Ken Hayworth on Singularity 1 on 1: Brain Preservation is the Logical Lifeboat

Ken Hayworth is the president of the Brain Preservation Foundation and a strong proponent of chemical brain preservation.

During my Singularity 1 on 1 interview with Ken we talk about a variety of topics such as: his background in electron-microscopy and how he got interested in it; the motivation behind his work; his skepticism towards curing ageing and mind uploading; his optimism for suspended animation in general and chemical brain preservation in particular; his interesting article Killed By Bad Philosophy; the procedure for chemical brain preservation and the differences to cryonics…

My favorite quotes from Hayworth is:

“Brain preservation is the logical lifeboat that people have access to today.”

“Our grandparents had the technology to preserve the precise neural circuitry of their brains for long‐term storage. The best science of our grandparent’s era stated unequivocally that this unique patterning of neural circuitry was the seat of the self; in it was written all memories, skills, and personality. Our grandparents seemed to grasp the quickening pace of technology, and understood that full brain scanning and simulation was around the corner. Why then did grandpa and the rest of his generation reject brain preservation and mind uploading as a means of overcoming death?” And, after considering the evidence, our grandchildren will come to the sad conclusion that we were killed by our “bad philosophy” – no matter how clear the science was, we simply could not really accept the fact that we were physical machines.”

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Who is Ken Hayworth?

Kenneth Hayworth is president of the Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF), an organization formed to skeptically evaluate cryonic and other potential human preservation technologies by examining how well they preserve the brain’s neural circuitry at the nanometer scale. Hayworth is also a Senior Scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus (JFRC) in Ashburn, Virginia. At JFRC, Hayworth is currently researching ways to extend Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIBSEM) imaging of brain tissue to encompass much larger volumes than are currently possible. Prior to moving to JFRC, Hayworth was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University.

Hayworth is co-inventor of the Tape-to-SEM process for high-throughput volume imaging of neural circuits at the nanometer scale and he designed and built several automated machines to implement this process.

Hayworth received a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Southern California for research into how the human visual system encodes spatial relations among objects. He is a vocal advocate for brain preservation and mind uploading and, through the BPF’s Brain Preservation Prize, he has challenged scientists and medical researchers to develop a reliable, scientifically verified surgical procedure which can demonstrate long-term ultrastructure preservation across an entire human brain. Once won, Hayworth advocates for the widespread implementation of such a surgical procedure in hospitals. Several research labs are currently attempting to win this prize.