Dr. Randal Koene
Kernel, Chief Scientist Officer
Dr. Randal A. Koene is a neuroscientist and neural engineer with a background in physics and electrical engineering best known for his pioneering efforts toward accomplishing Whole Brain Emulation (WBE), a technology associated with the popular concept of ‘mind uploading’.
Dr. Koene is Chief Science Officer of California neural engineering company Kernel, working to commercialize the first cognitive neural prosthesis for memory restoration and enhancement in a partnership with the Berger lab at the University of Southern California.
Koene founded the non profit organization carboncopies.org as a nexus for the new professional field of brain emulation research and development, supporting a global network of scientists and engineers. Koene frequently speaks on the topic of Whole Brain Emulation as part of that outreach and project building effort.
Scientific implementation that makes mind uploading possible:
Mind uploading is often considered the ultimate solution to life extension in that it can preserve and restore life with ample backup and care even in cases of devastating injury or disaster. Mind uploading is also the route towards full self-directed evolution and adaptation to new challenges that our biology did not evolve to cope with.
For example, through augmentation we may become able to handle the amount of data that our society currently produces, the size of our new social circles, greater ability for empathy with intelligences of all sorts, integration with machine intelligence, new forms of sensory input, faster thinking, perfect memory, etc. Mind uploading also seeks to make mind independent of a particular implementation substrate (what we call 'Substrate-Independent Minds'), which is very useful when seeking to explore the universe in places that do not happen to be exactly like the Earth environment.
The scientific approach to mind uploading is called Whole Brain Emulation, which means collecting data at resolution and scale sufficient to capture functionally relevant aspects of brian from which mind and cognitive functions (including consciousness) emerge, and then using that data in a new functioning implementation, a new brain.
There are numerous important questions associated with mind uploading and whole brain emulation, such as technical hurdles to overcome, forms of existence once uploaded (new body, virtual, multiple bodies, etc), and societal questions about self-directed evolution and a proliferation of new choices for mind and body.
It is associated with brain preservation, cryonics, brain-machine interfaces and neural prosthesis. There is a network of scientist who are involved in the various technical aspects of the problem, and some of those scientists and their labs have come on-board with the full-scale goal of brain emulation.