San Francisco-based Nectome has proposed a technique to embalm the brains of dying humans so that they can be revived at a later date (Mail On Line 4 – 3 – 2018) The brain-embalming company is promoting euthanasia to people hoping for “digital immortality through brain uploads.”

Nectome had raised more than $200,000 in deposits from people hoping to have their brains stored in the cloud in an end-of-life procedure. See HERE the company’s promotional article. Robert McIntyre, Nectome’s co-founder, said the embalming process should be initiated in terminally ill people while they are still alive, to ensure that the brain is as fresh as possible.

But this week, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Netcome main partner, announced that it plans to drop a contract with the firm which some claim is ‘promoting euthanasia.’

MIT said it was cutting off a subcontract that involved the university in Nectome’s grant-funded research through MIT neuroscientist Ed Boyden’s lab.

The prestigious institution claims the technology is in its infancy and there is no guarantee that they can recreate consciousness. MIT said: ‘Neuroscience has not sufficiently advanced to the point where we know whether any brain preservation method is powerful enough to preserve all the different kinds of biomolecules related to memory and the mind. ‘It is also not known whether it is possible to recreate a person’s consciousness. Given that we do not know the exact set of molecules required, we cannot say whether a given brain preservation technique is sufficient to preserve all the biomolecular detail required to preserve memories and other information related to the mind.’ 

MIT concluded with a hopeful statement of the potential of this practice

MIT affirms, ‘If someday, we can measure the location and identity of enough biomolecule types throughout a neural circuit, and then discover that simulating those things in concert is sufficient to recapitulate a brain’s function, that would be extremely interesting and exciting, to be sure.’ (read Mit Technology Review, 4-3-2018, HERE)

MIT’s connection to the company drew sharp criticism from some neuroscientists, who say brain uploading isn’t possible. Sten Linnarsson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden says “It is so unethical… That is just not something we do in medical research.”

Our bioethics statement.

The procedure has an objective ethical difficulty because it supposes a physician-assisted suicide and we underline that it is the first commercial initiative that offers persons be free from death by a technological support which shows how transhumanism continues working on his agenda (see HERE).

Photo by ZDNet