SIM, by Randal A. Koene, @ H+ Hong Kong, 4 December, 2011

Dr. Randal A. Koene spoke at H+ Hong Kong, at 11:00am on Sunday, 4 December, 2011

Substrate-Independent Minds

Uploading to a substrate-independent mind (SIM) is a problem of data acquisition. As a practical project, that is what distinguishes SIM from life-extension ideas that involve interventions and therapeutic protocols aimed at keeping an old engine running, despite innumerable potential breakdowns, many of which are unknown. The most conservative approach to SIM is whole brain emulation (WBE), a method that takes as prerequisites only the sort of fundamental knowledge of neurophysiology and neuroanatomy that we are presently able to collect. Approaches such as WBE and brain-machine interfaces (BMI) make the SIM route to life-expansion among the most concrete and feasible today and in the foreseeable future. Dr. Koene will introduce the basic concept of SIM and then focus on ongoing and near-term projects that can together accomplish whole brain emulation in the next few decades. Randal Koene will also demonstrate the ultimate necessity of SIM as a route to minimize existential risk and to enable an emancipated humanity to successfully navigate the balance of upcoming opportunities and challenges.

Humanity+ @ Hong Kong was held at Chiang Chen Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Polytechnic University on December 3rd + 4th 2011.

This was the first Humanity+ conference held in Asia, and the main theme of the event is “Living Forever”. The conference explored recent science and engineering breakthroughs that seem to be leading toward biological, physiological or cybernetic means of living forever. This includes work on life extension biology and cyber-immortality, but also work on supporting disciplines like artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, brain-computer interfacing and quantum computing, that will help us build the technologies needed to dramatically extend human life.

Note: The presentation slide-deck for the H+ Hong Kong talk shown in the video above is available at the bottom of this web page.

In his talk, Dr. Koene addressed the following points:
  • What are we really and therefore what do we mean or intend by life expansion?
  • The definitions of substrate-independent minds (SIM), mind uploading and whole brain emulation (WBE).
  • Concrete steps: The basic elements and four requirements to accomplish whole brain emulation.
  • Questions of Scope & Resolution, and the importance of Function & Structure.
  • Solution Projects:
    • DNA bardcodes, the Automatic Tape-collecting Ultra-Microtome (ATUM) to SEM process.
    • Demux-Trees, Molecular Ticker Tapes, IC Agents.
  • Emphasized projects:
    • Volume microscopy and reconstructing the structural connectome.
    • Micro-neuro-interfaces (or Cyborcells) for in-vivo functional characterization.
    • A Cloud interfacing with the functional connectome (100 billion in 1 cubic centimeter).
  • Putting together whole brain emulation tools with today's technology.
    • Concrete requirements and projects of WBE and brain-computer interfaces (BCI).
    • Foreseeable solutions.
  • Extinction risk, Obsolescence risk, addressed by Elevation and Flexibility through SIM.

For more information about H+ Hong Kong, please see or contact

Randal Koene,
Feb 6, 2012, 8:19 PM