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Part of what I do is work at Halcyon Molecular to build the world's most accurate Genome sequencing, which is something that to do, we need people with lots of different skills. My background for example is physics and electrical engineering, information theory, computational neuroscience and neural engineering.
Carbon Copies. What I'm going to try to explain today is what that group does, which is to bring together the experts and projects needed to do something called substrate independent minds. I want to tell you what that is, why it is important and how it can be done. Specifically I want to talk to you about how feasible it is.
The Centrality Of The Mind
So, when we talk about things like life extension, what we really mean is that we're trying to safeguard, those processes that being with experiences, that is going on inside our minds. There are really two different ways that you can do it.
Two Different Approaches To Life Extension
Which of these two strategies is better? Well I think they are both valuable. They should be looked at very concretely. If you're thinking where would I put resources, where would I pur effort, what can we achieve within out lifetimes, then you need to look very concretely at the plans that are there. So that's what I hope to do today.
History Of Substrate Independent Mind Research
Now this is not an entirely new field. I know it has not been talked about as much as maybe biological methods, like when you hear Aubrey DeGray talking about his foundation and things like that. But there has been work going back to least 1994 by researchers dedicated to the pursuit. There was the Mind Uploading Research Group that I inherited from Joe Straut who is the person in gray up there. The Knife-Edge Scanning Microscope was developed by Bruce McCormick who's right next to him. In 2007, we had an oxford workshop about whole brain emulation that road map came out published by Anders Sandberg, who you see in the picture that I am next to Suzanne Gildert and myself. There are interesting people like Ted Burger and Ken Hayworth. Sebastian Seung who popularized the idea of the Connectome, all the connections in the brain being important, at the 2008 annual meeting for the Society for Neuroscience.
We have the formation of Carbon Copies with Suzanne Gildert and myself. Since then, it's become much more mainstream. We have people like orthogenetics star Ed Boyden working on brain emulation and extracting circuitry from neural circuits function emulation.
Whole Brain Emulation
If you want to do substrate independent minds there are different routes you can take. I'm only going to talk about one today. Another really interesting one, besides the whole brain emulation is the brain computer interface route. But it has a lot of other driving factors behind it. It has a lot of commercial potential at this stage. So it was so important that I thought, this year in 2012 I'll just do a whole separate workshop on that.
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Then above that level, the important factor is to capture emergent properties. You have these elements, you've characterized them, and what you need to do, is you need to understand how they all work together, because this gives you emergent function. A good way to find out what they're doing together is to first of all know how they're connected. That's why extracting the human connectome with all the connections in the brain is really important.
Entire Person As A Black Box
Now you can do this black box selection, at which level you want to work on in many different ways. In SIMs this happens in the routes people choose. There's a route called loosely coupled offloading, or, at least that's what we call it generally speaking. where the entire body, a person is considered a black box, and what you're trying to do is model their behavior, model how they act so you could basically make a simulacrum of them and say this is that person. What it means is that you need video recordings, audio recordings, life-logs, and maybe an AI that learns to how to interpret what you're doing. This is very similar to a method called the Bainbridge-Rothblatt Model that is used for what they call trying to create an upload. There are differing opinions about that.
Entire Brain As A Black Box
At the next level, you can take the entire brain or parts of the brain as the black box. This happens for example when you find an interesting or correct architecture for the human brain, where you can say this area does that, that area does that, and you want to see how each one of them works and maybe personalize them so they seem like one person.
Neuron As A Black Box
At the next level, this is where it gets really interesting, you can take either neurons or parts of neurons, like the morphology of neurons, as the black boxes and this is what's done in computational neuroscience and neural informatics. This is the level that I'm going to be talking about. It's the one that is most concrete and most usable right now for whole brain emulation. They're also interesting for brain computer interfaces of course.
Resolution, Validation, Connectome & Platform
Now if you're going to do whole brain emulation, you're going to look for it as a strategy, as a whole map. There are really four big requirements. There are four things you have to do:
[We will continue with part 2 of Dr. Koene's lecture in your next installment.]