Report by Halima Gombe
US Government funded company, Nectome has rattled the science community with a plan to map the human brain and preserve its memories.
However, the procedure referred to as vitrification is 100% fatal as it would involve assisted suicide or euthanasia. The process was initially aimed at people who are terminally ill. But healthy and even the wealthy are among the 25 people to pay $10,000 each to be on the waiting list according to MIT Technology Review.
The company will preserve the live brains in a digital storage where people can access memories stored therein as anyone would from a computer hard drive.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology which was prevoiusly collaborating with Nectcome on the project has pulled out, saying that such technology does not exist yet and it is unethical for people to take their lives so that their brain memories can be digitized.
According to Sten Linnarsson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, “Fundamentally, the company is based on a proposition that is just false. It is something that just can’t happen. It is so unethical—I can’t describe how unethical it is. That is just not something we do in medical research.”
Most neuroscientists, reports the BBC, think the ability to recapture memories from brain tissue and re-create a consciousness inside a computer is at best decades away and probably not possible at all.
In response to the uproar, Nectcome in an issued statement posted on its website said:
“We believe that clinical human brain preservation has immense potential to benefit humanity, but only if it is developed in the light, with input from medical and neuroscience experts. We believe that rushing to apply vitrifixation today would be extremely irresponsible and hurt eventual adoption of a validated protocol.”