EMAIL text archive, Kyoto University datacenter, December 2010

Date:
Tuesday, 9 February 1999, 3:27 UT
To:
Chickie Levitt <chickie@neuro.usc.edu>
From:
Ushio Kawabata <ushio@kyotou.jp>
Translation:
jp1->am1
Encoding:
text:rsa-pubkey

Your musings yesterday on a permanent broadband mental link to the worldnet were very thought-provoking. I think you are right, it would allow the human mind to bootstrap itself in an effective way into an entirely new, and much larger, arena of possibilities. In the early stages the effect would be of an expanded mind, with the contents of the world libraries as accessible as one's own memories, and the computational capacities of the world's computers as available as one's own skills. As integration proceeded, one might slowly download one's entire personality into the net, being thus freed from all limitations of the body. It is hard, from our present standpoint, to even imagine what might be seen and reached from that perspective.

Have you any ideas on how to proceed? There was an article yesterday article in Comp.Par on Andrew Systems' Crystal 3. It is probably powerful and small enough to serve as a data compressor for a link: only 1/20 cubic meter for 10 TeraOps: Perhaps one could carry it in a backpack for a perpetual connection?

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Date:
Tuesday, 9 February 1999, 8:16 UT
To:
Ushio Kawabata <ushio@kyotou.jp>
From:
Chickie Levitt <chickie@neuro.usc.edu>
Translation:
am1->jp1
Encoding:
text:rsa-pubkey

Usio-samba!
Well, it would still give a pain to carry your brain. A backpack compressor might offer higher bandwidth to the net, but would be much less convenient than a straightforward Eye-glass optic nerve interface (and considerably more risky). I've been thinking of a way around having to put all the processing in electronics, and still get higher overall bandwidth in a vastly more compact form. *If* we could get the neural connections to cooperate----to crossbar and compress the calloflow----we could save 99% of the computation and external communication, making callosum interface practical---- with data rate low enough for a sat-cell relay. So then, you would have to carry around only a standard multiplexer and sat-cell transceiver. The hard parts of the operation can be distributed anywhere over the worldnet!

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Date:
Tuesday, 9 February 1999, 8:18 UT
To:
Chickie Levitt <chickie@neuro.usc.edu>
From:
Ushio Kawabata <ushio@kyotou.jp>
Translation:
jp1->am1
Encoding:
text:rsa-pubkey

That would be artful - a few chips at your end, giving access to the world's data and processing power. Not only images and sounds, as with Eye-glasses, but, with callosum access, feelings, motor sensations and more abstract mental concepts, since the connection is to your cortical areas for those functions. One could be in touch with almost anything in the web with an intimacy now possible only with one's own thoughts! (on the other hand, there is danger from useless net blabber all day long: like mental tunes that will not cease).

Small problem: The crux of your suggestion is to build biological neural structures to do most of the job we have been doing in electronics. How does one persuade the neurons to, so conveniently, arrange themselves to compress your callosum flow for satellite transmission?

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Date:
Tuesday, 9 February 1999, 8:19 UT
To:
Ushio Kawabata <ushio@kyotou.jp>
From:
Chickie Levitt <chickie@neuro.usc.edu>
Translation:
am1->jp1
Encoding:
text:rsa-pubkey

Well, that's the hard part all right. I have been reading in sci.bio.research about gene hacking by the nerve repair crowd at Hopkins. They've managed to develop viral vectors that infect neurons and bugger their genetic initiator sequences so neural stem cells begin differentiating in mid growth program of just about any structure they want. They can grow an isolated callosum! - Though the ends come out tangled, since there's no place for them to connect to.

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Date:
Tuesday, 9 February 1999, 8:19 UT
To:
Chickie Levitt <chickie@neuro.usc.edu>
From:
Ushio Kawabata <ushio@kyotou.jp>
Translation:
jp1->am1
Encoding:
text:rsa-pubkey

There must be many difficulties there. My friend Toshi Okada, who does gene-engineering at Tskuba, tells me that in embryology, almost half the information required to properly grow cell structures comes from the previously grown structure: expressing the DNA code alone is not sufficient to build working assemblies in most instances. Though perhaps additional coding could be added to substitute for insufficient external framework? That would be rather like building scaffolding in preparation for construction proper.

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Date:
Tuesday, 9 February 1999, 8:20 UT
To:
Ushio Kawabata <ushio@kyotou.jp>
From:
Chickie Levitt <chickie@neuro.usc.edu>
Translation:
am1->jp1
Encoding:
text:rsa-pubkey

They've done some of that, but still get some distortion. It gets better if the growth is started in the generally right kind of preexisting tissue

I'm thinking of growing a couple of square centimeters of cortical tissue with callosal fibers that seek out and merge with an existing callosum. The DNA hackery would be encoded into an RNA virus deposited on the same electronic chip that contains the digital data interface. The chip would have chemical target sites for one end of the new nerve growth, and would be powered by body metabolism via an integrated ATP fuel cell. Implant the chip somewhere on the edge of the corpus callosum on the brain midline, and the virus will cause the surrounding brain structure to grow a biological data-compressing interface between the chip and the callosum.

The chip would have to be connected to some kind of external antenna to communicate, maybe a thin wire through the skull, like a hair.

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Date:
Tuesday, 9 February 1999, 8:20 UT
To:
Chickie Levitt <chickie@neuro.usc.edu>
From:
Ushio Kawabata <ushio@kyotou.jp>
Translation:
jp1->am1
Encoding:
text:rsa-pubkey

Most interesting proposal! I'll ask Toshi if you can use some of Tskuba's gene modeling and embryology software to help you with the design. They've become quite good in the last few years.
I will contact you then.

Best wishes - Ushio