Human minds in alien bodies

There are primates who can easily pick up tools with their toes. Others can swing by their tails.

Humans cannot do these things. For one thing, our bodies are not constructed to do so.

But is this a limitation only of our bodies, or also of our brains? Do we have the latent brain capacity to pick things up with our toes or to swing from trees by a tail, if only we had the right body to do so?

Once we start using our full bodies to immerse ourselves into shared virtual worlds, this will start to become a practical question. Just how general is our brain’s ability to remap itself to a different body, if given the opportunity?

And if our brains do turn out to be adaptable in this way, what are the limitations of the mapping? Could we learn to be comfortable in the body of an amoeba, forming and extending temporary pseudopods as needed?

Could we adapt to an entirely alien body? That could be useful for exploration of other planets or deep sea environments.

It’s exciting to think that we humans might someday have the sensory experience of entering entirely alien bodies. But it is not yet clear whether such a thing is truly possible. I guess we will need to try it out and see.

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