Well before we understand how brains work, we may find ourselves able to digitally copy the brain's structure and able to download the conscious mind into a computer. What are the possibilities and challenges?
To the extent that consciousness is useful, it is useful in small quantities, and for very particular kinds of tasks. It's easy to understand why you would not want to be consciously aware of the intricacies of your muscle movement, but this can be less intuitive when applied to your perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs, which are also final products of the activity of billions of nerve cells.
In February 2011, I spent an evening speaking at the Rubin Museum in NYC with punk rock legend, writer, and spoken word artist Henry Rollins. We discussed the origin, meaning, neuroscience, and bizarreness of dreams.
Eagleman and Brian Eno bring Sum to Sydney Opera House
In June, 2009, David Eagleman collaborated with musician/producer Brian Eno to perform a musical reading of Sum to 1,000 people at the Sydney Opera House. In May of 2010 they performed together again to 1,200 people at the Brighton Dome in England. Stay tuned for further performances.