Whole Brain Emulation (WBE), the theoretical technology of modeling a human brain in its entirety on a computer-thoughts, feelings, memories, and skills intact-is a staple of science fiction. Recently, proponents of WBE have suggested that it will be realized in the next few decades. In this paper, we investigate the plausibility of WBE being developed in the next 50 years (by 2063). We identify four essential requisite technologies: scanning the brain, translating the scan into a model, running the model on a computer, and simulating an environment and body. Additionally, we consider the cultural and social effects of WBE. We find the two most uncertain factors for WBE’s future to be the development of advanced miniscule probes that can amass neural data in vivo and the degree to which the culture surrounding WBE becomes cooperative or competitive. We identify four plausible scenarios from these uncertainties and suggest the most likely scenario to be one in which WBE is realized, and the technology is used for moderately cooperative ends
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
Alivisatos A. P. et al. 2013. The Brain Activity Map. Science 339: 1284 - 1285. doi: 10.1126/science.1236939
Alivisatos A. P. et al. 2012. The Brain Activity Map Project and the Challenge of Functional Connectomics. Neuron 74: 970 - 974. doi 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.06.006
Anthony Sebastian. 2012. IBM creates 9nm carbon nanotube transistor that outperforms silicon. ExtremeTech. Available electronically at http://www.extremetech.com/computing/115657-ibmcreates-9nm-carbon-nanotube-transistor-outperforms-silicon
Avatar. 2009. Cameron James. 20th Century Fox. Film.
Boston Dynamics. 2009. PETMAN Prototype. Youtube. Available electronically at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67CUudkjEG4
Brodkin Jon. 2009. Moore’s Law has decades left Intel CTO predicts. NetworkWorld. Available electronically at http://www.networkworld.com/news/2009/092209-intel-cto-moores-law.html
Carell Thomas. 2011. Molecular computing: DNA as a logic operator. Nature 469: 45 - 46. doi:10.1038/469045a
Center for Brain Science. 2010. ATLUM. Harvard University. Available electronically at http://cbs.fas.harvard.edu/science/connectome-project/atlum
Coinnews Media Group. 2013. US Inflation Calculator. Coinnews Media Group LLC. Available electronically at http://www.usinflationcalculator.com
Corrado M. Simon S. and Harris C. 2011. 3M and IBM to Develop New Types of Adhesives to Create 3D Semiconductors. IBM News Releases. Available electronically at http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/35358.wss
The Creation of Humanoids. 1962. Barry Wesley. Emerson Film Enterprises. Film.
Dean Thomas et al. 2013. On the Technology Prospects and Investment Opportunities for Scalable Neuroscience. ArXiv:1307.7302
Douglas S. M. Bachelet I. Church G. M. 2012. A Logic-Gated Nanorobot for Targeted Transport of Molecular Payloads. Science 335: 831 - 834. doi: 10.1126/science.1214081
Duke University. 2013. The Video Game Industry. Duke University. Available electronically at http://sites.duke.edu/soc142-videogames/international-trade-patterns/main-players/
Dvorsky G. 2013. New $1.6 billion supercomputer project will attempt to simulate the human brain. io9 Science. Available electronically at http://io9.com/5980117/new-16-billionsupercomputer-project-will-attempt-to-simulate-the-human-brain
Freejack. 1992. Murphy Geoff. Warner Bros. Film.
Hanson Robin. 2008. Economics of the Singularity. IEEE Spectrum. Available electronically at http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/robotics-software/economics-of-the-singularity
Jean-Baptiste Michel* Yuan Kui Shen Aviva Presser Aiden Adrian Veres Matthew K. Gray William Brockman The Google Books Team Joseph P. Pickett Dale Hoiberg Dan Clancy Peter Norvig Jon Orwant Steven Pinker Martin A. Nowak and Erez Lieberman Aiden*. Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books. Science (Published online ahead of print: 12/16/2010)
Kodandaramaiah S. B. et al. 2012. Automated whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology of neurons in vivo. Nature Methods 9: 585 - 587. doi: doi:10.1038/nmeth.1993
Koene Randal A. 2012a. Fundamentals of Whole Brain Emulation: State Transition and Update Representations. International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4: 5 - 21. doi: 10.1142/S179384301240001X
Koene Randal A. 2012b. Experimental Research in Whole Brain Emulation: the need for Innovative in-vivo Measurement Techniques. International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4: 1250004. doi:: 10.1142/S1793843012500047
Koomey Jonathan. 2012. The Computing Trend that Will Change Everything. MIT Technology Review. Available electronically at http://www.technologyreview.com/news/427444/thecomputing-trend-that-will-change-everything/
Kording Konrad P. 2011. Of Toasters and Molecular Ticker Tapes. PLOS Computational Biology 7: e1002291. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002291
Kurzweil Ray. 2010. How My Predictions Are Faring. KurzweilAI. Available electronically at http://www.kurzweilai.net/predictions/download.php
Kurzweil Ray. 2012. How to Create a Mind: the Secret of Human Thought Revealed. New York: Penguin Group.
Kurzweil Ray. 2005. The Singularity is Near. New York: Penguin Group.
Lytton William W. 2002. From Computer to Brain: Foundations of Computational Neuroscience. New York: Springer.
Marblestone Adam H. et al. 2013. Physical Principles for Scalable Neural Recording. ArXiv:1306.5709
Markoff J. 2013. Obama Seeking to Boost Study of Human Brain. The New York Times: 17 Feb 2013.
The Matrix. 1999. Wachowski L. and Wachowski A. Warner Bros. Pictures. Film.
NIH. 2012a. Actual Obligations by IC FY 1983 - FY 1999. National Institute of Health. Available electronically at http://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/pdfs/spending_history/Actual%20Obligations%20by%20IC%20FY%201983%20-%20FY%201999.pdf
NIH. 2012b. Actual Obligations by IC FY 2000 - FY 2011. National Institute of Health. Available electronically at http://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/pdfs/spending_history/Actual%20Obligations%20By%20IC%20FY%202000%20-%20FY%202012.pdf
PhysOrg. 2012. Researchers build first physical ‘metatronic’ circuit. PhysOrg. Available electronically at http://phys.org/news/2012-02-physical-metatronic-circuit.html
Pohl Frederik. 1954. The Tunnel under the World. Galaxy Magazine.
Sandberg Anders. 2013. Feasibility of whole brain emulation. In Theory and Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence ed. Vincent C. Müller. SAPERE; Berlin: Springer. Available electronically at http://shanghailectures.org/sites/default/files/uploads/2013_Sandberg_Brain-Simulation_34.pdf
Sandberg A. and Bostrom M. 2008. Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap Technical Report #2008-3 Future of Humanity Institute Oxford University. Available electronically at http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/brain-emulation-roadmap-report.pdf
Seo D. Carmena J. M. Rabaey J. M. Alon E. Maharbiz M. M. 2013. Neural Dust: An Ultrasonic Low Power Solution for Chronic Brain-Machine Interfaces. ArXiv:1307.2196
The Sixth Day. 2000. Spottiswoode Roger. Columbia Pictures. Film.
Trafton A. 2012. Robots that reveal the Inner Workings of Brain Cells. MIT News. Available electronically at http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/robots-recording-neurons-0507.html
Tripp S. and Grueber M. 2011. Economic Impact of the Human Genome Project. Battelle Memorial Institute. Available electronically at http://battelle.org/docs/default-documentlibrary/economic_impact_of_the_human_genome_project.pdf
2045 Initiative. 2013. 2045 Initiative. Available electronically at http://2045.com