Printed: 2017-09-25

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

IEET Link:

Making Minds Morally: the Research Ethics of Brain Emulation (2045 Initiative - 20min)

January 26, 2015

Dr. Anders Sandberg is James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and Research Associate at the Oxford Neuroethics Center

Abstract: This talk will outline some of the ethical considerations that will need to go into any project aiming at creating brain emulations. In the near future the main issue is the ethical treatment of virtual experimental animals under profound uncertainty about their true moral status. Applying a cautious approach suggests to use methods similar to existing animal welfare methods, but adapted to the peculiarities of software entities. In the mid-term, the case of human emulations raises a number of other ethical challenges, including informed consent, handling of flawed versions, time rate rights, vulnerability, and the change of identity and death. Finally, the long-term effects and importance of brain emulation will be discussed: are there ethical reasons that strongly speak against pursuing it at all, or equally strongly favor a push towards it?

Dr. Anders Sandberg
Cognitive Enhancement Theorist — Philosopher at the Future of Humanity Institute. Editor of the Whole Brain Emulation Roadmap.
Investigated social and ethical impact of cognitive enhancement and feasibility of whole brain emulation. James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University.

Studies questions of human enhancement, emerging technologies, global catastrophic risks and applied epistemology.

Computational Neuroscience degree from Stockholm University, on the modeling of memory systems. Joined Oxford University in 2006 in the ENHANCE project investigating human enhancement.

Research Associate with the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology and the Oxford Neuroethics Center.
Scientific producer of a major neuroscience exhibition. Co-founder and writer for EU think tank Eudoxa.

Regular noted participant in the international public debate on humanity’s future.



Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
IEET, 35 Harbor Point Blvd, #404, Boston, MA 02125-3242 USA
phone: 860-428-1837