TECH
14/09/2015 12:25 BST | Updated 14/09/2015 16:59 BST

Dying Cancer Patient's Hope To Beat Death Through Cryonics Lives On

Kim Suozzi died at age 23 from glioblastoma -- a deadly brain tumour.

When she died in 2013, she made sure her fight for survival, albeit an unusual one, would not be forgotten.

She wanted to live forever through a computer and chose to have her brain frozen in the hopes that it may one day be resurrected and transformed into digital code.

The responsibility of bringing this plan to life fell to her boyfriend, Josh Schisler, who was 24 at the time. They fell in love during their first year at Truman State University, Missouri.

kim suozzi

Despite the science fiction-esque nature of Kim's wishes, the neuroscience community is divided over whether they can meet her demands.

Winfried Denk, a director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Germany told the New York Times: "I can see within, say, 40 years that we would have a method to generate a digital replica of a person’s mind.”

However, others including Cori Bargmann, who works at the Rockefeller University in New York has a different outlook on what is science and what is fiction.

“We are nowhere close to brain emulation given our current level of understanding.

"Will it ever be possible?” she asked. “I don’t know. But this isn’t 50 years away.”

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In theory, those who believe this is achievable are propelled by techniques that allows scientists to map the brain.

Our brain essentially works like a massive transit system, with neurons acting as important roads carrying information from one place to another.

At the end of each road are structures knowns as synapses, which act as connections that allow for us to have our unique set of memories and identity.

kim suozzi

Some believe that a map of all these connections -- known as a connectome -- could simulate the things that make us unique, the New York Times reports.

But as you can imagine, having this map as a digital code would take up a lot of space.

To put this in perspective -- our global hard drive storage capacity in 2014 amounted to 2.6 billion terabytes.

According to the International Data Corporation (global hard drives), we would need 1.3 billion terabytes to map a human connectome.

Despite the hurdles science has to overcome, many like Kim, believe living through computers will become a reality.

Today, there are several organisations offering people cryonic suspension services for a fee.

Cryonics UK charge £170,000 for whole body storage, while preserving the head costs £80,000.