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Some of you may have seen the miniseries "YEAR MILLION" by National Geographic.
It is a glimpse of how life will be in the future (despite the title, they don´t say specifically how many years from now). It is based on the achievements science could possibly have in a few centuries (so they say). In the first chapter, a girl is mortally wounded in an accident, and the insurance company gives her parents the option of downloading the girl´s brain into an android.
The parents agree, the insurance company takes the girl, and the parents go to the lab to receive a healthy and happy copy of their daughter. Besides being an exact robotic duplicate, the girl has a copy of every single thought of the girl since she was born. And her behavior is exactly the same.

Of course, she has now more "habilities" (enhanced senses, access to the internet directly with her brain, never gets old, to mention just a few...). And (here comes the weird part) she has the same feelings, the same sense of humor, and loves her parents as much as the original girl.

Human feelings and emotions are in part orchestrated by glands and organs outside of the brain (ovaries, testicles, adrenal glands, and so on...). So with no glands, the brand new computer brain of that girl will be immune to pherormones and many other chemical triggers. So, without all those chemical cocktails, can she still have feelings with her computer brain only?

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closed as too broad by RonJohn, Tim B II, Mołot, Raditz_35, kingledion Sep 5 '18 at 11:54

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ This is an ongoing argument in philosophy of mind. Entire books have been written defending different variations of "yes" and "no", so it's unlikely that any answer here could possibly cover all of the issues. Plus, I'm not sure how it's a worldbuilding question; it's just a philosophy question. (From a worldbuilding perspective, people have written hundreds of perfectly good SF novels with both answers, so clearly there's no obvious answer forced on you.) $\endgroup$ – abarnert Sep 5 '18 at 2:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Philipp Consciousness is only one part of the problem. If I have a robot and I program it to be act sad and be sad, does it feel sad? If everything is simulated, which is has to be because its a robot, does the robot actually feel anything. Or is it just obeying the lines of code inside it which dictate its actions and behavior. $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Sep 5 '18 at 2:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Shadowzee "If everything is simulated, which is has to be because its a robot…" Why? You're assuming the answer. You might just as well say, "If everything is simulated, which it has to be because it's just an electrochemical soup" and therefore humans can't have real feelings. $\endgroup$ – abarnert Sep 5 '18 at 2:56
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    $\begingroup$ I added a little more to my answer, including the concepts of a Turing Test and the Chinese Room. I see you have already picked an answer, but if you want to dig further into the philosophical implications of the question, those are two concepts that I highly recommend exploring. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Sep 5 '18 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Shadowzee Ah I see what you mean. Yeah while it is possible, it's exceptionally difficult. Like even neural simulators tend to simulate very primitive models of neurons (even M-P neurons), whereas a full simulation taking into account molecular motion takes a supercomputer to simulate even a single ion channel in real time. $\endgroup$ – forest Sep 6 '18 at 6:48
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The human brain is a neural network which can be emulated by a computer.

Psychoactive chemicals (like hormones or psychoactive drugs) affect that neural network in the brain by stimulating synapses or preventing their stimulation. If you want to create a perfect simulation of a human mind, then you will have to simulate this too. You can emulate an adrenalin gland, for example, by adding random signals to all neurons which have adrenergic receptors.

This would make the simulation more complicated. In order to copy a human brain, you don't just need to scan which neurons are connected by which synapses, but also the exact receptor configuration of each synapse. The neurotransmitter simulation would also require much more memory and processing power than a "conventional" neural network of the same complexity which just simulates pure neuron-neuron interactions. But if you have the necessary brain-scanning technology and if you are able to throw enough computer hardware at the problem, then neither seems to be implausible.

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Just to head this one off, the answer is "maybe." We know so little about this that we don't even know what we don't know. Whether or not our "feelings" are unique to our human bodies or something that would be copied around with our brain is an open question in philosophy. Some argue that our feelings and qualia would be downloaded along with the brain. Others argue they would not. Others would argue that the concept of an AI with feelings is not even sufficiently meaningful to form a question about it. The topic is that unknown today.

Now if you had asked whether people would empirically observe her as having feelings, that's a different question than asking whether she actually has feelings. It's the difference between passing a Turing Test and being human. I think it is generally believed that a sufficiently advanced computer simulation could fool other people into believing it has feelings, can experience "love," etc. However, we can't answer the question of whether or not computers can have feelings without first defining what feelings are. We can't answer whether the computer can love without first defining "love." Over the course of human history, attempts to define these words have been fraught with difficulty.

The classic example of this is the Chinese Room, a thought experiment put forth by John Searle. In this experiment, the question is raised whether simulating an understanding of Chinese is the same concept as understanding Chinese. That argument is still being debated to this day, and language is a much simpler concept to work with than feelings are.

If you were writing a story, my recommendation would be to pick an answer, and write to it. You will find ample philosophical and biological arguments for whatever answer you choose to go with.

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    $\begingroup$ -1 It's not an open question at all, at least not in computational neuroscience, which is the field where people actually study the brain. Only hardcore dualists try to believe in the "ghost in the machine". The fact is, we know that, if a brain were to be perfectly cloned into another Turing-complete computing medium, it would be functionally identical to a real brain. Now, whether or not we will ever be able to perform such a cloning, we don't know. But from an information theoretic standpoint, we do know. And yes, even neurophenomenologists agree with this. $\endgroup$ – forest Sep 5 '18 at 3:17
  • $\begingroup$ @forest Interesting. Everything I have read says the opposite. For instance, the value of Turing completeness is almost immediately called into question, and indeed it is not clear if it is even physically possible to clone a brain in the first place, or whether physics would simply get in the way. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Sep 5 '18 at 3:32
  • $\begingroup$ Turing-completeness allows any computation. Our brains are, of course, Turing-complete. $\endgroup$ – forest Sep 5 '18 at 3:33
  • $\begingroup$ @forest That's the simplified version of it. Our brains lack an infinite piece of tape. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Sep 5 '18 at 3:35
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what you're talking about. The infinite piece of tape is a Turing machine. Turing-completeness allows for simulation of a Turing machine if resources are unbounded. That's why even an Atmel 8051 is Turing-complete, despite having a mere 128 bytes of RAM. You don't need infinite memory to perform computation in a Turing-complete way. $\endgroup$ – forest Sep 5 '18 at 3:36
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Yes.

Depending on how the copy is implemented. If it runs like a real mind with quadrillions of nodes and synapses firing in a certain order and memory and personality being captured in the relationship between input and output, with some patterned self-talk within the brain.

While the hormones may be gone, the effects may be simulated. Adrenaline streamlines thinking, focusing on the topic at hand and suppressing side talk. Thinking becomes faster, but more narrow-minded and prone to blindness. Cortisol ignores pain signals, endorphins similarly focus thinking around a goal. Empathy is based on a specialized part of the brain that simulated us being in the situation we are perceiving. The effects of testosterone and estrogen on the brain are still arguable, and whatever they are, likely can be similarly achieved.

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