At the recent annual 2007 World Transhumanist Association's meeting, Marvin Minsky, the artificial intelligence guru who heads up MIT's Media Lab, half-jokingly suggested the world could solve any population problem by uploading the minds of 10 billion people and running them on a computer that occupies a few cubic meters and costs only a few hundred dollars to run.
The thing is, Minsky is not really joking. He firmly believes that once researchers understand how brains work, "we will discover ways to upload our minds into machines." He predicts that our AI descendants (what AI researcher Hans Moravec called our mind children) will eventually leave the planet and spread throughout the universe. "If we are the only intelligence in the universe, then we are obligated to ensure that the universe remains meaningful," said Minsky.