The method is "100 percent fatal."
What would you give to live forever?
Would you pay for it? How much? And would you consider leaving your physical form if your consciousness could live on?
Would you be willing to die in order to live forever?
For one Silicon Valley billionaire, that’s exactly the plan, and it’s all being made possible thanks to a startup that is promising eternal life for those willing to die for it.
Would you ever consider doing this procedure? You’re going to need to cough up the cash first…
The man who wants to live forever
What would you do if you had all the money in the world? Clearly, if this life didn’t feel like enough, you’d start planning for what comes next.
32-year-old Sam Altman is an American entrepreneur and programmer who is currently the co-chairman of OpenAI and the president of Y Combinator. Before dropping out of college, he attended Stanford University where he studied computer science and worked in the AI lab. He cofounded his first company at the age of 19 before moving into the realm of venture capitalism.
Already worth billions at his young age, Sam is invested in the future of technology, specifically in nuclear energy and artificial intelligence. But even given his youth, he’s already thinking about his death.
Now, a startup called Netcome is hoping to give people—or at least their minds—a shot at eternal life.
According to Netcome’s website: “Our mission is to preserve your brain well enough to keep all its memories intact: from that great chapter of your favorite book to the feeling of cold winter air, baking an apple pie, or having dinner with your friends and family.”
Their plan? You would get injected with the company’s custom cocktail of embalming chemicals while your brain and consciousness are uploaded onto a computer, ultimately to be stored digitally or in the cloud for you to be “brought back to life” down the line. According to Netcome co-founder Robert McIntyre, “The user experience will be identical to physician-assisted suicide.” Of course, the method is “100 percent fatal.”
All this could be yours for the small fee of $10,000. Oh, and there’s a wait list, of which young Sam Altman is one of some 25 people to join.
The good news is that the $10,000 deposit is totally refundable, which might be appealing for those with the money and desire to sign up for equally macabre and fascinating, futuristic process. Altman, however, seems certain about the technology’s ability, as he believes minds will be digitized in our lifetime. “I assume my brain will be uploaded to the cloud,” he said.
Netcome was able to start their work on a recently-deceased elderly woman earlier this year, when they used aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation on her “fresh” brain, some two-and-a-half hours after her death. The process of preserving a brain in glass, called vitrification, has already been successfully carried out by Netcome using a rabbit and a pig in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
Realistically, however, the process raises a moral debate that the rest of the world may not be ready for. Physician-assisted suicide is still a contentious topic, especially inside the U.S., where it is only legal in five states.
Neuroscientist Ken Hayworth, who is president of the Brain Preservation Foundation, raised his ethical concerns about Netcome’s business model while still supporting the possibility of their endeavor. He would rather see Netcome publish their work in a scientific journal first so that “the medical and ethics community can have a complete round of discussion.”
He continued, “If you are like me, and think that mind uploading is going to happen, it’s not that controversial. But it could look like you are enticing someone to commit suicide to preserve their brain.”
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