There is a rationale from both social and personal perspectives that leads to the need for strong adaptability that can be solved by "uploading" to substrate-independent minds. I will briefly state that rationale and then look at the concrete problem of how mental functions can become substrate independent, especially through the process of whole brain emulation (WBE).
The central problem of the paper is how to address the many complex requirement on the roadmap to WBE, given that it is a long-term project and the trends in science and technology are strongly guided by actions with rapid pay-off. The possible futures may be quite different, depending on whether society follows trends that are heavier on machine-centric improvements or those where human and machine develop together. How can one ensure that the requirements of a complex long-term goal are met by the scientific and technological pursuits of a loosely coupled multi-disciplinary network?
I will then propose a method that is based on monitoring and nurturing from a big-picture perspective, selecting successive key focal points for attention. I give the recent example of missing tools for high-resolution large-scale activity recording in brain tissue, then highlight how targeted actions were involved in the emergence of solutions that are now lab prototypes.
Building on that example, I demonstrate 1.) the importance of goal-driven activity that is applied iteratively and 2.) the importance of follow-up activity to take the consequent developments to the level of "application platforms", so that trends may begin to point to whole brain emulation goals.
In conclusion, I will show that this process can lead to piece-wise and sustainable development of whole brain emulation where each step delivers applications and rewards (e.g. brain-machine interfaces, neural prostheses, neural enhancements).