Sam Altman has more money than I can even imagine, and that tends to make people a little wacky. He founded a company called Y Combinator, designed to fund startups in California's lavish Silicon Valley, and soon hit the major leagues. He's probably experienced things you and I can only dream of, and it's made him yearn for something a little different. Immortality kinda different. Sam is one of 25 people who have signed up to be on the waiting list at Netcome, a startup that say they can upload the contents of a person's brain and store it on a computer effectively preserving you forever. The process hasn't progressed to completion so far, and in the early stages it involves embalming the brain so that when the technology is finally available it can be simulated onto a computer.
In order for the procedure to work the customer would have to be hooked up to a machine, alive, and injected with specialist Nectome embalming chemicals. The company describe the method as '100% fatal'... so there's the catch. "The user experience will be identical to physician assisted suicide," Nectome's co-founder Robert McIntyre told the Review. The mission is to "preserve your brain well enough to keep all its memories intact: from that great chapter of your favourite book to the feeling of cold winter air, baking an apple pie, or having dinner with your friends and family. We believe that within the current century it will be feasible to digitise this information and use it to recreate your consciousness."
Embalming fluid is designed to keep a body frozen and intact and staves off decomposition for hundreds to thousands of years. Nectome has longer term plans to offer the services to people with terminal illnesses, where they can sign up to a heart and lung machine and have the embalming mixture pumped into their cateroid arteries in their necks while they are alive but under general anaesthesia. This would also qualify as physician-assisted suicide, which is currently only legal in five out of fifty states in America. Currently even in those states someone must have a terminal illness to legally kill themselves, and have an official diagnosis of less than six months to live from a doctor. It remains to be seen whether the company can get around the legal system.