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158 MIN READ TIME

Mind Uploading

BY KENNETH HAYWORTH

PETER KASSAN’S ARTICLE IN THIS ISSUE OF SKEPTIC argues that the idea of mind uploading is “science fantasy, based on a misunderstanding both of the overwhelming complexity (and our near-total ignorance) of the brain, and of what computer models are.” Do any real neuroscientists believe that mind uploading might be possible? Kassan’s article mentions one that does—me. So I have been given the honor to write this rebuttal.

Any discussion regarding mind uploading must be about what can reasonably be assumed possible in the distant future, not what is achievable today. I am certainly not arguing uploading will be easy, or that it will occur within the next few decades; but I will argue it is a technically achievable, potentially desirable, long-term goal. I will present evidence that current neuroscience models support the possibility. I will cover recent developments in electron microscopy that hint at the technology needed. I will touch on cognitive models that directly support the mind-as-computation hypothesis, and I will delve deep into the consciousness debate. Finally, I will discuss a recently developed method for long-term brain preservation that seems sufficient to support future mind uploading, a fact that makes this discussion not merely academic.

Possible vs. Impossible

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