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Lecture 24

CGSC 1001 Lecture 24: Mind Uploading and the future of cognitive science

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Carleton University
Cognitive Science
CGSC 1001
Myrto Mylopoulos

LECTURE 24: Mind Uploading and the future of cognitive science Facing up to our own mortality • We are all mortal beings.  • Modern attempts to stave off mortality • Stem cell research in mice • Telomerase research in mice • Cold saline resuscitation • Printing 3-D organs • How might cognitive science help? Tele-operated avatars • Itsikov’s “2045 initiative” • Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro’s robot avatar (“The Geminoid”) Brain-Computer Interface • BCI: Interface allowing for a direct communication pathway between the brain and a computer • What is Mind Uploading? • The process of uploading a structural model of a human brain to a computer. • Three kinds (Chalmers 2010) • Destructive uploading • Gradual uploading • Non-destructive uploading Mind Uploading: Three questions • Is mind uploading really possible? • Will an uploaded version of “you” be conscious? • Will it really be you? Is mind uploading really possible? • (Recall) Neurons: Brain cells that communicate with other brain cells by sending electrical signals across synapses. • What we need is a full model of all 86 billion neurons and the many connections between them. Connectomics • Connectome: wiring diagram or map of all synaptic connections between neurons in human brain. • Current projects aiming to achieve this: • Human Connectome Project • The BRAIN initiative • Prof. Bobby Kashturi: How close are we to building a connectome? • According to some: Not very… • Kenneth Miller (2015): “The current best achievement was determining the connections in a tiny piece of brain tissue containing 1,700 synapses; the human brain has more than a hundred billion times that number of synapses. While progress is swift, no one has any realistic estimate of how long it will take to arrive at brain-size connectomes. (My wild guess: centuries.)” Even if we do build one… • Determining what connections there are is just one piece of the puzzle. • Leaves out the following: • differences in strength of synaptic connections over time • differences in sensitivity of individual neurons to inputs as well as reliability and speed of their outputs. • The adaptation that neurons exhibit in light of the electrical and chemical reactions that they undergo • “To reconstruct a mind, perhaps one would not need to replicate every molecular detail; given enough structure, the rest might be self-correcting. But an extraordinarily deep level of detail would be required, not only to characterize the connectome but also to understand how the
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