Nectome, founded in 2016 by a pair of MIT AI researchers, hopes to offer a commercial application of a novel process for preserving brains, called “aldehyde-stabilised cryopreservation”. The process, which results in the brain being “vitrifixed” – the startup’s self-named term for essentially turning it into glass – is promising enough that it has won two prizes from the Brain Preservation Foundation, for preserving a rabbit’s brain in 2016 and a pig’s brain in 2018.
Uploading one’s brain isn’t just the stuff of futurist literature anymore.
The „digital embalming“ of a brain, captures its every detail for storage over hundreds of years. The idea is that one day, when the technology catches up, scientists may be able to recreate the mind within a computer and, perhaps, upload it to the cloud.
Here is a video of the layers of cells and synapses of a preserved pig brain as seen through an electron microscope. Some believe mapping such a “connectome” could be used to reconstruct memories.
Video Source Technology Review
The biggest problems are that the patient must be newly dead, more accurately, it must be the cause of death. The vitrification process to preserve a brain well enough to leave hope of accurate upload or revival, it has to be carried out at the moment of death. The blood flow to the brain is replaced with the embalming chemicals that preserve the neuronal structure, even as they kill the patient.
Nectome believes that its service is legal in certain US states with robust euthanasia laws, including California, where “death with dignity” statutes have been in place for two years. Even then, however, it doesn’t predict actual use of its services until around 2021.
The other issue of the cryopreservation industry, in general, is that there is no method for reviving or uploading the brain after it’s been stored.
However, if we look past that hurdle to the day we’ll be able to access our mind, all of this begs the question:
If You Upload Your Mind to the Cloud—Would You Still Be You?
Altered Carbon recently tackled the idea of what it means to be human, we took a deeper look at AI hotel who appears to be the most human character
I’ll leave you with this short film that deals with the concept “The Final Moments of Karl Brant” (Pee-Wee Herman is in it if you needed more motivation)
Netcome is charging customers $10,000 to join a waiting list to store their brain. As of this report, 25 people have done so.