This question came up on Quora: 3 What percent chance is there that whole brain emulation or mind uploading to a neural prosthetic will be feasible by 2048? – Quora.
After seeing a number of skeptical responses, many claiming that mind uploading was inherently impossible or even incoherent, I posted the following reply:
I think mind uploading by 2048 is unlikely, but confident assertions that it will never happen strike me as illogical. And if it is possible by 2048, it is unlikely to be done by those who fold their arms and say it is impossible.
Every indication that we have points to the mind being a physical system within the brain. As such, there is no limitation in principle that should prevent us from eventually modelling and duplicating that functionality. It may be centuries in the future, but there’s nothing in our current understanding of the laws of physics that prevents it.
One of the previous replies compared this to the problems with faster than light travel. In the case of the speed of light we have a real obstacle in the laws of physics. Until we find a similar actual roadblock for the mind, such as perhaps discovering that mental activity is dependent on quantum phenomena, there is little ground for saying it is impossible.
Concerns about whether the duplicated mind is a person or the same person, or whether it is really conscious, will no doubt trouble philosophers and spiritualists for ages. But it doesn’t represent a scientific or technological barrier.
Am I missing anything with my answer?