Very interesting read found here: http://www.futuretimeline.net/22ndce...#minduploading
"Mind uploading enters mainstream society"
Adequate hardware to support human-level intelligence was available as far back as the 2020s, thanks to the exponential progress of Moore's Law.* This made it possible to form simulations of neural processes.
However, the underlying software foundation required for mind uploading proved to be a vastly greater challenge. Full transfer of human consciousness into artificial substrates posed enormous technical difficulties, in addition to raising ethical and philosophical issues.
The sheer complexity of the brain, and its inherent fragility - along with the many legislative barriers that stood in the way - meant that it was nearly a century before such technology reached the mainstream.
Some breakthroughs occurred in the latter decades of the 21st century, with partial transfer of memories and thought patterns, allowing some limited experience of the mind uploading process. However, it was only through the emergence of picotechnology and strong AI that sufficiently detailed scanning methods became available. This new generation of machines, being orders of magnitude faster and more robust, finally bridged the gap between organic human brains and their synthetic equivalents.
Initially tested on monkeys, the procedure was eventually offered to certain marginalised people including death row inmates and terminally ill patients. Once it could be demonstrated as being safe and reversible, the project garnered a steady stream of free and healthy volunteers, tempted by this new form of computerised immortality.
Years of red tape and legislation followed, including some of the strictest regulations ever enacted into law. Religious and conservative groups voiced their objections to what they saw as a fundamental violation of God's will. At times, this threatened to postpone the technology indefinitely. Eventually though, like so many other breakthroughs in science, the zeitgeist moved on. The level of demand for mind uploading proved to be enormous, and the treatment was made commercially available in the 2120s.
Today, citizens have access to special clinics in which their biological brains can be literally discarded in favour of artificial ones. Rather than simply "duplicating" a mind, the machine physically shifts the consciousness, like a sponge soaking up water. The brain is gradually replaced - piece by piece - so the original personality remains intact during the transition. This vital aspect of the procedure assuages the fear which many have of losing their identity.
For the wealthiest individuals, entire new bodies can be grown, into which the synthetic brains can be transplanted. These bodies may themselves be artificial, with options for partially cyborg or fully robotic replacements. Externally, they are often indistinguishable from real human bodies, but include many hi-tech add-ons and internal features boosting physical and mental abilities.
Not everyone is opting for these types of treatments, however. A significant percentage view them with extreme suspicion, as though somehow immoral and dehumanising. With each passing year, society is becoming increasingly fractured, with an ever-widening divide between those who seek to enhance themselves, and those who prefer to eschew such technology.