IBM has just reported on a project called ‘compass’. (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/11/ibm-brain-simulation-compass.html) . This project tries to simulate the brain of macaque monkey, which has almost ten times more neurons than the human. This simulation runs on ninety-six powerful computers. Let us say, this simulated brain model acts and thinks like a biological brain. Of course, it would not know that it is just a simulation. It would probably think of itself as a real living thing and not something virtual. Would this simulation have a mind, consciousness or even emotions? I think this simulation study may very well lead to an answer to the question ‘what are we?’ I think this is a better question than ‘Who are we?’
On a related topic, scientists think they can now test whether the universe is nothing but a computer simulation (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/whoa-physicists-testing-see-universe-computer-simulation-224525825.html), like in the movie Matrix. If the universe is a simulation, everything in it is just a computer code. Needless to say, we are no different from the machines we create.