Horizon CDT Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Our Futures in Mind Uploading: Public Perceptions and Narratives

  Angela Thornton (2019 cohort)

While advances in neurotechnology, especially when partnered with Artificial Intelligence (AI), are widely researched, understanding of public response is limited. My programme of research with the public contributes to our understanding of the complexities of developing these technologies and explores public awareness, understanding and reaction to one particular advanced neurotechnology – the possibility of uploading human minds. My methods included a longitudinal qualitative study - which used memory as an enabler for mind and mind uploading - as well as a novel and under-researched methodology – a website which tells the stories of two fictional characters who have uploaded their minds. The website enabled participants to fully engage with and consider the key concepts and was shown to be a valid method of encouraging narrative engagement and transportation.

Participants demonstrated the ability of humans to mentally time travel and the storytelling website allowed participants to experience and explore key themes of mind uploading including ethical considerations and subjective experience. While awareness of mind uploading has remained relatively static over the last few years, favourability towards the concept has significantly increased and this was reflected in an increasing number of people who would upload if their physical body was dying. This body of research contributes to our understanding of public perceptions of mind uploading and contributes a novel method by using digital narratives to research public opinions.

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Public Science Lecture (December 2022) on whole brain emulation and mind uploading.

Public Science Lecture

Pint of Science 2023 - Creative Reactions where art is inspired by science. A musical interpretation of mind uploading

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Pint of Science 2023 - Public Talk

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Press Releases for British Science Festival 2023 

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British Science Festival Website

5 minute segment on Notts TV  (I’m on from 5:47). 

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Article in The Conversation

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Interview in Dazed