Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)

Eric Mandelbaum
CUNY Graduate Center
Whole Brain Emulation (WBE) has been championed as the most promising, well-defined route to achieving both human-level artificial intelligence and superintelligence. It has even been touted as a viable route to achieving immortality through brain uploading. WBE is not a fringe theory: the doctrine of Computationalism in philosophy of mind lends credence to the in-principle feasibility of the idea, and the standing of the Human Connectome Project makes it appear to be feasible in practice. Computationalism is a popular, independently plausible theory, and Connectomics a well-funded empirical research program, so optimism about WBE is understandable. However, this optimism may be misplaced. This article argues that WBE is, at best, no more compelling than any of the other far-flung routes to achieving superintelligence. Similarly skeptical conclusions are found regarding immortality. The essay concludes with some positive considerations in favor of the Biological Theory of consciousness, as well as morals about the limits of Computationalism in both artificial intelligence and the philosophy of mind more generally.
Keywords Consciousness  Computationalism  Whole Brain Emulation  Superintelligence  Immortality  Connectomics  Functionalism  Biological Theory of Consciousness  Singularity
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Extended Mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness.Bernard J. Baars - 1988 - Cambridge University Press.
Materialism and Qualia: The Explanatory Gap.Joseph Levine - 1983 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 64 (October):354-61.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Issues of Implementation Matter for Representation.Francisco Calvo Garzón - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (3):397-398.
Available Tools for Whole Brain Emulation.Diana Deca - 2012 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4 (01):67-86.
Fundamentals of Whole Brain Emulation: State, Transition and Update Representations.Randal A. Koene - 2012 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4 (01):5-21.
If Emulation is Representation, Does Detail Matter?Lynn Andrea Stein - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (3):417-417.
Emulation Learning and Cultural Learning.Michael Tomasello - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):703-704.
Coalescing Minds: Brain Uploading-Related Group Mind Scenarios.Kaj Sotala & Harri Valpola - 2012 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4 (01):293-312.
The Limits of Neuropsychological Models of Consciousness.Max Velmans - 1995 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 18 (4):702-703.
Imitation, Emulation, and the Transmission of Culture.Andrew Whiten - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (1):39-40.
Misbehaving Machines: The Emulated Brains of Transhumanist Dreams.Corry Shores - 2011 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 22 (1):10-22.


Added to PP index

Total views
535 ( #16,670 of 2,518,720 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
535 ( #642 of 2,518,720 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes