If folks really want to make sure they come back from the dead, they might also think about setting up proper incentives for performing the potentially highly laborious process that resurrection might entail even 100+ years from now. It might be helpful to place a sort of back-to-life bounty on yourself, to be held in escrow, and only to be paid out upon successful resurrection. The bigger the bounty, the higher your de-facto priority in the queue. Let it collect interest and fund the ongoing administration of your bounty in the meantime.
If you really want to make it stringent, make the bounty require a password that only that (deceased) person knows. Best case scenario they do such a good job resurrecting you that you still remember the password, or at worst there's an incentive to picking the fact out of your brain, which might be only slightly less difficult than doing the full resurrection.
Any sufficiently advanced technology that is capable of resurrecting your brain/consciousness, is also capable of subjecting your digital consciousness to eternal torture worse than anything experienced by Man thus far. If you haven't already, check out Black Mirror's last episode: Black Museum. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, even if there's only an infinitesimal chance of it happening.
“Burdening future generations with our brain banks is just comically arrogant. Aren’t we leaving them with enough problems?” Hendricks told me this week after reviewing Nectome’s website. “I hope future people are appalled that in the 21st century, the richest and most comfortable people in history spent their money and resources trying to live forever on the backs of their descendants. I mean, it’s a joke, right? They are cartoon bad guys.”
Best part of the article for sure
Seems like a big bet on the concept that the physical structure of the brain preserves enough information to resurrect a consciousness. If electrical transmissions are at all required, then this would render a brain nothing more than an amusing curio.
Although, given that their target market is already those planning to be euthanized, I suppose the tradeoff of one's brain being an amusing curio vs. one's brain being worm food is not a reason to avoid this service.
If they are correct, it brings up an interesting question: given that the technology requires a slow, planned process to preserve the brain, at what point should a uniquely brilliant person be euthanized, in order to preserve them, rather than allowing them to die by sudden misadventure, e.g. not paying attention and getting hit by a car crossing the street.
Given that the output of so many brilliant people is skewed to when they are young, do we just start proactively euthanizing the top 0.05% of the population when they reach 50, to preserve our best for the future?
This is going to sound a bit out there, but what if your brain is simply an antenna for your consciousness to come through from wherever. Has anyone actually tried to boot up an artificial brain derived from a real organism? I'd like to see a proof of concept that your brain IS indeed the seat of your consciousness, and not just a fancy quantum antenna.
It seems interesting from the perspective of the customer, but the really interesting thing is that if this succeeds, they will have access to brain imaging data that no one else has. You can't normally get such detailed scans of a human brain, because it requires the human to die. It's a business model that allows them to accelerate the pace of research without the human rights violations that come from human experimentation. The real value in this company is in what research arises from the data they gather, while being funded by people paying to donate their brains to research. It's a diabolical everybody wins situation.
“What if we told you we can backup your mind?” ...and never restore it.
As someone who has lived through many backup formats that stop being supported, don’t work, or decay with time this seems monumentally stupid as anything other than basic research.
I applaud their goal, digital sentience, but sorry for any of their customers. They need a pitch that works on the recently dead (eg, current cryo companies) as I don’t think there are any countries that allow euthenasia for life extension purposes.
"I hope future people are appalled that in the 21st century, the richest and most comfortable people in history spent their money and resources trying to live forever"
I hope nobody tells this guy about chemotherapy, he's gonna flip.
Underneath it all, this is a manifestation of an important split in the cryonics community.
One group is (I think overly) critical of present vitrification approaches and the planned future of those approaches. They believe that these approaches are broken, and nothing of value is preserved. I think this is just as ridiculous as saying there is no room for improvement - it is clearly the case that, e.g. nematodes vitrified using the present technologies can be restored and show preserved memory.
That group has a strong overlap with pattern identity theorists, who are quite comfortable with a copy of them living in the future, and throwing away the original brain.
So the intersection of these two groups is motivated to work on technologies such as aldehyde-stablized cryopreservation (vitrifixation) that are incompatible with the future goal of thawing, restoration, and repair, as they are not reversible short of far distant molecular nanotechnology. Their aim is to produce the best possible record of data of the mind with the intent of reading into a machine environment in the future, then discarding it.
To my eyes this is a terrible, terrible, mistaken view on identity, and one that will cause a great deal of existential harm when it is extended from theory to action.
The rest of the cryonics community is interested in a technology path that leads to reversible vitrification in the near future, and some kind of union with the tissue engineering / organ engineering community. They want the flesh restored and repaired, and the end goal of cryopreservation is some form of advanced cell/bio/nanotechnology that can achieve that end.
This is why Alcor, etc, is not adopting vitrifixation.
So on the one hand, great to see progress, and vitrifixation is an excellent advance in tissue preservation in the general sense. It will be of use in many areas of research. On the other hand, pattern identity theory seems to have many of the aspects of religion. A copy of you is clearly not you, and no amount of handwaving is going to make that the case.
> It has also won a $960,000 federal grant from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health
I have nothing against the elite trying to live forever. However, I wish they weren’t using our taxes in the process.
Reconstructing a human in silico from a dead brain is likely to be a very expensive process. Why would anyone in the future be interested in going through with it for any more than a few select old brains when there will be plenty of dead brains to go around at that time?
In the case when you die, but your brain still exists, and it starts processing it again in a new host (computer or organic), isn't that not you anymore? Why would my former self want that? Is this a solved philosophical problem for which literature exists?
There's a company in the US that pitches taking care of your pets after "the rapture" (a once-in-the-history-of-the-world event where, apparently, the righteous will ascend to heaven).
It's a kind of insurance, because you won't be able to pay the company after the rapture, so you have to pay now. Also, the company has to be manned by evil people (as a matter of fact and marketing), because if they were good they wouldn't stay behind after the rapture to execute their contractual obligations.
The best kind of commerce is when you take money and don't have to deliver anything in return; however sometimes customers feel cheated. The bestest kind of commerce is the same, but the customer is happy.
But, SV should be wary of becoming its own caricature.
Although I would not feel immortal knowing that a copy of me would live forever, I would if I could gradually replace each of my neurons with invulnerable* synthetic ones.
* which grew and pruned themselves the same as organic ones
I'm beginning to think that YCombinator will fund anything with MIT on it. Just last month I spoke with a YC founder that was trying to get me to pay $50 to have a 30 minute phone call with people working at Google. Not an interview, not a phone call with some executive--just a phone call with Google's rank and file. I've lost a lot of respect for YC as venture capital firm.
We should do everything in our power to eliminate death. There is nothing meaningful about it. It is totally meaningless and tragic, and one day we'll look back on the days when millions died every year the same way we look back on the day when three fourths of children died before the age of five.
And this criticism of the rich embracing it first totally misses how technology develops. The rich are always the early adopters, and the high prices paid by them enable the industry to scale up which gradually brings the price down.
If you look at any technology over the last 50 years, you see this pattern at work: PCs, tablets, smart phones, etc.
The first generation was always expensive and only affordable for the rich.
So, assuming the technical premises are correct here, who will be paying for the uploading? If it is a trust fund established from the initial fee, then the question of who manages the fund becomes an existential matter - it's not like you can switch managers post-(your)-mortem.
On the other hand, if the continued operation of this service depends on later recruits, that's quite the pyramid scheme that you are participating in.
IIRC, in one of Larry Niven's novels, the funds of the frozen dead had been confiscated because they were monopolizing global wealth, and the living were indebted to the dead.
Can we see if they can "wake up" a fly? I'd like some proof-of-concept before investing my brain in this.
The original press release from the team has much more detail on the technology itself, and is here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb15276833.htm
This sounds just like the transcardial perfusion that I used to do on hamsters and rats in graduate school. After doing and witnessing hundreds of those I think I will pass, I'd rather rot. What's wrong with dying? I am a huge fan of living and of life, but as cool as it sounds to have my consciousness reconstituted in some server closet, being perfused with formalin (and whatever else) before I'm technically dead is not something I place a high level of confidence in working, and it also makes me viscerally uncomfortable.
It seems to me they can image the synapses but I don’t see how they’re going to get the synaptic weights.
Take a look at the picture in the article. You’re really just getting the shape of the synapse at best.
I guess that's one way of managing customer expectation.
This seems to be based on the theory of the connectome, which is widely accepted but still fundamentally unproven. The idea that we are but a sum of the electrical interactions between cells in our brain is extremely short-sighted. Our nervous system expands over the physical limit of the brain. How can we be sure that memories are not activated by specific interactions with other departments of our body. And even if it were true that brain equals conscience, how can we ignore the constant interaction with the external world? Would it be possible to recreate a conscience "in sich" and "für sich", to say it with Kant, without connecting it to a simulation of whatever else is there? In any case, I applaud at this trial. It is intriguing and interesting, but it also is a display of scientific hybris that you don't see often. I completely disagree with the assumptions that are moving this operation, but I'm extremely excited to see where this ends up.
I'm somewhat uncomfortable with brain fixation because there is no way to actually verify that it works. Mind uploading is very far off if we still can't upload C. Elegans. It is more plausible that we would be able to test biological revival within the next couple decades. Going from atoms to bits is much harder than going from atoms to atoms.
Have got a very bad feeling about this. Makes you wonder what really is "You" or "I". Just a collection of memories in your brain? Do people here approve of the idea of soul? Most probably won't because there's no "scientific" proof for it yet.
Sounds like a perfect scam. Rich guy pays you to kill him. He can't sue cuz he's dead.
Maybe I'm a bit jaded...but I don't like this. Or any of the 'anti-aging' initiatives. Natural death is a beautiful thing; it's a part of life. I'll be honored to die a natural death at a normal age. I don't want to live forever - even at my age I feel the world is changing out from underneath me. Friends and family tick off one by one each year. I'm not too old yet, but already appreciative of the time I've been given. Not sure why anyone who values human relationship would want to 'live forever', even if it's just in digital form.
Do they have any Idea which resolution of what parts you need to capture anything close to the original mind?
Do we even know it's just the very material shape, not some quantum or magnetic field magic along with it?
I think we need to completely understand every detail of the brain in order to successfully make a cryogenic procedure viable. But at this point, we will not need this procedure anymore.
Proof that Silicon Valley is becoming a religious institution.
Americans seem to have an obsession with embalming of nearly Egyptian proportions.
Apparently it started in the Civil War, and became a nation-wide sensation after Lincoln's corpse did a three-week tour in in a "funeral train":
Are people in the future going to find bootleg copies of other peoples' consciousness on torrents? When will we be able to check ourselves into Github? After you see that particularly horrifying youtube video, you might be able to roll yourself back to a previous commit and literally unsee what you have seen!
Imagine the ego you could curate when you believe you can upload your mind for eternity. How special you are!
> “And there is a much larger humanitarian aspect to the whole thing. Right now, when a generation of people die, we lose all their collective wisdom. You can transmit knowledge to the next generation, but it’s harder to transmit wisdom, which is learned. Your children have to learn from the same mistakes.”
It's really strange to think it will be someone just like you, but not actually you. You never re-open your eyes so to speak, your copy does.
It seems a bit narcissistic to know you will never open your eyes again, but you would still like a copy of you to exist.
Michael Hendricks' take is the best:
> “Burdening future generations with our brain banks is just comically arrogant. Aren’t we leaving them with enough problems?” Hendricks told me this week after reviewing Nectome’s website. “I hope future people are appalled that in the 21st century, the richest and most comfortable people in history spent their money and resources trying to live forever on the backs of their descendants. I mean, it’s a joke, right? They are cartoon bad guys.”
We are on the verge of great shifts in climate and energy resources. Millions of humans are already migrating across continents in search of food security and an escape from perpetual war. We're already seeing climate refugees from vulnerable island nations, consumed by the rising seas. Entire governments have been toppled in the Arab Spring, replaced with authoritarian regimes installed to protect the borders of the west.
And a few of the richest people in human history are using their unimaginable resources to try to live forever.
This is treading a very thin line between a typical voluntary snake oil (with a hint of reverse Pascal’s wager) transaction and unethical exploitation (and murder for profit, one could easily argue) of the desperately ill and naive. Although I suspect many involved (investors...) may themselves be naive enough to imagine this works. Merging it with a YC/VC “do anything and break any rule to produce growth” mentality - which is great for a business - is wildly unethical. There’s no theoretical basis for “brain uploads” other than middlebrow “tech solves everything” pie-in-the-skyism. There’s no economic basis for getting people in the far future to do you favors. And there’s no medical basis for brain embalming/freezing. If they could do this on pigs and resurrect them after x number of days it would be a different story.
Interesting idea. The phrasing on the deposit gave me a lol:
> fully refundable if you change your mind
Whether you can get derive function from structure is a big if. This is for the vain.
This leads to an interesting dilemma: Suppose there are multiple immortality technologies, such as mind-uploading, cryo-preservation, and so forth. How do you choose? What if there emerge hundreds of competing processes?
Surely having your consciousness in some kind of computer/machine will be similar enough to 'locked in' syndrome to be a torture?
If they network you with others, it'll be a a true system of narcissists.
Ah, the Head of Vecna as a service: http://www.blindpanic.com/humor/vecna.htm
I'm not sure I'd want to be the one to test the MVP.
I wonder if, when they do create this technology, it'll be all that great of an idea.
I'm not really on Greg Egan's page of things here.
Preserve my brain. Liquidate all assets and put them into an index fund. Boot me back up when I'm rich in a new sleeve.
> That way, someone a lot like you, though not exactly you, will smell the flowers again in a data server somewhere.
Why not exactly me?
Arguably, this is religion. Because very little of it is testable now. Or will be testable in the foreseeable future.
Reading this thread makes me realize how much closer we are going towards Black Mirror Universe. Scary.
Why are there so many people excited to do this? Don't they realize it'll be a copy/digital clone of them? Even if they could upload a digital representation of a person's brain without the person dying, it would still be a copy.
This isn't immortality, this is a company killing you then promising to create a clone of you with your memories at a later time.
I wish they could do this to Stephen Hawking's brain.
I can't believe no one has mentioned MLP - Friendship is Optimal:
An amazing work that had some help from some of the guys at Less Wrong.
One of the most enlightening and funny things I've read in ages.
Here is a great talk that led me to reading it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7eUomiDaTo
TL;DR: It's a superintelligent AI that just wants to make humans happy... with Frendship and Ponies.
What if they run two identical copies?
Does Nectome sell gift cards yet?
so, legal euthanasia for the rich?
where do i sign up