Will we be immortal in 2045? This is what science should achieve so that we can download our brain in a virtual beyond

The illusion of a first time, apathy on Sunday afternoons, the beauty of a sunset, nerves before an exam, that unexpected journey, a hug just in time ... Life i

Will we be immortal in 2045?
 This is what science should achieve so that we can download our brain in a virtual beyond

The illusion of a first time, apathy on Sunday afternoons, the beauty of a sunset, nerves before an exam, that unexpected journey, a hug just in time ... Life is moments, sometimes special, Other inconsequential, and sometimes lived with such intensity that are recorded somewhere in our brain and forge our memory, our identity and our way of understanding (and facing) life.

The memories, even the bitter ones, are better than nothing. One way to stay through time and emotions that we cling to our worst fear: death. The eternal crossroads of wanting to be what we can never be again, but ... and if we could continue to be it? What if we could live all those memories again? What if we could be ourselves again, despite having said goodbye to our body?

Immortality sounds like science fiction, but there is one who has dared to put on: 2045. It is the businessman's plan and millionaire Russian Dmitry Itskov, who defends that in just over 20 years we can dream of an eternal life in the form of avatars . The plan is to download your brain, make a digital copy and convert it into a computer simulation. That is, resurrect and live again on a data server. Before crossing this crazy entrepreneur, it should be said that behind there is a team of scientists willing to try. The same horizon Vaticina Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering of Google.

There are even companies that have been born for this purpose, such as Lastadounidense Nectome, founded by MIT graduates and with the economic support of the Incubator of Sillicon Valley and Combinator. Its objective is to preserve brains using a high-tech embalming process so that in the future you can download the mind in a supercomputer. An opportunity also to have at our disposal the wisdom of previous generations.

Brain conservation is a recurring theme in the seventh art, futuristic literature or television series. One of the best collects the ideal of these visionaries is Upload (Amazon Prime Video), which premieres its second season on March 11. Set in 2033, tell the story of a young programmer who suffers an accident with his car and, not to die in operating room, he decides to download his mind and insert her into a virtual environment that has made immortality possible.

Transhumanism may run the danger of becoming a kind of technological religion that takes advantage of our fear of dying, but there is up to fact that immortality will come one day (even if it is very distant).

Both in fiction and real-life, the most creepy part of the process - is that the brain embalming is lethal, but this must be alive, so the plan is only viable in the case of assisted death in Sick terminals. And it is at this point where all the alarms begin to jump.

MIT himself, which at first approved financing Nectome's research, came out of the photo four years ago with a statement. "Neuroscience has not advanced enough to know if any method of preservation of the brain is powerful enough to preserve all types of biomolecules related to memory and mind. Nor is it known if it is possible to recreate a person's consciousness ".

But it is precisely in the uncertainty where these companies are shielded. What cooks up there is just as mysterious than the content of a black box. So, if the way in which our brain works is something that neuroscience has not yet been able to explain ... Why attack something impossible?

Our brain integrates about 86,000 million neurons, interconnected and specialized cells at the reception of stimuli. It is the organ that allows us to contemplate and have knowledge of the world and ourselves through consciousness, but to understand their mental activity through its biological structure is still a mystery. The reason? That each brain is unique, as well as its way of storing the information.

The initial phase is an automatic record, but it is not its subsequent coding: of all that we are sensorially capable of capturing, we select and interpret that reality according to past experiences, ideas, beliefs ... in that process that modulates what, How much and how we remember, can even influence sleep times or if the person has had a bad day.

"The brain is our essence, there is everything. The abstraction, the imagination, the thoughts ... everything is a product of the brain and its circuits and connections, but how all that gives rise to that cognitive process is a mystery," explains Javier of Felipe, neuroanatomista of the Cajal del CSIC Institute in Madrid and CAJAL BLUE BRAIN program, integrated at the Blue Brain Project, an initiative of Swiss origin founded by Professor Henry Makram in 2005. The goal, starting from the brain of a rodent and Finishing on the human, it is to elaborate the most detailed digital model until the date of architecture and brain functions.

The first challenge is in mapping that process and know exactly how it comes from that physical substrate of interconnected cells to our mental world, to our feelings and our memory, because they are those connections that define who we are. But is it possible to replicate the complexity of a human brain, it is possible to codify beauty, love, sadness, intuition, the way you enjoy a sunset?

"Every man is a sculptor of his own brain, you are adapting to the new circumstances and generas new connections, everything is changing. The brain information is dynamic. How is something right?"

According to Randal Koene, scientific director of the ITSKOV Russian Initiative, "The brain converts information entries and sensory data into answers, in our behavior. And it does it through computing." That is the starting point of the theory of brain transfer to a supercomputer.

"Our brain is a machine, yes, but created by nature, it is true that in brain reconstruction has progressed a lot in a very short time, technologies and techniques that 20 years ago was thought that they were a dream. What was science Fiction Two decades ago now is a reality, "defends Felipe.

The problem is that the advances in this field are slow. The human connectoration project can be compared with the human genome, which was achieved in 15 years, but neuroscientists have something more complicated than geneticists, for the volume of data and because almost everything is known is based mainly on Experiments with animals.

The Felipe Neuroanatomist Laboratory is one of the few where the brain neurons are being studied at the micro structural level, the synapse ... right now they are rebuilding the brain of a mouse and in a few weeks he travels to Switzerland, where they are starting to Rebuild a human cortical circuit based on data from autopsies, mathematical models and simulations that are playing in an in silico circuit.

"The cortical column is an operating unit of the cerebral cortex of just 3 millimeters long by 1 mm wide, and there are thousands in the brain," explains Manuel Martín-Loeches, Professor of Psychobiology and responsible for the Cognitive Neuroscience Section of the Mixed Center UCM-ISCIII of human evolution and behavior. "Many of the connections may be dispensing or redundant and that a good simulation of a brain does not need all, but we are far from getting the minimally necessary total of a brain on a computer, there is still no sufficient support for so much data . It can be feasible to have the memories of a person or his wisdom on a computer, but it is something distant, "he adds.

Addressing research interdisciplinary is key, as well as sharing data at a global level. Thus, it is not casual that signatures as IBM are very present in projects such as the Blue Brain, active in several European countries. A huge computing power is needed, as well as the sum of other disciplines: engineers who work with images, mathematicians, physiology experts, anatomistas ...

But still resolving all these challenges, could we wake up in a virtual world and feel ourselves? Some of the biggest researchers in the field of consciousness, such as Christof Koch, defend that if the Internet was even more complex could generate conscious processes.

"We must bear in mind that our brain is inside a body with which it communicates. An isolated brain ... How will it work? Would all sensory, visual information ... can you put electrodes in the visual crust and generate images or memories through stimuli, but you would not be in your natural environment, "says Felipe.

From the Spanish company of Neurotechnology Bitbrain point out that if the goal is to be able to download your brain in another system to continue living on your body, the experience would be disappointing. "You would not be able to experience the world in the same way and surely you would have just had serious doubts about the meaning of all the information stored above. The brain is a fundamental part of our self, but it is not the only thing that makes us be what What are we? The person who would live again would not be the same ".

Many label the work of signatures such as Nectome of commercial phenomenon, similar to the cryogenization of corpses in order to resuscitate them in the future, something that is being offered by decades in the market without having been solved many of the damage that their own Technique produces in tissues.

"In a capitalist world sometimes perhaps a bit unbocked, many things serve to do business without the customer really take anything in return, and this could be the case, it is true that the long-term objectives and consequences of many of many of These businesses can be very beneficial for humanity. The world works like this, "concludes Martín-Loehes.

There would also be a lot to say about the ethical dilemma that would involve getting into a person's mind. Will there be data protection law capable of protecting something like that?

At the moment, on the Nectome waiting list there are 25 people who have booked their place in the beyond virtual by the modest price of $ 10,000. We assume that reimbursable the case, of course.

Date Of Update: 27 February 2022, 19:08

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