Saturday, July 03, 2010

Old brain in new body

Says Russian investment banker Innokenty Osadchy: “I don’t ever want to die... It wouldn’t suit me”. He is ready to pay a small fortune to freeze his brain until future technology allows him to continue his life — after being transplanted into a new body and resuscitated. After all, brain is what shapes our personality, the body is immaterial, he reasons.

He signs up with Russian cryonics company KrioRus which offers to keep any human being’s brain in liquid nitrogen freeze for 10,000 dollars..(source).

But other scientists are full of disdain for the idea. “If you freeze a body today — even one alive and healthy — after it is defrosted, it won’t be alive and whole. We can’t even freeze and preserve organs today — only cells.

But, even assuming technology makes it possible to freeze the brain, will transporting it to a new body help retain the same characteristics of the brain and impart the same personality to the new brain-body combination?

No, points out Alun Anderson, Senior Consultant, New Scientist, in an article in Edge, responding to the question, "What is your dangerous idea?"

Brains cannot become minds without bodies as two-way interactions between mind and body are crucial to thought and health. The brain may partly think in terms of the motor actions it encodes for the body's muscles to carry out.

We've probable fallen for disembodied brains because of the academic tendency to worship abstract thought. If we take a more democratic view of the whole brain we'd find far more of it being used for planning and controlling movement than for cogitation. Sports writers get it right when they describe stars of football or baseball as "geniuses"! Their genius requires massive brain power and a superb body, which is perhaps one better than Einstein.

The brain and body must therefore interact constantly. It is this cooperation that makes you what you are. Inserting your brain into a different body may work one day, but what emerges will not be you.


Balajisblog said...

Raj - What if like erasing software, someone erases all the memories and plants a complete set of new memories in our brain ? Worth a science fiction on these lines ? I think you can write a science fiction based on this...presume the likes of Ray Bradbury...Isaac etc have not already explored this....Balaji..

Neo said...

i think there is a movie in the lines of what you are saying balaji


Balajisblog said...

Thanks Neo...shall hunt for the movie over this week end...Balaji..