18 May 2009

Bostrom and Sandberg's Brain Emulation, Examined and Critiqued. Abstract

by Corry Shores
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[The following is tentative material for my presentation at the Society for Philosophy & Technology Conference this summer.]

Corry Shores

Do Posthumanists Dream of Pixilated Sheep?
Bostrom and Sandberg's Brain Emulation,
Examined and Critiqued


Enhancement technologies may someday give us capacities far beyond what we consider humanly possible. We could become post-human. Nick Bostrom & Anders Sandberg suggest that we might survive our body's death by living as a computer simulation. They issued a report from a conference(Oxford 2007) where experts in all relevant fields collaborated to determine the path to "whole brain emulation." This technology will in the very least be an effective research tool for the neurosciences. It could even aid philosophical research too. Their "roadmap" defends certain philosophical assumptions required for this technology's success. So by determining the reasons why it succeeds or fails, we can obtain empirical data for philosophical debates regarding our mind and selfhood. The scope ranges widely. So we merely survey some possibilities. I argue that this technology could help us determine 1) whether the mind is an emergent phenomenon, 2) if analog technology is necessary for brain simulation, 3) if chance plays a role in creativity and self-development, and 4) if this randomness is so wild that a complete simulation is logically impossible.

Sandberg, A. & Bostrom, N. (2008): Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap, Technical Report #2008‐3, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University.
Available online at:

Nick Bostrom's page, with other publications:

Anders Sandberg's page, also with other publications:

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