Human head transplant

The hottest news on the Internet today: Surgeon Sergio Canavero claims that human head transplantation is about 2 years from now.

Even though the wise thing is not to pay much attention to these kind of news, it is hard to stop your imagination from rendering horrible sci-fi images and not to think about possible consequences of human head transplantation. However, we are NOT going to comment on:

  • that swarms of most respectful scientist and amateur medical hobbyist are arguing that 2 years is unrealistic time frame … and call Sergio names because of that 🙂
  • that numerous ethical considerations triggered by quickly approaching mass-head-transplantations cause sleep deprivation between the news readers 🙂

Still, we have few (rather humorous in nature) notes to share.

To a great extent, you do not have to physically transplant the head, transplanting the way of thinking makes the trick as well. In other words, transferring information and “thinking algorithm” causes the same effect at the end (and perhaps already made us similarly thinking androids; to the process of thinking exact shape of the head matters as much as a plastic phone cover to your Android phone).

We might need new rules and regulations ASAP. Say “head” of person A acquires “body” of person B where the body has unusually strong forearms. Next thing we know is that Ahead+Bbody turns into bouldering champ. But who is the champ A or B or A+B?

It all brings us to very serious philosophical question: how to define “I”? Is “I” just a brain? But our brain does not control basic body functions: heart pumps by itself, hair grows by itself, muscles know how to use energy from creatine phosphate and so on. But you are doing all of that (unconsciously), therefore you are marvellously complicated enormous collection of magic tricks. Add your interaction with surroundings (air, light, gravity, microorganisms and etc) and the time-space-boundaries of “I” go as far as most distant star and as deep in past as Big Bang time. With that in mind, swapping heads and bodies sounds like minor perturbation.