In 2008, Anders Sandberg and contributors published the landmark document “Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap" that was the result of the first Whole Brain Emulation (WBE) workshop at Oxford University and described current and speculative technology relevant to some of the challenges for WBE. The document was written as a starting point for the scientists interested in the problem of whole brain emulation. Since then, the concept of brain emulation has spread among scientists. It has also been popularized in editorials such as published in the Guardian, in films such as Transcendence, and TV series such as Altered Carbon. In parallel, there have been advances in neuromorphic technology and other technology areas that greatly affect developments towards WBE. Outgrowing the science-fiction narrative, WBE is well on its way to becoming a well-regarded field of scientific inquiry and technology development.
Ten years after the original publication, it is the goal of our Technology Review research team to produce an updated version of the roadmap. It is a two-part process: First, we will produce a series of technical reviews of current technology. This essential data gathering step creates an interdisciplinary knowledge-base immediately useful to readers. It is also a training opportunity for our research fellows, preparing them with the deep knowledge and skill-set required for the second stage - mapping and composition of the roadmap. The roadmap will describe technological and scientific requirements, prospects for development, and projected timelines that affect the development of WBE.
Technical Review Series
The technical review series (TRS) will consist of individual, standalone encyclopedia-like entries made available on the Carboncopies website, and routinely updated by our research fellows. Each entry will give an overview of areas of research relevant to WBE, e.g. scanning technology, computing resources, neuromorphic hardware, computational brain models, and artificial intelligence. The new roadmap aims to all of the relevant topics, which greatly extends the scope beyond that of the 2008 publication. Each overview will be an unbiased introduction to the research topic and its problems in the context of whole brain emulation, with a summary of current research and technology. Our research follows collaborate to generate the outlines scope and coverage, while conducting independent literature research to populate the knowledge-base.
The roadmap will be compiled upon completion of the TRS. It will a basis for informed project planning and coordination by the Carboncopies Foundation and its partners. Unlike the purely informative technical review, the roadmap will necessarily involve judgments and decisions that rely on interpretations of available information. We will detail short- and long-term milestones, action items, key problems or uncertainties, the minimum criteria for a successful outcome, as well as crucial next steps and calls action. We will write this roadmap with input from the scientific community, our distinguished advisers, and iterations of peer review. It is our hope that this process will naturally lead to further collaboration.