Corpse-freezing hasn’t exactly gone mainstream, but most people are now familiar with the concept: you lay out a ton of cash, sign some papers, and spend a couple post-death decades in a cutting-edge meat locker, calmly awaiting the conditions for your eventual revival.
For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of neuroscientists, bioethicists, cryo advocates and skeptics to get some sense of what will happen to those frozen former consciousness-havers. Honestly it’s not looking good for them just yet.
Nick Bostrom, Professor at the University of Oxford and Director at the Future of Humanity Institute and the Governance of AI program
Technically it seems like it should probably work. The freezing (rather: vitrification or plastination) and storing we can do now. The bringing back part may however require the assistance of machine superintelligence in order to repair the extensive cellular damage that occurs during the suspension process.
Cathal O’Connell, Researcher in 3D bioprinting and biofabrication at BioFab3D, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne
All signs point to no. The freezing-down process is critical. Doing this in a way that preserves cell function—especially regarding connectivity in the human brain—is way beyond our current capabilities. Unfortunately, everyone who has ever been frozen so far is essentially turned to mush. These people will never be revived.
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