Neuroscientist Kenneth Hayworth, 41, recently of Harvard and a veteran of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, believes that he can live forever, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. „The human race is on a beeline to mind uploading: We will preserve a brain, slice it up, simulate it on a computer, and hook it up to a robot body.“ Hayworth wants his 100 billion neurons and more than 100 trillion synapses to be encased in a block of transparent, amber-colored resin—before he dies of natural causes. Why? Because Hayworth believes that he can live forever.
„If your body stops functioning, it starts to eat itself,“ Hayworth says, „so you have to shut down the enzymes that destroy the tissue.“ If all goes according to plan, I’ll be a perfect fossil.“ Then one day, not too long from now, his consciousness will be revived on a computer. By 2110, Hayworth predicts, mind uploading—the transfer of a biological brain to a silicon-based operating system—will be as common as laser eye surgery is today.
Haysworth is pioneering the field of connectomics –a new branch of neuroscience. A connectome is a complete map of a brain’s neural circuitry. Some scientists „believe that human connectomes will one day explain consciousness, memory, emotion, even diseases like autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s—the cures for which might be akin to repairing a wiring error. In 2010 the National Institutes of Health established the Human Connectome Project, a $40-million, multi-institution effort to study the field’s medical potential.“