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Rothblatt suggested that bemes could be eventually captured and stored by more sophisticated wearable recording systems like the MyLifeBits project being developed at Microsoft by Gordon Bell. Researchers are also working on creating a bouquet of nanowires that could be threaded through the capillaries of the brain to monitor and record the activities of individual brain cells. Rothblatt proposes that the output of those brain cells could be stored and retrieved later for uploading as bemes. Rothblatt acknowledged that bemes would need to uploaded into mindware to become conscious. Of course, mindware doesn't yet exist, but she's pretty sure that computer guru Ray Kurzweil's prediction that machines with human-level intelligence will be produced over the next couple of decades is accurate. Thus we will be able to "beme" ourselves up into cyberspace. How will we know that the uploaded "bemans" are conscious? Rothblatt has no doubt: "Consciousness is like pornography; we know it when we see it."
In the end, telling visionaries from crackpots is never an easy task. But I find mingling with people who are wildly hopeful about the future is intellectually invigorating. Transhumanists are the sort of folks who eagerly embrace 19th century British chemist Michael Faraday's maxim: "Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature." And some of the visions painted at the HETHR conference are wonderful—they foresee a future filled with smarter, happier, and more creative people.
Erik Davis is wrong about the demise of grand narratives. As a nascent philosophical and political movement, Transhumanism epitomizes our most daring, courageous, imaginative, and idealistic aspirations. The Transhumanist quest to liberate future generations from the immemorial curses of disease, disability and early death is a new grand narrative worthy of humanity and posthumanity.