On February ninth, the Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) announced the winner of its small mammal prize for the successful preservation of a rabbit brain. We have anticipated for many months that a win was imminent from one of two candidate techniques, a cryogenic method pioneered by Rob McIntyre at 21st Century Medicine (21CM) and a room-temperature method pioneered by Shawn Mikula at the Max Planck Institute.
If a brain is uploaded into a computer, will consciousness continue in digital form or will it end forever when the brain is destroyed? Philosophers have long debated such dilemmas and classify them as questions about personal identity. There are currently three main theories of personal identity: biological, psychological, and closest continuer theories. None of these theories can successfully address the questions posed by the possibility of uploading.
Our currently accepted cognitive and neuroscience models of the brain unequivocally support the feasibility of mind uploading, and much of the technology necessary for mind uploading is in existence in primitive form today. Why then has the scientific community not embraced mind uploading as a cure for personal death? I believe the answer is that they simply have not carefully considered all of the arguments.
This book begins with a rich taxonomy of hypothetical procedures by which mind-uploading might be achieved, even if only in the realm of thought experiment. This is likely the most thorough collection of such procedures yet compiled and should form the basis of any reader’s personal philosophy of mind and mind-uploading. It then offers one such philosophy of mind, along with an analysis and interpretation of the scenarios in the taxonomy through the lens of this philosophy. This book will be an important component of any curious reader’s developing philosophy of mind and mind-uploading.
Mind uploading speculation and debate often concludes that a procedure described as gradual in-place replacement preserves personal identity while a procedure described as destructive scan-and-copy produces some other identity in the target substrate such that personal identity is lost along with the biological brain. This paper demonstrates a chain of reasoning that establishes metaphysical equivalence between these two methods in terms of preserving personal identity.
The concepts behind the terms neural prosthetics, whole brain emulation and mind uploading are related, and in that order their objectives are of increasing complexity.
The concept of brain emulation has a long, colorful history in science fiction, but it’s also deeply rooted in computer science. An entire subfield known as neural networking is based on the physical architecture and biological rules that underpin neuroscience.
We stand at the cusp of guaranteeing the survival of fundamental purpose in the universe, reality, and existence by insuring the continuation of consciousness. This is a far grander calling than merely enabling individual life extension. Existential metaphysical purpose is our foremost responsibility as conscious beings, and computer intelligence is the method of achieving it.