【大脑保存公司Nectome计划将大脑中的记忆和思想上传云端:怎么办?!】

【大脑保存公司Nectome计划将大脑中的记忆和思想上传云端:怎么办?!】据外媒报道,麻省理工学院(MIT)宣布和Nectome公司断绝联系,因该公司开发一款技术保护垂死的人类大脑并将记忆和思想上传云端。MIT方认为,神经科学目前还没有发展到可以保存所有和记忆有关的生物分子,因此靠保存大脑恢复心智细节很困难,更不要说重造一个人的意识。目前该公司的这项服务仍在试验中未得到推广,但是人们难免对此抱有怀疑。同时,一些专家批判这项技术背后的超人类主义倾向是危险的或欺骗性的。

A controversial start-up that wants to upload people's minds on to the cloud to preserve them forever has lost a crucial backer.

San Francisco-based Nectome has proposed a '100 per cent fatal' technique to embalm the brains of dying humans so that they can be revived at a later date.

But this week, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced that it plans to dropped a contract with the firm which some claim is 'promoting euthanasia.'

MIT said it was cutting off a subcontract that involved the university in Nectome's grant-funded research through MIT neuroscientist Ed Boyden's lab.

The prestigious institution claims the technology is in its infancy and there is no guarantee that they can recreate consciousness.

In a damning U-turn on the controversial technology, MIT released a statement removing itself from any affiliation with Nectome.  The prestigious research institution has pulled the plug on the relationship which requires participants to be killed

In a damning U-turn on the technology, MIT released a statement removing itself from any affiliation with Nectome.

Just last month, the university published a review piece glowing with praise for the 'exquisite' process developed by the MIT alumni.

The tone of the latest statement is very different.

MIT said: 'Neuroscience has not sufficiently advanced to the point where we know whether any brain preservation method is powerful enough to preserve all the different kinds of biomolecules related to memory and the mind.

'It is also not known whether it is possible to recreate a person's consciousness.

Pictured is a screenshot from Nectome's website, which asks visitors: 'What if we told you we could back up your mind?' The company's cofounder admits that the tech is '100% fatal'

'Given that we do not know the exact set of molecules required, we cannot say whether a given brain preservation technique is sufficient to preserve all the biomolecular detail required to preserve memories and other information related to the mind.'

This condemnation of the company and its technique was followed by a reiteration that the field does have vast potential.

'If, someday, we can measure the location and identity of enough biomolecule types throughout a neural circuit, and then discover that simulating those things in concert is sufficient to recapitulate a brain's function, that would be extremely interesting and exciting, to be sure.

'But this has not been done yet.'

The statement also addressed the relationship between the two parties involved: Professor Ed Boyden who works for MIT, and Nectome, co-founded by two ex-MIT students.

'Professor Boyden has no personal affiliation—financial, operational, or contractual—with the company Nectome,' the statement claims.

Nectome are trying to make the science-fiction concept of uploading a human mind to a computer a reality.

Scientists and futurists have different theories about how we might be able to preserve the human brain, ranging from uploading our memories to a computer to Nectome's high-tech embalming process, which can keep it intact for thousands of years

Although they can offer no guarantee of life via the cloud, they do guarantee death through the process.

Nectome was slated to collaborate with world-leading neuroscientist Edward Boyden at MIT after receiving a $960,000 (£683,000) federal grant from the US National Institute of Mental Health.

Robert McIntyre, Nectome's cofounder, also won an $26,000 prize from the Brain Preservation Foundation for preserving a pig's brain by using strong chemicals to suspend neurons and synapses, then chilling them in frigidly cold temperatures.

Despite the award-wining process and the substantial funding, the field is still barely into its infancy.

It could well be that a $10,000 (£7,100) deposit to be put on a waiting list for the lethal procedure, did not sit well with the ethics committee at the university.

Despite the inevitable demise of all customers, 25 customers have been added to Nectome's wait list already.

'You can think of what we do as a fancy form of embalming that preserves not just the outer details but the inner details,' Robert McIntyre told MIT.

Some users seemed enthused by the idea of preserving their mind in the cloud forever

-Some users seemed enthused by the idea of preserving their mind in the cloud forever

Some Twitter users expressed skepticism around Nectome's technology which charges $10,000 (£7,100) deposit to be put on a waiting list for the lethal procedure

-Some Twitter users expressed skepticism around Nectome's technology which charges $10,000 (£7,100) deposit to be put on a waiting list for the lethal procedure

The company uses a chemical solution that can keep the body intact for hundreds or thousands of years as a statue of frozen glass, MIT said previously.

Speaking to prospective customers, Nectome positions its service as: 'What if we told you we could back up your mind?'

But the key to being able to recreate a person's consciousness involves accessing the organ's 'connectome.'

A connectome is the complex web of neural connections in the brain, often referred to as the brain's wiring system.

Nectome claims it has figured out a way to embalm the connectome as well.

The firm is trying to sell preserving your brain as a service that's available to the public.

However, Nectome's services likely won't be publicly available for a while, as the company still has to prove memories can be found in dead tissue.

'The product is '100% fatal,' McIntyre said.

'That is why we are uniquely situated among the Y Combinator companies,' he added.

Some Twitter users expressed skepticism around Nectome's technology, while others seemed were enthused by the idea of preserving their mind in the cloud forever.

For Nectome to successfully upload a person's memories, the brain has to be fresh.

That's why in February the company obtained the body of a recently deceased elderly woman.

In the first demonstration of the technology on a human brain, they were able to begin preserving her brain just 2.5 hours after her death. In total, the preservation process takes six hours.

It's unclear how old the woman was, her cause of death or how much Nectome paid for her corpse.

McIntyre said the woman's brain was 'one of the best-preserved ever,' albeit it becoming damaged after she had been dead a few hours.

The woman's brain will eventually be sliced into 'paper-thin sheets' for research and analysis with an electron microscope.

Nectome centers around the idea of transhumanism, or that the human body can evolve beyond its current form with the help of scientists and technology. The idea is widely debated

Next, McIntyre wants to try out Nectome's technology on a person planning doctor-assisted suicide due to a mental illness.

The firm has spoken to lawyers who are familiar with the laws around doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients and many believe the company's services will be legal.

'The user experience will be identical to physician-assisted suicide,' McIntyre said

'Product-market fit is people believing that it works,' he added.

McIntyre believes Nectome fits in the same category as companies that develop technologies like quantum computing.

'Those companies also can't sell anything now, but there is a lot of interest in the technologies that could be revolutionary if they are made to work,' McIntyre said.

'I do think that brain preservation has amazing commercial potential,' he explained.

Brain preservation has been criticized by many experts who say 'transhumanism' is wrong.

Transhumanism is the belief that the human body can evolve beyond its current form with the help of scientists and technology.

The idea has been explored at length by futurists, scientists and science fiction junkies alike.

Some experts say Nectome shouldn't attempt to offer its services commercially before its findings are published in a medical journal.

Others say transhumanism is fraudulent.

'Burdening future generations with our brain banks is just comically arrogant,' McGill University neuroscientist Michael Hendricks told MIT.

'Aren't we leaving them with enough problems?,' he added.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5573185/MIT-cuts-ties-100-cent-fatal-brain-preserving-firm-Nectome.html


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