Dying is for plebes.
Paying a startup to euthanize you so that it can one day, maybe, bring back a digital copy of your mind? Now that’s for tech kingmakers like Sam Altman.
According to MIT Technology Review, the president of Y Combinator Sam Altman is one of 25 people who have put down a $10,000 refundable deposit to join a waiting list at Nectome — a company whose sole purpose is “the goal of archiving your mind.” There’s just one, rather huge catch: They have to kill you first. Like, literally kill you.
Nectome’s cofounder, Robert McIntyre, told MIT Technology Review that the process is “100 percent fatal.”
Essentially, the company needs to embalm a living brain for it to potentially be simulated later in a computer. The living customer would be hooked up to a machine, reports MIT Technology Review, and then pumped full of Nectome’s custom embalming chemicals. This, of course, would result in death.
“The user experience will be identical to physician-assisted suicide,” McIntyre told the publication. “Product-market fit is people believing that it works.”
Ah yes, believing that something “works” would be important when the something in question is a calculated bet to stave off death forever with a little death now.
And while this sounds a bit out there even for the likes of Silicon Valley, which, we must remind you, has a fascination for using the blood of the young to prolong the lives of the rich, Nectome appears to have the Valley’s blessing as demonstrated by Altman’s interest.
We reached out to Altman via Y Combinator for comment and will update this if we hear back, but, assuming this is not just some crazy PR stunt by Nectome, Altman’s interest in preserving his waking brain for future generations shouldn’t really come as a surprise. The specific type of egoism that would lead anyone to think they should live forever runs rampant in Silicon Valley.
Just ask Peter Thiel.
And when you’re done doing that, maybe take a moment to ponder Altman’s Twitter profile which, strangely, reads like a time-traveling warning from his future embalmed brain to his present self: “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.”