Difference between revisions of "Whole brain emulation"

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'''Whole Brain Emulation''' or '''WBE''' is a proposed technique which involves transferring the information contained within a brain onto a computing substrate. The brain can then be simulated, creating a machine intelligence. The concept is often discussed in context of scanning the brain of a person, known as '''mind uploading'''. WBE is sometimes seen as an easy way to creating intelligent computers, as the only innovations necessary are greatly increased processor speed and scanning resolution. Advocates of WBE claim technological improvement rates such as [[Moore's law]] will make WBE inevitable.  
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'''Whole Brain Emulation''' or '''WBE''' is a proposed technique which involves transferring the information contained within a brain onto a computing substrate. The brain can then be simulated, creating a machine intelligence. The concept is often discussed in context of scanning the brain of a person, known as '''mind uploading'''.  
  
The exact level of detail required for an accurate simulation of a brain's mind is presently uncertain, and will determine the difficulty of creating WBE. [[Brain-computer interfaces]] may permit WBE, by slowly replacing portions of the brain with computers and allowing the mind to grow onto a computing substrate. The feasibility of such a project has been examined in detail by the [[Future of Humanity Institute]] which concluded that a human brain emulation would be possible before the mid-century providing investment and computing power continued to grow. The Singularity Institute believes that an uploaded mind could also pose an [[existential risk]].  
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WBE is sometimes seen as an easy way to creating intelligent computers, as the only innovations necessary are greatly increased processor speed and scanning resolution. Advocates of WBE claim technological improvement rates such as [[Moore's law]] will make WBE inevitable.  
  
A digitally emulated brain will have several advantages over a biological one. It might be able to run faster than biological brains, copy itself, and take advantage of backups while experimenting with self-modification. Whole brain emulation will also create a number of ethical challenges relating to the nature of personhood, rights, and social inequality. [[Robin Hanson]] proposes that an uploaded mind [[Economic consequences of AI and whole brain emulation|might copy itself to work until the cost of running a copy was that of its labour]], vastly increasing the amount of wealth in the world but also causing mass unemployment. The ability to copy uploads could also lead to drastic changes in society's values, with the values of the uploads that got copied the most coming to dominate.
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The exact level of detail required for an accurate simulation of a brain's mind is presently uncertain, and will determine the difficulty of creating WBE. The feasibility of such a project has been examined in detail in [[Future of Humanity Institute's]] Whole Brain Emulation Roadmap<ref name="roadmap">Sandberg, A., & Bostrom, N. (2008). Whole brain emulation: A roadmap. Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University. Available at: http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/Reports/2008-3.pdf </ref>. The Roadmap concluded that a human brain emulation would be possible before mid-century, providing that current technology trends kept up and providing that there would be sufficient investments.
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Several approaches for WBE have been suggested:
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* A brain could be cut into small slices, which would then be scanned into a computer.<ref name="roadmap" />
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* [[Brain-computer interfaces]] could slowly replace portions of the brain with computers and allow the mind to grow onto a computing substrate.<ref>Strout, J. Uploading by the Nanoreplacement Procedure. http://www.ibiblio.org/jstrout/uploading/nanoreplacement.html</ref><ref>Sotala, K., & Valpola, H. (2012). Coalescing minds: brain uploading-related group mind scenarios. International Journal of Machine Consciousness, 4(01), 293-312. http://singularity.org/files/CoalescingMinds.pdf</ref>
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* Resources such as personality tests and a person's writings could be used to construct a model of the person.<ref>ROTHBLATT, M. (2012). THE TERASEM MIND UPLOADING EXPERIMENT. International Journal of Machine Consciousness, 4(01), 141-158. http://www.terasemcentral.org/docs/Terasem%20Mind%20Uploading%20Experiment%20IJMC.pdf</ref>
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A digitally emulated brain could have several advantages over a biological one<ref>Sotala, K. (2012). Advantages of artificial intelligences, uploads, and digital minds. International Journal of Machine Consciousness, 4(01), 275-291. http://singularity.org/files/AdvantagesOfAIs.pdf</ref>. It might be able to run faster than biological brains, copy itself, and take advantage of backups while experimenting with self-modification.  
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Whole brain emulation will also create a number of ethical challenges relating to the nature of personhood, rights, and social inequality. [[Robin Hanson]] proposes that an uploaded mind [[Economic consequences of AI and whole brain emulation|might copy itself to work until the cost of running a copy was that of its labour]], vastly increasing the amount of wealth in the world but also causing mass unemployment<ref name="comefirst">Hanson, R. (1994). If uploads come first. Extropy, 6(2), 10-15. http://hanson.gmu.edu/uploads.html</ref>. The ability to copy uploads could also lead to drastic changes in society's values, with the values of the uploads that got copied the most coming to dominate.
  
 
An emulated-brain populated world could hold severe negative consequences, such as:
 
An emulated-brain populated world could hold severe negative consequences, such as:
 
*Inherent inability to have consciousness, if some philosophers are right <ref> LUCAS, John. (1961) Minds, machines, and Gödel, Philosophy, 36, pp. 112–127 </ref> <ref> DREYFUS, H. (1972) What Computers Can’t Do, New York: Harper & Row. </ref> <ref> PENROSE, Roger (1994) Shadows of the Mind, Oxford: Oxford University Press.</ref> <ref> BLOCK, Ned (1981) Psychologism and behaviorism, Philosophical Review, 90, pp. 5–43.</ref>.  
 
*Inherent inability to have consciousness, if some philosophers are right <ref> LUCAS, John. (1961) Minds, machines, and Gödel, Philosophy, 36, pp. 112–127 </ref> <ref> DREYFUS, H. (1972) What Computers Can’t Do, New York: Harper & Row. </ref> <ref> PENROSE, Roger (1994) Shadows of the Mind, Oxford: Oxford University Press.</ref> <ref> BLOCK, Ned (1981) Psychologism and behaviorism, Philosophical Review, 90, pp. 5–43.</ref>.  
*Elimination of culture in general, due to an extremely increasing penalty for inefficiency in the form of flamboyant displays <ref> BOSTROM, Nick.(2004) "The future of human evolution". Death and Anti‐Death: Two Hundred Years After Kant, Fifty Years After Turing, ed. Charles Tandy (Ria University Press: Palo Alto, California, 2004): pp. 339‐371. Available at: http://www.nickbostrom.com/fut/evolution.pdf</ref>
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*Elimination of culture in general, due to an extremely increasing penalty for inefficiency in the form of flamboyant displays <ref>BOSTROM, Nick.(2004) "The future of human evolution". Death and Anti‐Death: Two Hundred Years After Kant, Fifty Years After Turing, ed. Charles Tandy (Ria University Press: Palo Alto, California, 2004): pp. 339‐371. Available at: http://www.nickbostrom.com/fut/evolution.pdf</ref>
*Near zero costs for reproduction, pushing most of [[Economic consequences of AI and whole brain emulation|emulations to live in a subsistence state]]. <ref> HANSON, Robin. (1994) "If uploads come first: The crack of a future dawn" Extropy, 6(2). Available at: http://hanson.gmu.edu/uploads.html</ref>
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*Near zero costs for reproduction, pushing most of [[Economic consequences of AI and whole brain emulation|emulations to live in a subsistence state]]. <ref name="comefirst" />
  
  

Revision as of 21:45, 22 October 2012

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Whole Brain Emulation or WBE is a proposed technique which involves transferring the information contained within a brain onto a computing substrate. The brain can then be simulated, creating a machine intelligence. The concept is often discussed in context of scanning the brain of a person, known as mind uploading.

WBE is sometimes seen as an easy way to creating intelligent computers, as the only innovations necessary are greatly increased processor speed and scanning resolution. Advocates of WBE claim technological improvement rates such as Moore's law will make WBE inevitable.

The exact level of detail required for an accurate simulation of a brain's mind is presently uncertain, and will determine the difficulty of creating WBE. The feasibility of such a project has been examined in detail in Future of Humanity Institute's Whole Brain Emulation Roadmap[1]. The Roadmap concluded that a human brain emulation would be possible before mid-century, providing that current technology trends kept up and providing that there would be sufficient investments.

Several approaches for WBE have been suggested:

  • A brain could be cut into small slices, which would then be scanned into a computer.[1]
  • Brain-computer interfaces could slowly replace portions of the brain with computers and allow the mind to grow onto a computing substrate.[2][3]
  • Resources such as personality tests and a person's writings could be used to construct a model of the person.[4]

A digitally emulated brain could have several advantages over a biological one[5]. It might be able to run faster than biological brains, copy itself, and take advantage of backups while experimenting with self-modification.

Whole brain emulation will also create a number of ethical challenges relating to the nature of personhood, rights, and social inequality. Robin Hanson proposes that an uploaded mind might copy itself to work until the cost of running a copy was that of its labour, vastly increasing the amount of wealth in the world but also causing mass unemployment[6]. The ability to copy uploads could also lead to drastic changes in society's values, with the values of the uploads that got copied the most coming to dominate.

An emulated-brain populated world could hold severe negative consequences, such as:

  • Inherent inability to have consciousness, if some philosophers are right [7] [8] [9] [10].
  • Elimination of culture in general, due to an extremely increasing penalty for inefficiency in the form of flamboyant displays [11]
  • Near zero costs for reproduction, pushing most of emulations to live in a subsistence state. [6]


See Also

External Links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Sandberg, A., & Bostrom, N. (2008). Whole brain emulation: A roadmap. Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University. Available at: http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/Reports/2008-3.pdf
  2. Strout, J. Uploading by the Nanoreplacement Procedure. http://www.ibiblio.org/jstrout/uploading/nanoreplacement.html
  3. Sotala, K., & Valpola, H. (2012). Coalescing minds: brain uploading-related group mind scenarios. International Journal of Machine Consciousness, 4(01), 293-312. http://singularity.org/files/CoalescingMinds.pdf
  4. ROTHBLATT, M. (2012). THE TERASEM MIND UPLOADING EXPERIMENT. International Journal of Machine Consciousness, 4(01), 141-158. http://www.terasemcentral.org/docs/Terasem%20Mind%20Uploading%20Experiment%20IJMC.pdf
  5. Sotala, K. (2012). Advantages of artificial intelligences, uploads, and digital minds. International Journal of Machine Consciousness, 4(01), 275-291. http://singularity.org/files/AdvantagesOfAIs.pdf
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hanson, R. (1994). If uploads come first. Extropy, 6(2), 10-15. http://hanson.gmu.edu/uploads.html
  7. LUCAS, John. (1961) Minds, machines, and Gödel, Philosophy, 36, pp. 112–127
  8. DREYFUS, H. (1972) What Computers Can’t Do, New York: Harper & Row.
  9. PENROSE, Roger (1994) Shadows of the Mind, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  10. BLOCK, Ned (1981) Psychologism and behaviorism, Philosophical Review, 90, pp. 5–43.
  11. BOSTROM, Nick.(2004) "The future of human evolution". Death and Anti‐Death: Two Hundred Years After Kant, Fifty Years After Turing, ed. Charles Tandy (Ria University Press: Palo Alto, California, 2004): pp. 339‐371. Available at: http://www.nickbostrom.com/fut/evolution.pdf