Uploading Consciousness to the Cloud, a Utopian Process Full of Risk

Have you ever watched the movie Chappie? A film in which one of the final scenes is shown how humans are able to upload consciousness and place it in another robot. Well, as long as you know, a US startup promises to upload customer awareness to the cloud using a pioneering technique that has been piloted on rabbits.

This is arguably one of the more epic and complex applications than just uploading data to the cloud as is done with cloud hosting technology.

The only problem, friend, according to one of the company’s founders? The process is “100% fatal”. The alias whose consciousness will be uploaded, must die first.

upload awareness
Chappie Pic: TIME Magz

Nectome, founded in 2016 by a pair of MIT AI researchers, hopes to offer a commercial app to upload awareness of a new process for preserving the brain, called “aldehyde stabilization cryopreservation”. The process, which resulted in the brain being “vitrifixed” – which they invented, to preserve rabbit brains in 2016 and pig brains in 2018.

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Influential startup accelerator Y Combinator has brought Nectome in, with the organization’s chief executive, Sam Altman, being one of 25 people to pay a $10,000 deposit to join the waiting list. “I assumed my brain would be uploaded to the cloud,” Altman told the MIT Technology Review.

But there is one big weakness, friend. In order for the vitrification process to properly preserve the brain it must take place at the time of death. Or, to be more precise, it had to be the cause of death: the subject/customer/victim had the blood flow to their brain replaced with chemicals and embalming that preserved the neural structure, even as they killed the patient.

Nectome

believes its service to upload awareness is legal in certain US states with strong euthanasia laws, including California, where “death with dignity” laws have been in place for two years.

Another downside to Nectome is that, as with most cryopreservation businesses, the company doesn’t have an actual method of reviving or uploading its stored brains.

Well, the company Nectome hopes to show fully uploaded “biological neural network” simulations sometime in 2024, according to its website. So, it can be said that the owner of the awareness will be uploaded and mixed with other data in the cloud. Wow, is that possible?

upload awareness

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