The Turing Church meeting in Second Life on Sunday, February 14, featured a discussion of the recent Brain Preservation Foundation announcement: the Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize has officially been won.
The spectacular result provides the first demonstration that near-perfect, long-term structural preservation of an intact mammalian brain is achievable. Preserving the “connectome,” the delicate pattern of neural connections that encodes a person’s memory and identity, could someday in the future permit nanometer-scale scanning of a preserved brain for mind uploading.
As I wrote shortly after the first announcement of the Brain Preservation Prize in 2010, brain preservation methods optimized for future nanoscale scanning and mind uploading – “cryonics for uploaders” – could be a good alternative to traditional cryonics for those who consider mind uploading as a viable form of identity preservation.
I streamed the video of the meeting to Facebook in real-time via the Facebook Mentions app. The app crashed a few times, so there are six separate videos on Facebook: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6. I guess Facebook live streaming is not yet problem-free, but it is one of the many advancements under development to permit rich remote interactions in real-time, which is very important.
I downloaded all videos, uploaded them to YouTube and joined them with the YouTube video editor. Here is the full video:
Thanks to all the participants, and special thanks to Ken Hayworth (by the way can somebody make a Wikipedia page for Ken?) and Max More for leading a honest and intense discussion on not only the technology of cryonics and “cryonics for uploaders,” but also the social and ethical aspects of cryonics.
Should we rush to human cryonics applications of ASC and forthcoming technical advances, or should we wait until the mainstream scientific community is on board? Please see the Reading list below for written outlines of the main arguments in favor and against.
I understand both positions – my scientific brain appreciates Ken’s sober utilitarian arguments, and my human heart appreciates Max’ emphasis on doing whatever we can to offer a second chance at life to people here and now. Now, I happen to be one of those who listen to the heart first… I think Linda Chamberlain, cryonics pioneer and co-founder of Alcor, whose late husband Fred is resting at Alcor, agrees. Thanks Linda for coming!
I think we can follow both approaches, my arguments are outlined in “The Cosmos and the Brain – A great week for science.”
Thanks also to Bill, Eugen, Extropia, Lori, Luke, Natasha, Serendipity, and the newcomers. Philippe, Randal, and many others watched the video stream and contributed interesting comments (sorry guys for the many crashes, and let’s continue discussing how to do better next time).
The meeting was dedicated to the memory of cryonics activist Javier Ruiz, who recently left us. If you read Spanish, see this interview with some cryonicists including Javier published 2011 in the Spanish magazine lainformacion.com.
Brain Preservation Breakthrough Could Usher in a New Era in Cryonics, by George Dvorsky.
Persistence of Long-Term Memory in Vitrified and Revived Caenorhabditis elegans, by Natasha Vita-More and Daniel Barranco.
Pictures: your truly and Ken in Second Life, group picture.