Whole brain emulation or mind uploading (sometimes called mind transfer) is the hypothetical process of transferring or copying a conscious mind from a brain to a non-biological substrate by scanning and mapping a biological brain in detail and copying its state into a computer system or another computational device. The computer would have to run a simulation model so faithful to the original that it would behave in essentially the same way as the original brain, or for all practical purposes, indistinguishably. The simulated mind is assumed to be part of a virtual reality simulated world, supported by an anatomic 3D body simulation model. Alternatively, the simulated mind could be assumed to reside in a computer inside (or connected to) a humanoid robot or a biological body, replacing its brain.
Whole brain emulation is discussed by futurists as a "logical endpoint" of the topical computational neuroscience and neuroinformatics fields, both about brain simulation for medical research purposes. It is discussed in artificial intelligence research publications as an approach to strong AI. Among futurists and within the transhumanist movement it is an important proposed life extension technology, originally suggested in biomedical literature in 1971. It is a central conceptual feature of numerous science fiction novels and films.
Whole brain emulation is considered by some scientists as a theoretical and futuristic but possible technology, although mainstream research funders and scientific journals remain skeptical. Several contradictory predictions have been made about when a whole human brain can be emulated; some of the predicted dates have already passed. Substantial mainstream research and development are however being done in relevant areas including development of faster super computers, virtual reality, brain-computer interfaces, animal brain mapping and simulation, connectomics and information extraction from dynamically functioning brains.