Ghost In The Shell made digitally uploading your brain seem pretty cool, especially if you can eventually drop your memories into a badass cyborg body with purple hair. Even if you can’t do that, though, being able to ditch your fragile meat body so you can live forever among the memes in the cold embrace of cyberspace has some kind of weird appeal, and it’s no wonder that it’s a staple of countless sci-fi stories. Finally, a startup co-founded by MIT graduate Robert McIntyre might finally be able to make that crazy dream a reality, with Technology Review reporting that the startup, Nectome, has found a way to chemically preserve human bodies so the brains can eventually be uploaded to a computer (once that technology is available).
There is, unfortunately, a very small catch that future cyborgs should be aware of: McIntyre says the service is “100 percent fatal.” In other words, you will be killed by Nectome’s brain-preservation system. The plan is for people with terminal illnesses to be hooked up to a heart-lung machine while Nectome pumps “its mix of scientific embalming chemicals” into their necks, allowing them to be kept alive “for hundreds of years, maybe thousands, as a statue of frozen glass.” In theory, the brain can then be uploaded to a computer once that technology is available, and then they can be reborn in some kind of virtual reality.
Or, more likely, the brain will be dumped into a robotic soldier that can be used to fight future wars. This idea is very nice and optimistic, but it’s entirely based on the assumption that the brain upload technology will not only be available in the future, but that it also won’t be horribly misused in the future. Thankfully, only 25 people have put down the $10,000 deposit for a spot in Nectome’s frozen glass statuary, so future society only has to worry about a handful of cyborg soldiers at this point.