Brainy Quote of the Day

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Brain Freeze...

A scan of a young woman’s brain after being frozen.
Topics: Biology, NASA, Pseudoscience, Science Fiction, Space Exploration

A staple of science fiction on Einstein-relativistic terms has always been "sleeper ships," as you'll see at the link, NASA has funded a study. You'll see them in Star Trek or the Alien/Prometheus products, and most recently Interstellar. Essentially, you would go into a hibernation, whereby your vitals would be slowed to a crawl, and things like power, lighting and food for long journeys would be minimized, at least until so-called warp drive. Like Rumpelstiltskin, you would wake up out-of-time, but farther (and further ahead in time) than where you'd started. Brief sleeping and wake periods for say, a trip to Mars, this still may be possible. The other staple of speculative fiction is uploading oneself to a state of continuance/immortality. This article seems to throw some shade on such a special iconic wish, which may turn out to be just that...

I woke up on Saturday to a heartbreaking front-page article in the New York Times about a terminally ill young woman who chooses to freeze her brain. She is drawn into a cottage industry spurred by “transhumanist” principles that offers to preserve people in liquid nitrogen immediately after death and store their bodies (or at least their heads) in hopes that they can be reanimated or digitally replicated in a technologically advanced future.

If we could “upload” or roughly simulate any brain, it should be that of C. elegans (Caenorhabditis elegans, or roundworms). Yet even with the full connectome in hand, a static model of this network of connections, or connectome, lacks most of the information necessary to simulate the mind of the worm. In short, brain activity cannot be inferred from synaptic neuroanatomy.

MIT Technology Review: The False Science of Cryonics, Michael Hendricks

No comments:

Post a Comment