I hope they did some fMRI studies of the brains. Wonder if they just got some random noise (i.e., brain cells firing asynchronously) or if there was some discernable pattern.
And if there is a pattern, then.. wow! But also, little creepy..
As an aside, I respect that the authors on the paper refused to comment on it till the paper gets reviewed / published.
The idea of a disembodied brain doesn't really make sense as the brain is only one piece of the conscious experience, you need the rest of the nervous and perception systems (or robotic proxies) for it to actually be capable of anything or respond in a way that would be illuminating to a researcher.
Brain as a Service?
Pigs are self aware.
It boggles my mind that the learned individuals performing such experiments (and especially, the ethics boards that green-light them) fail to recognize as false the dichotomy between human and non-human sentience; but, humans have a history of performing experiments on other humans against their consent, so I shouldn't be surprised.
If your loved one was dying from cancer, and the only way to speed up the development of a cure would be testing it on animals, what would you do?
And your hypothetical makes no sense. Discovering "a cure for cancer" takes much longer than the life expectancy of someone who is "dying from cancer".
Beside, my loved ones agree with me. My selfishness for companionship doesn't outweigh their moral stance.
The breakthrough can happen at any point in the future, tomorrow, or in 2 years, or 20 years. We don't know. What we know is that by allowing animal testing we most likely speed up that discovery process.
But we're not talking about experimenting on 15 million volunteer humans. We're talking about experimenting on 15 million animals incapable of consent. That figure should be equally morally repugnant to you.
Two can play at the hypothetical game. It's stupid. The same reasoning leads to moral acceptance of human organ harvesting. ("There's no willing donors, and those prisoners don't need an extra kidney anyway, and I do!")
(Though the concern that so-called animal "models" don't reliably predict the effect of treatments on human is very real.)
This is not the same as human organ harvesting, because that would result in death of humans, and we are trying to prevent that.
The concern that animal test results don't necessarily apply to humans is real, but it's much better than no tests at all.
A human and a fly? Sure, I see how one can apply vastly different moral judgements (I certainly do). A human and a pig? No, it's a matter of degrees.
What if there was extra-terrestrial life of greater intelligence still that encountered our own species, and subjected us to identical treatment according to the exact same basis of morality?
Why should edibility take precedence over sentience? Humans are edible, after all.
Could you not also argue that dog brains are pig food?
I don't know. For an uninstantiated mind, perhaps. But if you know it's temporary and know it's safe, perhaps it would be therapeutic. Or beneficial in some other way. Maybe a detached brain sleeps better. Or maybe it instantly and irreversibly goes mad.
I think the bottleneck here is to keep brains/tissues alive, so this research is interesting.
Apparently in my VR simulation, most major Linux distributions have adopted systemd and the UK is leaving the EU.
So trippy! You’ll never believe mine though, Donald Trump is president of America and Dick Cheney outlived Robin Williams. I think I got a bad vat.
Even if you could run your brain without your body the result would nothing like the person you are now - some traits would be preserved for sure - but imo calling that essence ignores how much subconscious/physical are a part of your personality.
Simply taking a brain out of a body and then "keeping it on life support" would be horrendous. Think of it, your brain is very much alive with zero stimulation for a theoretical eternity. That would likely drive people insane.
My point was if the technology became sufficiently advanced that we could say wire the brain into an artificial body where we could still see, communicate, maybe even feel pain and pleasure.
Think of the numerous people with severe physical handicaps who might actually find something like this to be an improvement over their current living situation.
If we ever get to that point you're almost a completely different entity from the person you were in your body, you could share some of the memories and logic but even your perception on them would change drastically along with your self image changes.
I really don't see how then I would be a completely different entity. It would just be me, but in a better body in my case. As someone who suffers from a degenerative disease that causes chronic pain which only continues to get worse over time I would welcome transplanting my brain into an android-like body where I could continue to live, albeit without the suffering.
Needless to say, it was possible to go to some pretty dark places with this. Imagine, for example, feeling like you had to urinate but never being able to relieve yourself for all eternity. And that was one of the "lighter" abuses.
And also In Fallout 4: Nuka World, where the Walt Disney expy character was just an immortal head in a tiny Vault-Tec bunker.
Good news everyone!