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Assume that in the future, mankind develops Augmentations ala Deus Ex, where robot bits are strapped onto people in an attempt to improve them and their quality of life. This will eventually lead to the logical extreme, where everything that a machine could do better will be left to a machine to do.

So, what is the logical end game? Will augments eventually lead to people who are basically just Robots with human brains? Or are there any other organs/bodyparts that we have that we wouldn't replace? If so, why?

Bonus points if an answer actually states that even brains are unnecessary and gives good reasoning.

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There are a lot of things that biological organs can do better than man-made equivalents. This is primarily a matter of energy efficiency. However, man made organs such as muscles would conceivably be considerably faster and stronger.

This too extends to the brain, which for all its massive parallelism, is actually very slow and bulky for what it does. It can be anticipated that it would be possible to eventually copy a human mind-state to a man-made processor unit, probably one specifically designed to house a human consciousness. It would also be logical that these brain-boxes could and would be much faster than a human brain.

Basically the neurons of the human brain perform in a known manner. If we get to the point where we can physically map the neurons, their junctions and their state of polarisation, we can in theory duplicate the organic network to a man-made device, implicitly duplicating the organic mind-state. From there, by increasing the clock speed, we can increase the speed of thought to many times that of the speed of the organic brain.

In a world such as this, the boundary between the virtual and real worlds would be blurred. In the virtual world, the only things of any scarcity are processing power, memory and causality, while the physical world has many more limits, though the virtual world is inextricably dependent on the real.

In the real world, we would need bodies. Having human origins, these would likely be human-like bodies, but mechanical bodies would be more durable, more easily repairable, and more capable than organic ones. The probability is that these bodies would be cyborgs, with a bioengineered organic skin designed to interface with the almost-entirely mechanical bodies beneath them, as well at to be more robust than a genuine organic-human skin. We will probably want to look human to allow physical intimacy, but it is not strictly necessary that the organs involved actually be genetically of human origin

With an increase in available processing power, it is likely that the last secrets of the human brain will be cracked, and it will become a feasible matter to create new child mind-states based on parental mind states, or in isolation. Even reproduction can be mechanised and can also be separated from physical intimacy.

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  • $\begingroup$ Wow. That is really really cool. Take these bonus internet points as promised +1. $\endgroup$ – Feaurie Vladskovitz Feb 17 '15 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ The biggest weakness of the human brain appeaars to be it's memory. Faster access to a memory that is actually reliable (i.e. is not constantly re-imagined by the brain it is part of, and not constantly forgetting things...) would make learning a lot faster. And that is even before this brain has a direkt link to the internet. Unfortunately, that latter would also make life a lot easier for the nastier type of game theory adepts. $\endgroup$ – Burki Feb 17 '15 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Burki, It would be quite difficult to alter the brain's internal timings and processes, as neural networks are weird, kludgy approximations of manufactured computers, and changing anything can break the whole system. I've heard of neural network sims where there are unconnected neurons, but removing them breaks the functionality. So, first would come copying a mind-state, then would come altering things. Anyway, a mind-state copy could be run at a higher speed than the original wetware would allow. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Feb 17 '15 at 21:30
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Different logical end point: replace all human parts with robot parts, including the brain.

Why stop with the fleshy bits? If we can build a computer that replacates part of the brain, say, the optic nerve, with a computerized version that does the job of the biological part better, why not replace that biological bit the same as we would an arm or a leg? If we can replace one bit of the brain, why not another? Which parts of the brain are what define us as human? If there are any major ones, feel free to keep those. What will happen, though, when the rest of the brain has been replaced by quantum chips and eloquently designed programs in place of outdated and slow neurons and synapses?

My suspicion is that, for at least some people, the process would not stop until the entire human was replaced by machine. Future generations of 'humans' would be purely mechanical. And why not? We evolved from fish, and we don't have a whole lot of fish parts left that we're holding on to. If a mostly robot cyborg can either construct a cyborg child around a human brain, or else construct one around a demonstrably superior computerized brain, why build the organics? Especially if most of the personality of the 'parent' has already been offloaded to secondary circuits that augment the remaining 'human' core. A child wouldn't even be restricted, then, by what the parent inherently was. Instead, a child would only be restricted by what their parent could create. In short, given limitless potential for augmentation, humans would 'evolve' into robots.

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  • $\begingroup$ My dad occasionally bandies this idea about. I tend to agree. Nice answer :-) $\endgroup$ – Feaurie Vladskovitz Feb 17 '15 at 2:50
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Reproduction

You still need boy-bits and girl-bits.

Unless future generations are tank-babies and sexual reproduction is a thing of the history books. That would leave people vulnerable to infections (specifically newly evolved ones) and other genetic disorders.

And you'd probably want to keep them anyway. ;D

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh gosh I can't believe I forgot about that xD $\endgroup$ – Feaurie Vladskovitz Feb 17 '15 at 2:14

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