Q&A Takeaways:

  • Our experience of the universe is completely dependent on the brain
  • The ethics of whole brain emulation and the process of getting there are important to consider
  • One may wonder what the development of BCI or whole brain emulation looks like under a Chinese ethical framework
  • Whole brain emulation represents a paradigm shift, similar to the evolutionary leap of having brains to begin with
  • Whole brain emulation is near-term in a historical context
  • In the near term, understanding the basic brain circuitry is going to be extremely interesting even though it doesn’t quite qualify as neurotech
  • Its difficult to define what is invasive.  For instance, MRI fields likely affect the brain if done for long durations.
  • Brain computer interfaces probably need direct neuronal contact to be practical
  • The hippocampal brain prosthetic shows promise even though it is currently quite primitive
  • Neuropharmacology, neurofeedback, brain training, diagnostics, brain computer interface, and neuroprosthetics are very close to development.
  • High resolution recording of neural activity is lagging in terms of progress
  • Our ability to physically render neuron connections and organization is progressing extremely fast
  • We need to understand the constraints the brain enforces upon itself which make its functions predictable, similar to how a computer is made up of analog components but has overarching rules that allow for absolute predictable behavior
  • Often the extremes of technology are overhyped, either destruction or salvation, but the middling ground is a more likely reality
  • The hippocampus, cerebellum, retina, and auditory cortex are currently being explored for brain prosthetics
  • The Virtual Brain Project, headed by Randal, seeks to create an emulated brain so that it becomes possible to develop better methods of measurement and manipulation