Soul Catcher was a £25 million research programme at BT’s Martlesham labs.
In the 1990s, BT’s Martlesham Labs had an ‘Artificial Life’ team which conceived Soul Catcher as finding a way to record all the electrical pulses which flow through our nervous system from eyes, ears, touch, nose and tongue and recording the data on an implanted chip.
Our nervous systems are estimated to have 1012 neurons with 1015 synaptic interconnections, so the data flow would be chunky but, back in the mid-90s, Martlesham thought that we’d have 10TByte memory chips by 2025 and, with Samsung promising a 1Tbit chip next year, that’s within thebounds of possibility.This is where the imagination takes over.
If you can store a person’s lifetime experiences, you can transfer the person’s experience into another person’s body.
Bingo – you have immortality or reincarnation.
Imagine calling up the re-inc centre: “Your reincarnation is being queued until a body is available to receive it. Please hold until a body is free. Thank you for calling Afterlife Central.”One Martlesham researcher back in 1996 predicted: “This is the end of death.
The Soul Catcher Chip
A computer chip implanted behind the eye that could record a person’s every lifetime thought and sensation is to be developed by British scientists. “This is the end of death,” Dr. Chris Winter, of British Telecom’s artificial life team, said Wednesday.
He predicted that within three decades it would be possible to relive other people’s lives by playing back their experiences on a computer. “By combining this information with a record of the person’s genes, we could recreate a person physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
Winter’s team of eight scientists at BT’s Martlesham Heath laboratories near Ipswich calls the chip “the Soul Catcher.” It would be possible to imbue amnewborn baby with a lifetime’s experiences by giving him or her the Soul Catcher chip of a dead person, Winter said.
The proposal to digitize existence is based on a sound calculation of how much data the brain copes with over a lifetime. Ian Pearson, BT’s official futurologist, has measured the flow of impulses from the optical nerve and nerves in the skin, tongue, ear and nose.
Over an 80-year life we process 10 terrabytes of data, equivalent to the storage capacity of 7,142,857,142,860,000 floppy disks. Pearson said, “If current trends in the miniaturization of computer memory continue at the rate of the past 20 years — a factor of 100 every decade — today’s eight megabyte memory chips norm will be able to store 10 terrabytes in 30 years.
British Telecom would not divulge how much money it is investing in the project, but Winter said it was taking Soul Catcher 2025 very seriously. He admitted there were profound ethical considerations, but emphasized that
BT was embarking on this line of research to enable it to remain at the forefront of communications technology.
“An implanted chip would be like an aircraft’s black box and would enhance communications beyond current concepts,” he said. “For example, police would be able to relive an attack, rape or murder from the victim’s viewpoint to help catch the criminal.”
Other applications would be less useful but more frightening. “I could even play back the smells, sounds and sights of my holiday to friends,” Winter said.