September 6, 2012

John Smart Looks Into Chemical Brain Preservation

Brain Preservation
 
Connectomics
John Smart explores what chemically preserving a brain may lead to - the possibility of uploading a reverse engineered connectome.  The current work  in connectomics has not proven that memories, or even the self, could be reproduced from a preserved brain, but according to Smart, the idea should not be discounted.  
A number of neuroscientists, working today with simple model organisms, are investigating the hypothesis that chemical brain preservation may inexpensively preserve the organism’s memories and mental states after death. This is part of the study of connectomics, the detailed study of interneuronal connections in physical brains.

Posting on Ever Smarter World, John Smart, author of the Transcension Hypothesis, gives his thoughts on the topic.  He writes:

Chemically preserved brains can be stored at room temperature in cemeteries, contract storage, even private homes. Our 501c3 nonprofit organization, the Brain Preservation Foundation, is offering a $100,000 prize to the first scientific team to demonstrate that the entire synaptic connectivity (“connectome”) of mammalian brains can be perfectly preserved using either chemical preservation or more expensive cryopreservation techniques. 
Such preserved brains may be “read” in the future, analogous to the way a computer hard drive is read today, so that either memories or the complete identities of the preserved individuals can be restored or “uploaded” in computer form. Chemical preservation techniques are already being used to scan and upload the connectomes of very small animal brains (C. elegans, zebrafish, soon flies), though these scans are not yet sufficiently complex to extract memories from the uploaded organisms. 
Amazingly, if information technologies continue to improve at historical rates, a person whose brain is chemically preserved in 2020 might have their memories read or even fully return to the world in a computer form not centuries but just a few decades from now, while their children and loved ones are still alive. Given progress in electron microscopy and connectomics research to date, we can even forsee how this may be done as a fully automated and inexpensive process.
Smart is particularly excited by chemical brain preservation’s ability to improve the social contract: what benefits we may reasonably expect from the universe and society when we choose to live a good and moral life. He believes that having the option of chemical brain preservation at death, if the science is validated, may help make all our societies significantly more science-, future-, progress-, preservation-, sustainability-, truth and justice-, and community-oriented in coming years.

Would you choose chemical brain preservation at death if it was widely available, validated, and inexpensive? If not, why not? Would you do it to donate your brain to science? Your memories to your children or others who might want them? Would you be willing to come back in person, if that turns out to be possible?




SOURCE  Ever Smarter

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