Anyone entranced by the hope of immortality posed by controversial experiments in the United States that could pave the way for brain transplants should think twice, according to a British ethics expert.
Reanimating dead brains could lock humans in an eternal “living hell,” a “fate worse than death,” says Nottingham Trent ethics and philosophy lecturer Benjamin Curtis, the London Daily Mail reported.
The British paper reported Yale University announced the successful resuscitation of the brains of as many as 200 slaughtered pigs.
The brains were kept alive for up to 36 hours.
Scientists says the breakthrough could one day allow humans to become immortal by hooking up their brains to artificial systems after their natural bodies have perished.
But in an interview with the independent news site The Conversation, Curtis painted a bleak picture.
“Even if your conscious brain were kept alive after your body had died, you would have to spend the foreseeable future as a disembodied brain in a bucket, locked away inside your own mind without access to the sense that allow us to experience and interact with the world,” he said.
“In the best case scenario you would be spending your life with only your own thoughts for company.”
Curtis said some have argued that “even with a fully functional body, immortality would be tedious.”
“With absolutely no contact to external reality it might just be a living hell,” he said. “To end up a disembodied human brain may well be to suffer a fate worse than death.”
At a recent National Institutes of Health meeting, Yale University neuroscientist Nenad Sestan said researchers removed the heads of the pigs and resuscitated their brains while detached from the body.
To his surprise, billions of cells in the brains were found to be alive and healthy.
Sestan said it’s possible the brains could be kept alive indefinitely. Additional steps could be taken, he said, to restore awareness.
Transhumanism, the belief that science and technology can help evolve the human body has been promoted by people such as Ray Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering.
Kurzweil believes humans will be able to upload their entire brains to computers by 2045.