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From The Observer:
2050 - and immortality is within our grasp

Aeroplaneswill be too afraid to crash, yoghurts will wish you good morning beforebeing eaten and human consciousness will be stored on supercomputers,promising immortality for all - though it will help to be rich.

Thesefantastic claims are not made by a science fiction writer or a crystalball-gazing lunatic. They are the deadly earnest predictions of IanPearson, head of the futurology unit at BT.

'If you draw the timelines, realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine,so when you die it's not a major career problem,' Pearson told TheObserver. 'If you're rich enough then by 2050 it's feasible. If you'repoor you'll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it's routine.We are very serious about it. That's how fast this technology ismoving: 45 years is a hell of a long time in IT.'

He believesthat today's youngsters may never have to die, and points to the rapidadvances in computing power demonstrated last week, when Sony releasedthe first details of its PlayStation 3. It is 35 times more powerfulthan previous games consoles. 'The new PlayStation is 1 per cent as powerful as a human brain,'he said. 'It is into supercomputer status compared to 10 years ago.PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the human brain.'

Theworld's fastest computer, IBM's BlueGene, can perform 70.72 trillioncalculations per second (teraflops) and is accelerating all the time.But anyone who believes in the uniqueness of consciousness or the soulwill find Pearson's next suggestion hard to swallow. 'We're alreadylooking at how you might structure a computer that could possiblybecome conscious. There are quite a lot of us now who believe it'sentirely feasible ... it's my conclusion that it is possible to make aconscious computer with superhuman levels of intelligence before 2020.'

Hecontinued: 'It would definitely have emotions - that's one of theprimary reasons for doing it. If I'm on an aeroplane I want thecomputer to be more terrified of crashing than I am so it doeseverything to stay in the air until it's supposed to be on the ground.

Wow. That's stupid.

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