Monday, November 17, 2008

Xeroxing the Brain

Anders Sandberg and Nick Bostrom, of Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute, have published an in-depth roadmap for "whole brain emulation" - in other words, the replication of a fully functional human brain inside a computer. "The basic idea" for whole brain emulation (WBE), they write, "is to take a particular brain, scan its structure in detail, and construct a software model of it that is so faithful to the original that, when run on appropriate hardware, it will behave in essentially the same way as the original brain." It's virtualization, applied to our noggins.

Though "currently only a theoretical technology," WBE is, the authors say, "the logical endpoint of computational neuroscience's attempts to accurately model neurons and brain systems" and "may represent a radical new form of human enhancement." In something of an understatement, they write that "the economic impact of copyable brains could be immense, and could have profound societal consequences."

via Rough Type

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