Tech Start-Up Offers to Upload Clients’ Consciousness to Computer
The tech start-up accelerator, Y Combinator, is investing in a company aiming to upload consciousness into a computer simulation at some point in the future when the technology exists. The one catch? You’re guaranteed to die first.
Through a combination of cryonics and embalming the brain, a company called Nectome hopes to posthumously preserve its clients’ brain tissue, under the assumption that uploading our consciousness to a computer is an inevitable future prospect. But in order for this to happen, Nectome must euthanize its clients in the process.
The company, whose slogan reads, “Committed to the goal of archiving your mind,” has recently attracted the attention of silicon valley execs who have become enamored with the prospect of living indefinitely. In addition to receiving blood transfusions from healthy teenagers, older tech luminaries are exploring the possibility that technological advancements could one day lead to immortality. At least for those who can afford it.
Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, said, “I assume my brain will be uploaded to the cloud.”
Altman and other investors have put down a refundable $10,000 deposit, to one day have their brains embalmed and stored, though the company hasn’t been able to prove that memory can be revived from dead brain tissue.
Nectome plans to take advantage of a recent piece of legislation passed in California, known as the End of Life Option Act, which allows for physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. The company is also straightforward with its clients, calling its product “100 percent fatal.”
So why would prospective clients enthusiastically pay for something guaranteed to kill them?
“The user experience will be identical to physician-assisted suicide.” Nectome’s co-founder Robert McIntyre said, “Product-market fit is people believing that it works.”
McIntyre and cofounder Michael McCanna were recently able to acquire the corpse of a woman whose brain they were able to preserve a couple hours after she passed away. They described their process, known as aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation, as “a fancy form of embalming that preserves, not just the outer details, but the inner details.”
The company recently won a significant federal grant for its use of a technique developed by MIT neuroscientist, Edward Boyden, that successfully preserved a pig’s brain, so every synapse could be seen through an electron microscope.
The idea of uploading consciousness, also known as the singularity, has been explored in sci-fi literature and film, including the Matrix and recent episodes of Black Mirror. The concept overlaps with the idea that our reality as we know it, may potentially be a computer simulation. Thought leaders in the tech world, including Elon Musk, said he believes there is a one in billions chance we are living in “base reality,” or a completely organic reality.
Reality as a Reflection of the Inner World
Massive Tesla Tower Suddenly Appears in Field Outside Waco, TX
Drivers traveling east along the I-35 corridor between Waco and Dallas have been intrigued by a tall, oddly shaped tower looming in the middle of a field in the small town of Milford, TX. For many, the tower is a confounding sight, but those familiar with the work of Nikola Tesla have been quick to point out that the lone pylon looks strikingly similar to a Tesla Tower.
Though construction began almost two years ago, it wasn’t for at least a year until the tower began to draw attention from local news outlets and various corners of the internet.
But now that the company behind the project has been uncovered and some of the project’s goals have been elucidated, much of the speculation has been confirmed; the tower is in fact based on the same idea behind Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Tower constructed on Long Island.
The precise electrical mechanism behind it however, is known as Zenneck surface wave technology, named after electrical engineer Jonathon Zenneck, who discovered that low-frequency electrical waves could be transmitted and received through the curvature of the Earth, to and from a singular location.
Based on the titles and affiliations of those involved in the project, it’s unclear whether this tower will be used to realize Tesla’s dream of transmitting free energy to everyone in the world – if it’s even possible – however, the company behind it claims it intends to bring energy to rural parts of the world that currently have trouble accessing energy efficiently.
That company is Viziv Technologies and it has partnered with Baylor University in developing methods of wireless electricity distribution over long distances. It also says it plans to develop the technology to transmit navigation and sensing signals for GPS and various communication technologies.
“Currently about 17 percent of the world’s population have no access to electrical power, and for many more people, availability is spotty and unreliable,” Truell Hyde, Baylor’s Vice Provost for Research, said in a press release. “This technology has the potential to raise the standard of living for people around the world. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that?”
With over $50 million in funding from investors, in addition to its university partnership, this may be the first time the technology has had significant investment since Tesla built Wardenclyffe in 1906. Let’s just hope the private interest from those investments doesn’t lead to its demise, like it did for Tesla in 1917.
For more on the Wardenclyffe Tower and the legacy of Nikola Tesla, check out this biopic Free Energy of Tesla :