The engineering challenge to make minds substrate-independent via whole brain emulation within our lifetimes @GF2045

Dr. Randal A. Koene spoke on behalf of the foundation at the Global Futures 2045 International Congress, February 17-20, 2012, Moscow, Russia.

Links to the video recording of the talk and to the slides below.

The Global Futures 2045 International Congress is billed as the first congress of the global social initiative "Russia 2045" that is based in Moscow, working jointly with the Eurasian Center for Big History & System Forecasting, Institute of Oriental Studies and the Russian Academy of Sciences. 
The congress takes place February 17-20, 2012, at the Radisson-Slavyanskaya Hotel in Moscow. Congress objectives include:
  • Presenting the newest developments in the fields of cognitive sciences, robotics, and modeling of living systems;
  • Evaluating the potential for transforming planetary civilization in light of the rapid pace of technological development;
  • Analyzing possible scenarios for the development of civilization in the context of new concepts regarding universal history, or “Big History”;
  • Discussing strategic problems arising in a dynamically changing world and the potential for the appearance of a global or cosmic mode of thinking.
Event speakers comprise of world leading physicists, biologists, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, philosophers as well as specialists in the fields of Big History, robotics, brain-computer interfaces, neurosciences and space technology from Russia, the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan and other countries.

The Congress also hosts an Investment Forum, where business leaders can learn about opportunities to contribute to specific technology projects. For program details see:

Randal A. Koene spoke at 10:40 on February 18, 2012. His topic was:

The engineering challenge to make minds substrate-independent via whole brain emulation within our lifetimes

In 2000, Dr. Koene introduced the term "whole brain emulation" (WBE) in an effort to better describe the actual requirements for a method to achieve what has often been discussed in popular circles as "mind uploading". That is, the ability to take all the essential functions of the mind, that which is all that we experience, and to be able to reimplement those on many types of computing platforms. Serious interest and investigations toward whole brain emulation have been going on since at least 1994, though the scientists involved (e.g. Dr. Ken Hayworth, Dr. Peter Passaro, Dr. Anders Sandberg, etc.) were perhaps publicly less vocal than their counterparts in areas where ideas such as biological rejuvenation were sought (e.g. SENS). In spite of that, there has been significant progress and whole brain emulation to substrate-independent minds (SIM) stands out as a highly concrete set of requirements and projects that are feasible with the scientific understanding and engineering of today.

Taking an engineering approach, the core problem is one of acquiring sufficient functional and structural data from a specific brain to reduce the computational complexity of parameter-optimization to a tractable size. In principle, it is possible to use existing technology to map the structure of brain tissue at high resolution to a functional representation by using a well-elaborated mapping library. Realistically, measurement error and mapping uncertainty imply that validation, tuning and error-correction are essential. The parameter optimization step is reduced and isolated by adding functional characterization at an adequate resolution.

Dr. Koene will introduce the concepts of substrate-independent minds, explain the core problem and present those projects (some of which ongoing and some feasible to be started now) which can produce the tools to achieve the necessary high-resolution functional characterization. Together, it is a concrete road-map to SIM via WBE, feasible in the foreseeable future if we make a concerted effort and dedicate necessary resources.

The video recording of this talk and those of all the other talks at GF2045 are now available through the web site. Here is Dr. Randal A. Koene's talk (slides attached at the bottom of this page):

Dr. Randal A. Koene at GF2045, Moscow, Feb. 2012

Here is the official transcript of the talk:

Also available, courtesy of Guillermo Santamaria, another transcript of the talk:

For information about attending this event, please see:

Randal Koene,
Feb 26, 2012, 2:58 PM