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Ethics of brain emulations

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Whole brain emulation attempts to achieve software intelligence by copying the function of biological nervous systems into software. This paper aims at giving an overview of the ethical issues of the brain emulation approach, and analysing how they should affect responsible policy for developing the field. Animal emulations have uncertain moral status, and a principle of analogy is proposed for judging treatment of virtual animals. Various considerations of developing and using human brain emulations are discussed.
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Keywords: animal ethics; brain emulation; computational neuroscience; machine consciousness; moral status; moral uncertainty

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Philosophy, The Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford, Suite 1, Littlegate House, 16/17 St Ebbe's Street, Oxford, OX1 1PT, UK

Publication date: July 3, 2014

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