new ways to procreate using chemistry so sex is really very old-fashioned. Could we become the ultimate lean biological machine?

And these days having no body doesn’t mean you can’t travel. With virtual reality you can just go just about anywhere; maybe the VR experience is actually better than the real thing? Certainly safer, especially if you have no body. With the Internet you can do most things. And if you really do want to travel on your ownsome, how about a brain-controlled wheelchair? Or plane?

You get the general idea. Just a few short years ago having a brain without a body was mere (?) science fiction. Now, sooner or later, it’s going to be fact.

It doesn’t matter if the Italian team doesn’t make it this time round. It’s going to happen anyway folks.

The big issue is whether the rest of us can keep up with the many other possibilities that it opens up that I haven’t even been able to imagine here.



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Sunday, 09 August 2020

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