105 Essays on Infinite Lifespans   Raymond Kurzweil nals from our real senses with the signals that our brain would receive if we were actually in the virtual environment. We  will  have  panoply  of  virtual  environments  to  choose from, including earthly worlds that we are familiar with, as well as those with no earthly counterpart. We will be able to go to these virtual places and have any kind of interaction with other real (as well as simulated) people, ranging from business negotiations to sensual encounters. In virtual reality, we won’t be restricted to a single personality, since we will be able to change our appearance and become other people. The most important application of circa-2030 nanobots will be to literally expand our minds. We’re limited today to a mere hundred trillion inter-neuronal connections; we will be able to augment these by adding virtual connections via nanobot communication. This will provide us with the opportunity to vastly expand our pattern recognition abilities, memories, and overall thinking capacity as well as directly interface with powerful forms of nonbiological intelligence. It’s important to note that once nonbiological intelligence gets  a  foothold  in  our  brains  (a  threshold  we’ve  already passed),  it  will  grow  exponentially,  as  is  the  accelerating nature of information-based technologies. A one-inch cube of nanotube circuitry (which is already working at smaller scales in laboratories) will be at least a million times more powerful than the human brain. By 2040, the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will be far more powerful than the biological portion. It will, however, still be part of the human-machine civilization,  having  been  derived  from  human  intelligence, i.e., created by humans (or machines created by humans) and based at least in part on the reverse-engineering of the human nervous system. Stephen  Hawking  recently  commented  in  the  German magazine Focus that computer intelligence will surpass that of humans within a few decades. He advocated that we “develop