Carboncopies: Why Substrate-Independent Minds?

  • For an introduction to Substrate-Independent Minds and the projects that can achieve it via Whole Brain Emulation, please see the article 'Substrate-Independent Minds' by Randal A. Koene, as published by Issues Magazine (expected April 2012).
  • For a full-length rationale, please see the article 'Pattern survival versus Gene survival' by Randal A. Koene, as published on

The most valuable part of you is your mind. That should be obvious, because you live inside the world that you perceive and create in your mind.

How can you protect that valuable information in your mind, as well as its healthy operating conditions?

Biomedical efforts such as Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) are commendable, but in the end if you want to protect information against loss then the best thing you can do is access that information, copy it, back it up many times and keep moving it to the best hardware available.

This is what we do with the information that we create in the world around us. It stands to reason that if we become able to access and interpret the mind then we should do the same there.

This is also a way to continue our development, to improve our capabilities to meet new challenges and to keep up with the capabilities of machine intelligence.


The brain implements the mind. It is a complex machine built in wetware.

According to the Church-Turing thesis, if the functions of this machine are calculable then they can also be carried out by Turing machines of different construction, built using another substrate.

Therefore, we call the implementation of functions of the mind in different platforms a substrate-independent mind (SIM). At that point such a mind can operate in a number of different substrates that support the necessary functions. The process of providing an alternative implementation of the functions and of transferring parameters from a biological brain to that alternate platform in a manner that maintains the same mental processing has been called "mind uploading".

Here we have described the ultimate goal of total access and total interpretability. On the way there, there are many partial solutions that are feasible on shorter time-scales.

The Purpose of the Organization is an project-oriented science-curation effort aimed at advancing Substrate-Independent Minds (ASIM).

Our approach is technology-agnostic in the sense that we understand the possible value of out-of-the-box contributions. The roadmap to SIM is always being updated and we can learn from insights that arise in many different areas of research. has a responsibility to inform about the fundamental principles, possible directions of development and the developing roadmaps towards SIM, and of course the major approaches such as whole brain emulation (WBE). seeks to connect the relevant work carried out in many disciplines by creating and sustaining a an interest-network of individuals and projects.

Many of the pieces of the puzzle that are needed to reach the long-term goal are receiving attention through activities in active fields of research and development. In particular, a convergence of of efforts in neuroscience has let to initiatives such as the Human Brain Project and the BRAIN Initiative, which are aimed at many of the crucial elements of brain emulation.

Where pieces of the puzzle are not receiving adequate attention, identifies the need and seeks resources and expertise to address it.

Benefits to Society and Species

If we achieve substrate-independence for individuals it will open up a world in of new environments and enable sustainable living with different resource requirements than our current ones. In effect, we can diversify and thereby improve the odds of personal, cultural and species survival.

By providing brain-machine interfaces and access to brain functions, we can eventually enhance the mind to improve communication, mutual understanding, adaptation to new challenges and further the evolution and development of human society.

Recent Progress has built a network that consists of a core of dedicated scientists in multiple fields, plus regular contacts with top neuroscientists, computer scientists, press, and many more. has hosted a large number of events, satellite conferences, and gained an enthusiastic following that includes many hundreds of members in our Facebook group.

The brand has name-recognition and the organization is directly involved with several research projects. has teamed up with the 2045 Initiative.

This is the time to invest in an organization that puts the puzzle together and moves from technology agnostic roadmaps to a true understanding of best technology paths. We can now pursue feasible technologies toward whole brain emulation (WBE) and substrate-independent minds (SIM). At this juncture a measure of directed effort produces profound results that orient fields or research and development.