A Prize for Brain Preservation

An article on uploading and preservation of the brain: "Ken Hayworth, a cognitive neuroscientist, has the difficult task of juggling two hats on his head, or should we say brain. With the first one, he and his colleagues at Harvard University are working on enhancing the power of an instrument that automates the mapping of brain tissues to answer a fundamental question that still faces neuroscience: How are the 100 billion neurons wired in the brain and how they know what function to perform? If you think that's difficult to digest, ponder over the bigger objective that Hayworth has on his mind - not as a Harvard post-doctoral student but as the president of The Brain Preservation Foundation: 'My personal long-term goal is to upload a human mind into a machine. I think it's the larger conclusion of neuroscience. This means, I can put a specific mind into a robot.' ... In the next five years, he is confident of seeing an entire human brain preserved chemically and embedded in plastic. This brain, he explains, can eventually be automatically cut into ultra-thin strips and scanned at very fast rates and high resolutions. With these maps, neuroscientists can figure out how the neurons are wired and how they create memories, skills and personalities. ... Hayworth is convinced that once the scientific and medical community understands that brain preservation techniques (cryonics or plastination) are successful in preserving 'high-quality brains', people will come around the idea eventually. He admits, though, that legal problems will remain (currently, one can't preserve a brain before a person is legally dead). Regardless, he has announced a prize of $106,000 to anyone who can preserve a large mammalian brain such that all the synaptic connections are intact using today's technology. Two major laboratories are competing for the prize, says Hayworth, adding: 'We have to image that brain and verify that claim ourselves. For this, we will need the help of labs and more money. Currently, I have zero money in the bank.' But he is optimistic that "this message will resonate. 'I have been talking to some very wealthy people (who do not want to disclose their identities currently). They believe in this and want to see credibility. Once people start seeing results in brain preservation, there will be more converts.'"

Link: http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/resurrectingbrain-forbetter-afterlife/431904/

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