See the original posting on Boing Boing
What if we told you we could back up your mind? asks start-up Netcome. According to MIT grad and co-founder Robert McIntyre, he has state-of-the-art technology to preserve your brain in a near-perfect state for scanning in the future once that technology is invented. Thing is, they have to start the preservation process while you’re still alive. They’re pitching the company at Y-Combinator’s “demo daysnext week. Already 25 people have signed up on the waiting list. From Antonio Regalado’s feature in Technology Review:
The brain storage business is not new. In Arizona, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation holds more than 150 bodies and heads in liquid nitrogen, including those of baseball great Ted Williams. But theres dispute over whether such cryonic techniques damage the brain, perhaps beyond repair.
So starting several years ago, McIntyre, then working with cryobiologist Greg Fahy at a company named 21st Century Medicine, developed a different method, which combines embalming with cryonics. It proved effective at preserving an entire brain to the nanometer level, including the connectomethe web of synapses that connect neurons.
A connectome map could be the basis for re-creating a particular persons consciousness, believes Ken Hayworth, a neuroscientist who is president of the Brain Preservation Foundationthe organization that, on March 13, recognized McIntyre and Fahys work with the prize for preserving the pig brain.
Theres no expectation here that the preserved tissue can be actually brought back to life, as is the hope with Alcor-style cryonics. Instead, the idea is to retrieve information thats present in the brains anatomical layout and molecular details.
If the brain is dead, its like your computer is off, but that doesnt mean the information isnt there, says Hayworth.