My name is Ted Berger. I’m a David Packard professor of engineering and a professor of neuroscience and biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California. I think that this GF 2045 meeting is going to be a terrific meeting that will raise some of the most essential issues that need to be raised for the future of humanity. I would invite everyone who can come to come and participate be part of this process and with your very presence raise the importance of these issues so they can be recreated and moved forward as a new set of solutions for all of us. It is quite reasonable to think about several parts of the brain being understood well enough that we can develop not just mathematical models but silicon models, microchip models of how those parts of the brain work. We have learned enough about what long-term memories are, when they’re in code, that we can identify long-term memory codes in the behaving rat brain so we can say: there, right there there is the code for the bar that the animal’s going to press to get water. We can say that’s the code. And so we can recognize these things, we can see what they are, and manipulate them in some ways. So within a couple of years, we will have the ability to form new long-term memories in the way they are formed in the brain. There are several parts in the brain that I consider to be ready for this next-generation analysis and this will allow us to create a mathematical model of how some of the functions work and we’ll be able to reproduce those in mathematical models, and we’ll be able to reproduce those in microchip form. We need to sit down and commit ourselves to these kind of goals. There is every reason to determine, to develop set of concepts a set of procedures a set of surgical procedures to reach this kind of biomimetic replacement of brain parts that’s what we’re talking about bio-mimetic replacement of brain parts. We need to commit ourselves to that as a goal — it’s going to happen. We need to find a way to develop this kind of commitment, and the congress that we’re talking about is a wonderful way to do this. The congress that is being organized for 2045 this June 2013, is a wonderful step in that direction. But we need more than that. I think that the key factors after that that are needed are an acceptance of the fact that these experiments need to be done on humans. There’s no reason why some of these experiments can’t be done, and can’t be done readily in a human context. Most of us have a sense a sense that there’s uh… that there is something sacred about the human and the human brain and it’s something that’s not to be touched that we need to be careful about it. But I think that there are a lot of tests, a lot of investigations that can be done readily right now with patients. With heartfelt consent, a lot of patients would love to be a part of something that really increases their level of understanding of the brain and they’d like to share their body and their brain in that process. I think we need to recruit the human for clinical involvement. The patient, the public involvement is something that’s necessary and I think it’s underused, we really need to go out there and get the public behind this. And we need to get more involvement of small businesses and start-up companies in these efforts at the right time but they could be a source of funds for faster development of these biomimetic models that we will use to replace brain parts. We are living longer and longer, and so more and more of these diseases of the brain degenerative or accidental damage to the brain, are going to be seen and must be dealt with. And so having a strategy where we think about which brain parts can be replaced in the context of which ones are damaged more often is just a wise thing to do. We were just talking about facing reality. By getting business and academic and government forces together to recognize this reality it can be done. As we understand these sophisticated computations, these sophisticated representations that are involved in thought processes more and more the possibility of passing that capability on to a non-human non-living substrate becomes very real and I think that will be the next step for this. It will become part of the process because how else do we take the sophisticated thoughts the sophisticated representations that are created in any part of the brain for even a few seconds? How do we take that in representing it in such a way that we can have those same calculations being used in the context of repairing the brain? You have to move to an in silicon representation of those capabilities, because otherwise you’d be asking patients to carry several computers behind them on wheels. It doesn’t work. So transferring this kind of understanding to a silicon base will naturally evolve from the first step and I think it will be so exciting at that point that there’ll be a new movement a new enthusiasm that will come from a non-medical area a non-medical rationale for completing these kinds of experiments. We need evolution over a very long time before we find solutions, particularly to how to be a better human being and I’d like to be able to have an avatar that allows me to create those optimal values. That’s what I’m looking for. I think this letter is really terrific, it takes a position that’s very important and it’s a powerful position. It makes a demand at a scale which is a needed scale. It has a world venue, which is very important, it identifies some of the clear weaknesses, the shortcomings of the international and national policies that we have and the directions which are encouraged uh… the directions which are
encouraged or just allowed to develop by humanity. We need a new vision we need a new direction and Global Future 2045 captures that need. Hopefully in the context of this next congress we will be able to put even more of the pieces together which will define the directions in which we have to move for the solutions to these kinds of global problems.