'Mind Uploading' Issue Now Downloadable

The Special Issue on Mind Uploading, from the International Journal of Machine Consciousness, is now available. It is billed as the first-ever collection of scientific and philosophical papers on the theme of mind uploading'.


(Propagating waves of activity in Izhikevich's large-scale model of mammalian thalamocortical systems [From FUNDAMENTALS OF WHOLE BRAIN EMULATION: STATE, TRANSITION AND UPDATE REPRESENTATIONS])

The concept of brain emulation is essentially the same as that of well-known emulators for computer hardware. An emulator replicates the functions of the emulated system by using the computational hardware of another system, and it strives to do this so well that the emulated system behavior is indistinguishable from its behavior on original hardware. With this aim, we therefore implicitly presuppose that brain behavior is computable. In practice, most researchers interested in brain emulation assume that brain behavior can be expressed in the form of eŽectively calculable functions for which the Church-Turing thesis applies... As in the case of other emulators, the highest priority is to insure that the results of processing on the emulator are the same as processing on the original hardware. While brain emulation provides access to the operations taking place during mental processes, that does not immediately give us an understanding of the strategies used at diŽerent levels of abstraction of functions of mind.

In the case of a human brain, we will use \mind" to refer to those functions that determine behavioral responses of the system. This involves processing environmental stimuli, stimuli elicited by intrinsic drives, spontaneous thought processes elicited by evoked memories, etc. Whole brain emulation means that the functions of mind are implemented in a substrate other than the original biological substrate.

The idea of moving a person's mind into some sort of receptacle has been kicking around in the minds of science fiction writers for some time. Recently, sf fans enjoyed Richard Morgan's view of this idea; see this article on cortical stacks which regularly update the person in a remote storage facility.

I also recall several instances of this idea in the original Star Trek series; this first one appears to use the brain transplant idea.

ALICE 263: These are our Barbara series. The body is covered with a self-renewing plastic over a skeleton of beryllium-titanium alloy.
KIRK: Very impressive.
UHURA: I should say so.
KIRK: I must say, I like the styling.
MUDD: They were, of course, made to my personal specifications, as indeed were the Maisie series, the Trudie series, and particularly the Annabel series.
KIRK: Don't you believe in male androids, Harry?
MUDD: Male? Well, I suppose they have their uses.
UHURA: How long does a body like that last?
ALICE 19: None of our android bodies has ever worn out. However, the estimated duration of this model is five hundred thousand years.
UHURA: Five hundred thousand years?
ALICE 263: Our medi-robots are able to place a human brain within a structurally compatible android body.
MUDD: Immortality and eternal beauty.

In another episode, What are Little Girls Made of?, a scientist moves his mind into an android body, only to find that his soul is missing.

I'm sure there are earlier examples; I invite readers to contribute.

Update 21-Dec-2014: See also the virtual immortality offered by Arthur C. Clarke in his 1956 novel The City and the Stars. End Update.

See Kurzweil AI for more details.

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