It’s a little difficult to find his exact net worth but assumably, he’s a bonafide billionaire. How did he accumulate that kind of money at such a young age? By investing in start-ups, like the one he just paid $10,000 to in order for them to “eternally preserve” his brain and kill him in a process “similar to physician-assisted suicide.”
In 2014, Altman became the president of Y Combinator, a company that provides seed money for new businesses. To date, Y Combinator has invested in roughly 1,500 startups, and Altman personally has invested in companies like Reddit, Pinterest, and Airbnb. He’s also on the board of Helion and Oklo, two nuclear energy companies.
Oh, and you know Elon Musk and that A.I. thing he’s always talking about? Altman co-founded OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence research company, with Musk.
Nectome says its plan is to “connect people with terminal illnesses” to a machine in order to pump its mix of scientific chemicals into the big carotid arteries in their necks “while they are still alive” in an embalming process. The brain will then be able to be uploaded to a computer for later study.
Altman had not given a specific reason for wanting to have Nectome kill him, but he did tell Technology Review he’s pretty sure digitizing minds will be a common practice in his lifetime (which, may actually be pretty short if this whole kill-you-to-upload-your-brain business takes off).
“I assume my brain will be uploaded to the cloud,” Altman told Technology Review. “There is a lot of philosophical debate, but to me a simulation is close enough that it’s worth something. And there is a much larger humanitarian aspect to the whole thing. Right now, when a generation of people die, we lose all their collective wisdom. You can transmit knowledge to the next generation, but it’s harder to transmit wisdom, which is learned. Your children have to learn from the same mistakes.
“That was fine for a while, but we get more powerful every generation. The sheer immense potential of what we can do increases, but the wisdom does not.”
It kind of sounds like Altman thinks uploading his brain will benefit humankind by sharing his “wisdom” with the masses, but there will be a lengthy moral debate about how Nectome will carry this out. Physician-assisted suicide is only legal in Oregon, Montana, Washington, Vermont, California, Colorado and Washington D.C. and restricted to terminally ill and mentally competent adults.