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Google: Turning sci-fi into science

Jack Angela | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 3:23 IST

Technological advancements are advancing at a pace so rapid that last century's sci-fi looks like reality today. And if you look closely, you'll find one corporation leading the tech charge: Google.

For instance, Google has just filed a new patent for its Google Glass. The tech marvel is going to be updated to recall your memories. Google Maps has just launched a new feature called 'Your Timeline' so that you can track your movements and always remember how to get to your favourite bar and restaurant.

And that's not all. Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, believes that we'll be able to download our minds and personalities onto a computer. Do you think experiments in this direction are far away? Unlikely.

Let's look at how Google is turning sci-fi into real science.

Google Glasses

Google recently filed a patent for its glasses, updating them so that when you wear them, you'll be able to record memorable moments which will be stored in your account. Essentially, this is about exporting your memories to the cloud.

Of course, people have questions about this. For instance, how much of your experience is real if you are trying to record everything instead of simply enjoying the experience?

But having said that, the new Google Glass will also offer practical uses. For example, your memory will be flawless. Even if you forget something, a question to your phone will get you the correct answer. For example, "What did I have for lunch on this day in Florence last year?" or "Did I go for a run on this day last year?"

The videos taken by Google Glass can also be uploaded onto social network sites, which means your friends will see what you are doing just as you're doing it.

There is a legal issue however: While recording your own memories, you may also be recording someone else without her or his consent.

Your Timeline

'Your Timeline' works in a similar way to the Glasses scheme, but without the video diary. It will allow you to see your movements through your use of Google maps. The Google Photos app will also allow you to see photos of the routes you take to and from your destinations.

However, this does make some people uncomfortable. While many people will be interested in tracking their patterns of movement, others will be wondering about exactly how much information Google stores about individuals. If you're uncomfortable with the idea however, you can simply turn off your location services.

Ray Kurzweil singularity prediction

Last year Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering for Google, announced that by 2045 we could upload our minds into a computer by reducing our actions and thoughts to a series of binary codes which would then be stored on a database.

Kurzweil then said that in 90 years' time, we will be able to replace our bodies with machines and live forever.

This is what is meant by singularity: the combination of humans with machines. For some people, this idea is wild in the extreme. But for others, for example Russian media mogul Dmitry Itskov, it is real. Itskov has a 40-year plan during which he hopes to transfer his consciousness to a robot and thus live forever. He claims it is the next step in human evolution. More than 20,000 people have signed up for the initiative.

First published: 24 July 2015, 11:38 IST
Jack Angela @7angela12345

Jack is an intern with Catch Live for the next few weeks. He is going into his third year at the University of Leeds, England, where he studies History and Arabic.