Between 1957 and 1975 The United States and the Former Soviet Union engaged in a progressive and aggressive competition we now call the “space race” in which they strived to be the first; in space, orbiting the earth, and ultimately on the moon.
As we know the United States lost many battles such as the first satellite, space orbiting animal, moon orbiting man and the first woman (Valentina Tereshkova), in space. However they won the ultimate “war” as they were the first to land and return from the Earth Moon.
The race lead two prominent nations to do seemingly impossible things in a short amount of time in the strife for glory and the ultimate treasure; knowledge.
The results from the space race were not a flux of instance but rather a result of long-term research in which the missing pieces were partly found by the drive of ambitions and grandeur and partly the result of a series of technological paradigms reaching success and allowing the technology to be developed. The stars all aligned to make it possible.
Why am I bringing up this old dusty fact,
Because we’re about to repeat history by exploring mans final frontier; the human brain, mind and consciousness
As soon as the human brain project was announced, a collaboration of leading EU nations to simulate the entire cortical system and its function, the United States government with Obama in the lead decided to enter the race by increasing funds to the brain mapping projects in aims to do what no scientist has done so far; fully map the functions of the brain, or even go as far as simulating an artificial consciousness (Videos below give a short intro to the projects)
The later may be light years ahead, just as majority of the space exploration is today, but it may be one small step for an algorithm but a huge step for the source code of the human consciousness (if it is ever to be understood).
So, once again the stars are aligned and technological paradigms are showing promising results which undoubtedly will make this race just as interesting as the one to the moon.
I am looking forward to the results and am happy that it has been initiated in my lifetime, in my field of science.
So, I welcome the race. Let the best science win!