Flash Freezing Your Brain To Become Immortal Is Not Only Super Unrealistic, It’s Unethical, Too

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The idea is simple, really.

Your body is flooded with embalming fluid, your brain is tucked into a freezer, and finally (and this is where researchers are currently a bit fuzzy on the details) science progresses to the point where it can reverse-engineer the human brain.

Voilà! Your digital self lives on forever. One more thing, though: You have to die first.

Not buying it? Neither are the neuroscientists at MIT. They’re calling bullshit on startup Netctome’s plans to backup your consciousness. MIT Media Lab announced it will sever any ties it has with Nectome — including a contract with Media Lab professor Edward Boyden — after the controversial startup caused an outpouring of criticism from the neuroscience community.

“It is so unethical—I can’t describe how unethical it is,” Sten Linnarsson, scientist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, told MIT Technology Review. MIT Media Lab also called the idea unrealistic: “Neuroscience has not sufficiently advanced to the point where we know whether any brain preservation method is powerful enough to preserve all the different kinds of biomolecules related to memory and the mind.”

Nectome issued a statement in response, stating that it would only go ahead with the support of the scientific community. “We believe that rushing to apply vitrification today would be extremely irresponsible and hurt eventual adoption of a validated protocol.” Well, that sounds a lot more reasonable.

Regardless, Netcome has amassed a waiting list of volunteers who are ready to get their brains put on ice, collecting $ 200,000 in the process. That amount sounds like a promising start. But we’ll have to see what the startup’s financial future looks like now that MIT has pulled out entirely.

Still, MIT Media Lab isn’t ready to completely discard the idea as a whole: “It’s possible that someday we will be able to simulate, in a computer, neural circuits with great accuracy, based on detailed enough biomolecular maps.”

But, let’s call a spade a spade. The concept of a digital consciousness is science fiction. And literally suggesting to euthanize the terminally ill by pumping their body with embalming fluid is bound to raise some eyebrows — to say the very least. The science isn’t there yet, so let’s all take a chill pill together, and wait for the technology to be ready. And let’s do it all before we ask people to give up their lives for some fantastical idea.

The post Flash Freezing Your Brain To Become Immortal Is Not Only Super Unrealistic, It’s Unethical, Too appeared first on Futurism.

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Apple says the modular Mac Pro won’t arrive until 2019, but it’s still listening

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A little under a year ago, Apple tried to assuage everyone’s fears that it had given up on the Mac Pro for good. At the time, it said the device wouldn’t arrive until 2018 at the earliest, and gave us the beastly iMac Pro to whet our appetites in the meantime. Now the company has made it clear we won’t get our hands on the top-of-the-line, modular Mac Pro until 2019. The company recently invited TechCrunch back to its campus to discuss the new Mac Pro, and Apple’s strategy for creating the new device. The entire piece is worth a read if you’re…

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VICE News Posts a Glimpse of What It’s Like to Be a Part of Train Jam 2018

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As anyone who is a regular reader of TouchArcade probably knows, we took part in Train Jam 2018 leading up to our week at GDC 2018 last month. If you’re unfamiliar, Train Jam began five years ago and is the brainchild of developer and all around game industry bright spot Adriel Wallick and it tasks developers traveling to GDC to create a game in the 50+ hours it takes to ride an Amtrak train from Chicago to San Francisco where GDC takes place. The jam has only grown each year since it began, and this year’s Train Jam sold out an entire train’s worth of people, which equals roughly 340 riders. The folks from VICE caught wind of Train Jam and decided to tag along for the ride too. The result is this 6-minute video which captures some of the people jamming on the train and their stories, some of the gorgeous scenery, and the all-around great vibes of the entire event.

While the above video is a really cool snippet of Train Jam 2018, it definitely doesn’t encompass everything, and in all honestly you could easily make a 90-minute documentary about the event and still not be able to touch on everything. Eli attended Train Jam last year and gushed so much about it he convinced me to give it a shot this year. I was hesitant, as I live near San Francisco and so I’d be flying all the way to Chicago just to ride back on a train to where I came from, which seems a bit absurd. Also, GDC by itself is such an exhausting event to cover that tacking on an extra 5 days to allow for Train Jam wasn’t something I was overly thrilled about. However, boy am I glad I listened to Eli. Train Jam is one of the best things I’ve done in my life, and I’m going to try my best to be able to go each and every year. If the above video looks like fun to you then keep an eye out for tickets going on sale for next year’s Train Jam likely in early 2019.

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Archos unveils Saphir 50X rugged phone, it’s only partially new

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French tech company Archos just released a new rugged phone – the Saphir 50X. That sentence does, however, require some clarification. When we say “released”, we really mean commissioned from Logos Instrument, since Archos doesn’t really manufacture most of its products. That’s not the odd bit here – curiously, the Saphir 50X is a new release, but it is actually a downgrade over last year’s Archos 50 Saphir. The two phones share the exact same rugged and rough body, measuring 146.6 x 76 x 13 mm. They have the same IP68 ingress certification rating and also share a 5-inch HD LCD,…

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It’s time to talk about mental illness in indie development

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This is normal. Heart pounding, hands shaking, head packed with static. The absolute inability to process what anyone is saying, let alone respond to it. Sitting alone at home — lights off because you've been inside all day and the sun set hours ag…
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The new iPad excites us! It’s true, and we’ll tell you why on The CultCast

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This week on The CultCast: Apple has powered up the new iPad so much, it’s hard to resist! We’ll tell you why we’re so excited. Plus: What you need to know about iOS 11.3; everything Apple revealed at its “field trip” event; a reliable report says Apple Watch Plus is incoming; and you asked, we […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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CloudFlare launches 1.1.1.1 public DNS service, claims it’s faster than Google DNS and OpenDNS

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Domain Name Servers, or DNS for short, are directories of domain names and what IP addresses they are linked to. When you type in a website, like androidpolice.com or google.com, your DNS looks up the IP address tied to that domain so the page can be loaded. Most people just use the DNS service provided by their ISP, but alternatives like Google Public DNS and OpenDNS have become popular in recent years.

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CloudFlare launches 1.1.1.1 public DNS service, claims it’s faster than Google DNS and OpenDNS was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Weekly poll results: it’s a tie! Huawei P20 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 2s loved equally

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Well, we did not expect that – when we asked if you’re more interested in the Huawei P20 Pro or the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s, we thought that surely one of the two will prevail. Sure, we asked a couple of days before the phones went official, but there we extensive leaks. Plus, the phones were unveiled this Tuesday, so you had plenty of time to change your mind. However, the phones remained of absolute even popularity – when we stopped the poll, the difference in votes was less than 10. That’s good news, we think. The Huawei P20 Pro is a camera monster with a notched screen and a hefty price…

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Huawei says it’s still committed to the U.S., in spite of, well, everything

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A funny thing happened the last couple of times I was briefed on a Huawei flagship product: news was breaking about some major roadblock for the company’s U.S. distribution plans. First it was AT&T backing out in the midst of CES and then it was Best Buy’s decision to drop the company just ahead of the big P20 launch (though a rep for the company told me the States were never part of its plans for that handset). 

It’s been one thing after another as the Chinese hardware maker has worked to establish a meaningful presence here in the States. In spite of all of this fallout from government pushback, however, the company insists that it’s not going anywhere.

In an email to CNET, the company’s consumer CEO reaffirmed that commitment. “We are committed to the U.S. market and to earning the trust of U.S. consumers by staying focused on delivering world-class products and innovation,” Yu writes. “We would never compromise that trust.”

The sentiment echoes statements Yu made on-stage at CES in the wake of the AT&T deal implosion — albeit much more measured this time around. Most of Yu’s followup reinforced his earlier assertions that, in spite of multiple warning from various US security departments, this whole thing is blow entirely out of proportion.

“The security risk concerns are based on groundless suspicions and are quite frankly unfair,” Yu adds. ”We welcome an open and transparent discussion if it is based on facts.”

Even if the company’s intentions are as stated, Huawei’s got an epic uphill climb if it’s going to make any sort of dent in the world’s third-largest mobile market. The company’s carrier play is non-existent in a country where most phones are purchased through telecoms. And abandonment by the biggest big box store in the States was insult to injury.

And if the company does manage to reverse those trends, it will still be a hard sell for U.S. consumers after several warnings from the country’s defense departments. 

Mobile – TechCrunch

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