At the book event over at the Cato Institute, George Mason University economist Robin Hanson succinctly presented the central ideas from his new book, The Age of Em: Work, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth. As Cato explained:
A whole brain emulation, or "em," is a fully functional computational model of a specific human brain. As such, it thinks and feels much like the copied human mind would. Economist Robin Hanson predicts that the age of em is not that far off, and that copied human minds may soon be more common than biological ones.
That's a bold prediction, to be sure. Hanson's new book, The Age of Em, explores the economic, social, and policy questions that we may face in this possible future. It also touches on the science of forecasting: What can we know about the future, using what tools, and with what degree of reliability? Even those who find farfetched his claims about brain emulation will do well to consider how sure they are of their own predictions of the future, and on what foundations they rest.
The folks at Cato asked me to make some comments about it. I focused on whether or not Ems would resist being erased. My review of The Age of Em is here. The video of the Cato book event is below: