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CrowdScience

CrowdScience

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Summary

Death is one of life’s few certainties – or is it? To answer listener Pratibha’s question from New Delhi, India, presenter Marnie Chesterton asks medical and scientific experts if there is any evidence that humans could somehow come back into existence after their demise. We start at the end, by asking just what death is – and it turns out to be perhaps surprisingly complicated, especially if cold temperatures are involved. As another listener, Camilla, from Washington DC, USA points out, there are some animals that can become totally frozen over winter and return to life in spring. How does this happen, and could it have implications for the idea of deep-freezing humans – known as cryogenic preservation? Alternatively, if entire bodies might prove difficult to save, could we download our brains’ contents for later reboot instead? It sounds like science fiction, but a global network of scientists are pursuing the goal of cybernetic immortality: uploading our minds to an artificial brain in a robot avatar. Marnie heads to a brain-computer interface lab where she gets wired up to control a computer game by thinking, and discovers just how difficult it is to export thought, and how much we still have to learn about our brains. Could the way to cheat death ever be digital? Do you have a question we can turn into a programme? Email us at crowdscience@bbc.co.uk Presenter: Marnie Chesterton Producer: Jen Whyntie

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