Your biological body will fail you. But, what makes you you is not your body. It's your mind.
Mind emulation enables your mind to continue to live on after your body has died.
Our mission is to fund and conduct scientific research in order to accelerate our path toward human mind emulation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is mind emulation?
While we are far from understanding how the mind works, most philosophers and scientists agree that your mind is an emergent property of your body. In particular, your body’s connectome. Your connectome is the comprehensive network of neural connections in your brain and nervous system. Today your connectome is biological. But, because the mind is an emergent property of the connectome, if a biological connectome is emulated digitally, then it would have the same emergent property of the biological connectome. Mind emulation is the process of taking what makes you you and emulating it digitally.
What is connectomics?
Connectomics is a subfield of neuroscience focused on studying connectomes, the comprehensive network of neural connections in the brain and nervous system.
How would you emulate a mind?
One way to emulate a mind is to map the entire connectome. It is estimated that there are approximately 100 trillion connections in a human brain. All of these connections fit into a volume of approximately 1,000 cm³. In order to scan all of these connections you would need close to a nanometer resolution. In 2015, this was first done for a small portion of brain, but scaling it up to a whole human brain presents many challenges. Not only that, but once you have a comprehensive human connectome, there is still the challenge of emulating it digitally. There are two proposed approaches to mind emulation: destructive and non-destructive.
What is the destructive approach?
Destructive scanning of the connectome has several steps: preservation, storage, scanning, and emulation. Upon biological death, the body undergoes aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation. This process uses glutaraldehyde to stabilize the brain’s structure and vitrification to preserve the body so it can be stored at −135 °C indefinitely. The body could be stored until the cost to scan and emulate will have dropped substantially. At that point, the body will be partitioned such that it could be scanned with an electron microscope. These scans would be used to create a 3d reconstruction of the connectome and then emulated digitally. This digital emulation could then interact with the rest of the world using a simple text interface or a more sophisticated robotic avatar with digital representations of taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound.
What is the non-destructive approach?
Non-destructive scanning of the connectome is similar to destructive scanning but instead the scanning is done in a living being. The best known approach to this problem is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The highest resolution commercially available MRI machines are only sub-millimeter which is tens of thousands of times worse than the nanometer resolution necessary. Fortunately, MRI technology is advancing rapidly and in 2017 has reached the nanoscale level.
When will mind emulation be possible?
It is impossible to know precisely when the technology to enable mind emulation will be available, but experts estimate it could be as soon as 2045. There are three reasons to be optimistic. First, many of the fundamental problems have been solved at very small scales. It is much more tractable to scale up a concept proven at a small scale than it is to come up with a novel breakthrough discovery. Second, the technology already exists today to preserve and store your connectome indefinitely. Even if it takes hundreds of years for the rest of the process to be available, everyone living today could still benefit if they were preserved upon biological death. And lastly, things that improve exponentially get better really fast. A good comparable is the cost to sequence a human genome which has improved from $100M in 2001 to $1K in 2017. If the cost to map a human connectome follows a similar trend, we are all in luck.
Source: National Human Genome Research Institute
How will the foundation help?
The Mind Emulation Foundation will fund and conduct scientific research in order to accelerate our path toward human mind emulation.
Mind Emulation Manifesto
Sign the manifesto below if you publicly support the following:
- Scientific research should be funded in order to accelerate our path toward human mind emulation.
- If mind emulation enables my mind to continue to live on after my body has died, I would strongly consider emulating my mind.
- Mind emulation should be democratized and accessible to everyone.