Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 77–89 | Cite as

Brain simulation and personhood: a concern with the Human Brain Project

  • Daniel Lim
Original Paper


The Human Brain Project (HBP) is a massive interdisciplinary project involving hundreds of researchers across more than eighty institutions that seeks to leverage cutting edge information and communication technologies to create a multi-level brain simulation platform (BSP). My worry is that some brain models running on the BSP will be persons. If this is right then not only will the in silico experiments the HBP envisions being carried on the BSP be unethical the mere termination of certain brain models running on the BSP will be unethical. To assess the possible personhood of certain brain simulations I consider John Searle’s critique of strong AI. In arguing that Searle’s critique fails I conclude that the HBP must tread carefully and devise strict rules on how research using the BSP ought to proceed.


Brain simulation Personhood Turing Test Chinese Room Human Brain Project 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhilosophyRenmin UniversityBeijingChina

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