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
Achieving Unlimited Free Energy
What if we could harness an energy source that provided free unlimited energy? An energy source that is pervasive throughout the universe and all around us, like a sea of energy. The answer to this might be Zero Point Energy (ZPE). ZPE is thought to be the quantum energy that exists in what we see as empty space from electromagnetic waves. To give an idea of this type of energy’s potential, one cup of ZPE would be enough to evaporate all the water in Earth’s oceans.
Originally, it was believed that at absolute zero, also known as the vacuum state, all subatomic movement stopped. However, scientists found that, in fact, there is movement and extensive amounts of energy, which is referred to as zero-point energy.
The theory of ZPE and whether it can be harnessed to produce energy has been an ongoing point of contention. But ZPE’s existence has been proven, and to hopeful scientists it has the potential to be a viable power source. Skeptics brush it off as being either non-existent or impossible to attain as an energy source. But Dr. Garret Moddel from the University of Colorado at Boulder, recently patented a prototype to harness ZPE.
Moddel’s method relies on what is referred to as a Casimir cavity for harvesting ZPE. The ZPE field is close to an absolute minimum energy field where electromagnetic fluctuations force particles to pop in and out of existence.
The Casimir cavity, consisting of two plates held very closely together with an electromagnetic field separating them, creates an even lower field restraining the atomic particles from these electromagnetic fluctuations which subsequently release energy that can be harnessed. The atoms then travel out of the cavity and become reenergized by the universal quantum vacuum, which exists everywhere, allowing for an unlimited power source. And although this may sound fantastical, it is theoretically possible.