In 2008, Anders Sandberg and others published the landmark piece “Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap” describing current and speculative technology related to Whole Brain Emulation (WBE). This document was written to be a starting point for the scientific communities interested in pursuing whole brain emulation. Since then, the concept of WBE has become more widespread and even popularized in editorials like the Guardian and films like Transcendence. In addition, there have been significant advances in neuromorphic technology and other related fields that have further transformed the landscape of WBE to reflect a respected field of scientific inquiry rather than a science-fiction narrative.
After almost 10 years, it is the goal of our group to update the 2008 roadmap. We are tackling this task in two parts. The first will be a series of technical reviews of current technology. Since most of our volunteers are students at various levels of training, this first step in updating the roadmap will not only create a collection of interdisciplinary information related to WBE for interested readers, but will also provide volunteers with the knowledge and skills for engaging in the second phase, the roadmap. The roadmap will describe things like technological and scientific needs, prospects for development, and how these timelines impact the development of WBE.
Technical Review Series
The technical review series (TRS) will be individual, standalone encyclopedia-like entries available on the Carboncopies website that will be routinely updated by our volunteers. Each page will provide an overview of fields of research related to WBE like those seen in the 2008 roadmap (ie, scanning technology, computing resources), but will also include additional fields like neuromorphic hardware, computational brain models, and artificial intelligence. Unlike the original roadmap, these overviews are meant to be an unbiased introduction to these fields of research in the context of whole brain emulation and to provide an overview of the current research and technology. Our volunteers work together to develop outlines for these reviews and independently collect information on the current and past research projects to be included in the review.
The roadmap will be written after the completion the TRS and will provide a foundation for Carboncopies to assist with planning and coordination of technological developments in the coming decades. Unlike the technical review, this publication will include more opinion and assumption similar to the original roadmap. We will detail short and long term goals, subactivities, key problems and uncertainties, the minimal components of a successful finished project as well as crucial next steps and calls for research. It is our hope that this roadmap will be written with the input of researchers from around the globe who are interested in WBE and serve to develop the relationships for future collaboration.