Michio Kaku: This is Your Brain on a Laser Beam


Michio Kaku: This is Your Brain on a Laser Beam

Dr. Michio Kaku returns to Big Think studios to discuss his latest book, The Future of the Mind (http://goo.gl/1mcGeb). Here he explains how we might transfer our consciousness to laser beams to explore the universe at the speed of light. 😮

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Transcript — Isaac Asimov was my favorite science fiction writer and his favorite science fiction story talked about an era far in the future when our bodies would be in pods and we would mentally control beings, beings of pure energy that would go flying around the universe. And, of course, it was science fiction but here’s the idea. Mind without body. Pure consciousness roaming across the universe faster than any rocket ship. It turns out that that’s actually a physical possibility. First of all the Obama administration and the European Union are pushing the Brain Project to delineate all the pathways of the human brain. This means that one day we might have a CD ROM called Brain 2.0. That is every single neuron encoded on a memory disc, your personality, your memories, who you are, the essence of your soul would be incorporated in this disc as pure information. Even if you die your consciousness, in some sense, may live on.

Now you as an organic being will have died. That means that your neurons will turn to dust. But the configuration of neurons that made your thinking process possible can be put on a disc in which case, in some sense you become immortal. Not only immortal but this could be the most efficient way to explore the galaxy just like Isaac Asimov predicted in his short story. Let’s say I take your — not your genome but your connectome, put it on a laser beam — in fact in the book I actually calculate how big a laser beam will be required to put your consciousness as pure photons — shine it into the heavens. You’re now shooting consciousness into outer space at the speed of light. Forget booster rockets. Forget asteroid collisions. Forget radiation dangers and weightlessness and lack of oxygen. Forget all that. You are riding on a laser beam at the speed of light and then at the end there’s a relay station.

A relay station which takes the laser beam and then puts into a surrogate. That is all the neural networks encoded into laser beam can be manifested as a robot on the other side of the galaxy. So in other words, it’s like staying at a hotel. If you’re a businessman you go from hotel to hotel and relax. The same way you’d be on a laser beam going from relay station to relay station and when you go to the relay station you take the robot body of a super human. You become superman on the other end of the rainbow. So is this a physical possibility? Yes. When might we have it? Well let’s be honest. It would take perhaps a hundred years or so before we have a complete understanding of the connectome that is all the neuropathways of the brain. Perhaps another century beyond that before we have relay stations on which we could then shoot our consciousness into outer space. Is it mathematically and physically possible and the answer is yes.

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Dillon Fitton



  1. But how can the brain continue to Mutate and evolve if its repplacement are silicon, metals, etc.? which doesnt have a DNA which plays a very big role in making us more adaptive to an environment, but since we have a super robot avatar so we no longer need adaptaion on our body except for the human brain, because we need to increase intelligent to meet up with the demands of our ever growing technolgy and knowledge of the undiscovered abyss that genrates to much data for our conventional brain to take. So how can we make the brain evolve in a mechanical body? And if the mechanical brain is already capable of evolving on that time. Would it need to cosume matter to store down those data you have gathered?

  2. Though, imagine if you do 2 copies of that connectome. If they are the same, they both have the same feelings, memory and personality. But in which brain model is the consciousness owner? So that when the "soul" owner open eyes it experiences the brain 1. And not brain 2. So how do we "activate the brain connectome to have owner souls"… Could another soul connect to this connectome of brain 1. Or brain copy 2? This must be researched..

  3. In the movie "Gods Of Egypt" starring Gerald Butler, a story which was not so historical neither that became a box office suggest Gods that are beings similar to those super human robots body that Michio talks about in this short clip. Just for this it is worth watching this movie. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2404233/

  4. 100 years before we have a complete understanding of the brain?! Seriously?

    You're totally underestimating exponential progression! How much better will technology get over the next 10 years alone? How about nano technology? Advanced AI (cognitive computing)?

    Look at the difference between the world in 2001 and 2016! The leap has been one of the BIGGEST in human history! The internet is EVERYWHERE! Kids in Africa have access to facebook! Over half of the human race has access to smart phones, including the children! By 2030 the leap will be double what we've seen in the last 15 years!

    If we DON'T have the brain COMPLETELY mapped out by 2030… I'll be surprised.

  5. I wonder about the people that gave this a thumbs down… are they the idiot god people sitting at home say this is the devil.. imagine how advanced we would be without religion

  6. we could get a consciousness with a lazer beam thow it into a black hole so time stops for it and it will have solved lal the problems of th euniverse.

  7. Perhaps teaching the knowledge that physicists like Michio Kaku know in schools would be a huge leap forward. Just imagine a generation of children with a higher level of consciousness. That in my unprofessional opinion is the first step towards the human race evolving into more conscious beings.

  8. The only problem I have with this is the though body switch you'd lose your mind do to recognition of switch robots all the time you'd might as well be at same station you left. The be no concept of being. You'd be divided

  9. This is what I've thought about ever since I was a kid. I don't care about your heaven, even if it was real. When I die, just let my consciousness wander through space, exploring all the things!

  10. I had this idea, where in the future you could save your consciousness and memory into a chip and that chip can be inserted into a humanoid robot. Also, if there were to be an incident where your humanoid robot body got severely and permanently damaged, there is a setting that instantly transmits your consciousness and memory data back to your computer so that you can be inserted into another humanoid robot through a memory chip. Imagine that!

  11. I don't think we would ever beam an exact copy of someones brain as stated in this video across the galaxy. Maybe a couple of times for science purposes. How ever exploring the universe in this way wouldn't really work. Because it's all data, the laser wouldn't pick up any new information during the trip. It's last memory would have been in the human body, than hundreds of years later it wakes up in a robot with no new data to fill the gap.

    I do think that the process of copying the brain might be one of the best ways to explore the universe. Atleast until we figure out how to generate worm holes. Until then we will have to manually travel through space, and people don't live long enough to really do that. Sure by that time we will probably have cryo sleep, but that would require a cycled crew to switch out through out the years during the voyage. Which would be fine for a while. Imagine though if you could put all those scientists minds into mechanized duplicates of themselves, and then send them off to explore space, do research, and come back later. With out them ever needing to sleep aside from maybe some repairs.

    Even then, I doubt that idea will ever be done aside from scientific purposes once or twice like the brain laser. At the rate our technology grows, we wouldn't bother sending out a mission that would take several life times to complete. Mainly cause it would be hugely expensive, and chances are that by the time the mission returns we would have the tech to run over to where they went, and be back much, MUCH quicker. All while spending much MUCH less money.

    To be honest, the only real use I see of copying a brain as he talked about would be a Ghost In the Shell type of world.

  12. Reincarnation is real people. Humans are light beings. You can research on your own. Because I know people are going to downvote my comment. You aren't your body and there is strict scientific research that confirmed this decades ago.

  13. Sending our minds through the universe? Wow it seems telekinesis, precognition and telepathy aren't the only mystical abilities Michio sees as possible in the far future it seems like now he is proposing a way of making astral projection possible to which for those of you who don't know is the ability to separate your soul from your physical body without killing yourself and traveling to other dimensions or worlds.

  14. What if the universe itself is a mind that has infinite and eternal awareness , evolving creatures to assimilate , purpose is with experience in the moment,with persistence of time ,life.
    Remember more of sleep we are conditioned not to,it is possible and the greatest teacher of all. You want to know what consciousness and the relationship with continuum are?
    Then simply remember sleep.< A truth and honesty of empathy toward all that is,,,, Awareness in the moment.

  15. The day we will be able to turn memory into readable information (be it a result of this specific research into an astral immortality) will be a great day for those afflicted with forgetfulness; be they amnesiac, suffering from Alzheimer or simply wish to remember what they once knew.

    I myself, would pay a fortune to be able to remember all I forgot along the years… 


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