Dr Randal Koene is an advisor to Eternal Trusts – a company that offers fiduciary services for the crypto world. Eternal Trusts offers many different future possibilities including options to set up charitable foundations and educations funds for future generations. One area that it is looking at is the future medical possibilities that may include cryogenics and dna restoration. An integral part of that future puzzle is looking at ways in which the brain or essence of a person may be at first mapped and secondly restored.
Eternal Trusts takes this exploration very seriously and so has attracted giants such as Randal to their project. This is one dedicated company. Randal is chairman of CarbonCopies which has as it mission statement:
PROMOTING R&D FOR WHOLE BRAIN EMULATION
Your brain is the orchestra that plays the symphony of your mental experience and your awareness, and that experience is your window on existence and on the universe. Our aim is to preserve, restore, and even improve your mental experience beyond the limits of biology. With dedication, scientific advances within our lifetimes may allow us to record the unique arrangement and responses of neurons and synapses that encode your memories, their active behavior, and ultimately to restore all of that in a neural prosthesis that seamlessly repairs a brain function, or a complete artificial brain. Some of this is still reminiscent of science fiction, but each challenge is well on its way to being a tractable technology problem supported by scientific evidence and understanding.
From Brain Preservation to Reconstruction
Summary of the April 2018 Carboncopies workshop on whole brain emulation
Keith Wiley, 6/4/2018
On April 29th, 2018, Carboncopies hosted its second workshop of 2018. This hybrid-format workshop, viewable both online via a live interactive video stream and in person onsite in the San Francisco area, had the theme of considering how a cryopreserved brain might be emulated via whole brain emulation (WBE). This topic was chosen in response to the recent announcement by the Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) that they had awarded their Large Mammal Prize in March for the successful preservation of a pig’s brain (http://www.brainpreservation.org/large-mammal-announcement/). The winning preservation protocol, Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation (ASC) lends itself directly to WBE and so the BPF announcement was chosen as the inspiration for Carboncopies’ second workshop of the year. The workshop addressed topics such as what sort of model parameters should be required of a whole brain emulation (WBE) so that the result may be judged a preservation of a person’s mind and identity, what features of a preserved brain should be required so as to provide the necessary information for an eventual scanned and emulated model, and what real-world contemporary examples can we draw from for inspiration or as an illustration of the potential progression of such technologies as our technological capability evolves.
The opening talk, From Brain Preservation To Reconstruction, was by Dr. Randal Koene (founder and CEO of Carboncopies). This talk introduced WBE and investigated the technical aspects of how WBE would be performed on a preserved brain, with attention paid to the open questions, such as determining which information from the brain needs to be captured and utilized in an emulation. What information can be gathered from the brain to understand and recreate memory engrams? At a lower level, Koene asked what neural parameters are the determinant factors of how neurons accumulate and perform memory functions for the retention of information in the brain from past experiences, and with the effect of altering current behavior and subsequent state changes in the brain. What are the circuit architectures and neural or synaptic properties of memory and cognition? What library or reference guide might we build of neuron and synapse types and their varying properties? Koene emphasized the need to better understand large-scale organization, such as brain regions and algorithmic models of regional behavior.
Another question Koene broached was that of determining the success criteria of WBE. How do we know that a WBE has successfully reproduced an individual’s mind? Koene proposed the concept of a neural fingerprint, some objective measurement of brain structure or function that distinctly identifies an individual, such that if a WBE exhibited the same fingerprint we could judge it to represent the same person who preceded the preservation. What sort of validation test or data would inform us on such matters? Koene proposed that in addition to neural modeling and neural circuit validation, we might also desire (or require) psychological behavioral validation by comparing the WBE’s behavior to similar behavioral tests preceding the preservation process.
Koene also emphasized the importance of acknowledging model imprecision. No model is perfect and while this realization may shut the doors to philosophical acceptance of WBE as identity preservation for some readers, it certainly will not be considered prohibitive by others. For those readers willing to accommodate realistic variations between a model and its source data, what are the tolerable model variances in terms of error or generalized noise and randomness? How precise must one neural fingerprint measurement be to another for them to fall under the same identifying label? What parameters can we utilize in our model variance tolerance function?
Koene finished his introductory presentation with a reminder that WBE can serve multiple purposes. While longevity is an oft-touted goal, another huge source of motivational objectives is the almost limitless possibilities to improve and expand human cognition as the future unfolds.
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