[extropy-chat] Cryonics is the only option?

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Mon Apr 16 14:28:27 UTC 2007

I was going to comment on some of Brett's post since he raises some
technical points that I consider to be easily worked around.  For example,
when severe nuclear DNA double strand break damage occurs, poly-ADP-ribose
polymerase goes into action and essentially "freezes" the nucleus of cells,
then the damage is repaired (hopefully) and another set of enzymes take
action to "unfreeze" the nucleus -- all at normal body temperatures.  So I
don't consider the problem of building solid cells which one transforms into
functioning liquid cells to be that difficult.  Biological systems *work* at
temperatures ranging from -4 C to 80-100+C (or higher if sufficiently
pressurized).  Its just a matter of having the right enzymes and solutes to
allow the chemistry to function.  This is also totally separate from what
one can do with externally directed construction efforts in the solid
phase.  I don't hold out much hope for the gas phase.

But I think Anders probably addressed most of the points.

On 4/16/07, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 4/16/07, Brett Paatsch <bpaatsch at bigpond.net.au> wrote:
> A reanimated Eugen or Robert would be more like a photograph a sentimental
> > momento made to someone elses specifications than an actual Eugen or Robert.
Not in my subjective opinion.  This is the problem with this discussion,
people want to assert something which is entirely in the realm of "belief"
into other "belief" systems.  If *I* believe that (1) a *reanimated*
(subjected to desiccation and repaired in 100 years by little nanorobots
running around in my original brain replacing atoms, molecules, membranes,
etc. "as necessary", so I'm hardly my original molecular self before
desiccation, but still have most of the original equipment) *OR* (2) that my
brain was severely smooshed during a plane crash, frozen, unfrozen, had the
smooshed parts scanned at the molecular level and replaced by a combination
of software supplements, disembodied brain subcomponents linked over a fiber
network and the 30% of my original brain that remained intact working in
combination, is *ME*, then it is.  Its that simple it is so because I
believe it to be so.  Now there are others, Damien B. I think for example,
who draw a line in the sand where they say "at that point of resurrection,
reconstruction, rebuilding, simulating, etc. it is *not* ME.  Fine, so be

Certainly there are problems with respect to the property rights, legal
systems, friendships, fundamental control over information rights, etc. that
will have to be worked out.  For example the recent case in England where a
divorced "father" of some frozen embryos forbid their use by his ex-wife for
having a child after her ovaries were removed (in England both parents have
to consent to frozen embryo use).  Now roll it forward a bit, the "father"
dies and is frozen.  During the reanimation process they make a complete
internal brain scan using nanorobots and construct a precise simulation
which runs fine, all the friends agree that he is identical to the
original.  The biological restoration process takes a bit longer so the
biological reanimated "father" is "reborn" after the simulation.
Comparisons are done and by all external measures they are identical
excepting for the somewhat different experiences they have had from the
points where the simulation and the reanimation were activated.  Legal
systems have evolved such that "simulations" have all of the rights as the
original excepting for equal division of property.  So the sim is granted
rights over 50% of the embryos and decides it is ok for the ex-wife to have
a baby using them.  The biological reanimate is probably going to be very
unhappy with this situation.

You and Robert on the other hand do care.  You want to remake not just any
> > old person that pops up - but
> > yourselves.
All *I* care about is that most of the information comes out looking pretty
much like the original.  I'm reasonably confident that a reasonable
facsimile of me can be constructed using my DNA and some of my writings.  It
might not have access to *all* of my memories, but there again nor do *all*
of the people I know, and when one gets right down to it most of them all
that important.  The memory of taking Susan Pollack to the Junior High
School Prom is extremely "fuzzy" at this point in time.

Back to Stathis:

> In a similar fashion, if you take measurements from an individual's brain
> and attempt a computer simulation, no matter how good the measurements and
> the model, the behaviour of the simulation will soon deviate from that of
> the original. However, this doesn't matter, for the behaviour of the
> original might also have deviated from what it actually was had a butterfly
> flown this way rather than that way last month. Even if God made a copy of a
> person perfect to the quantum level it would immediately start deviating
> from the behaviour of the original, simply because they could not occupy the
> same space. So like nature, you have to do a good job of making a precise
> enough copy at a particular point in time, but what that copy does from
> there on is its own business.

Largely my feelings.  Now in the "distributed replicated intelligence" model
that I outlined at Extro III when discussing the only way to achieve
"effective" immortality, I realized that you would have to have copies of
oneself scattered all around the solar system.  They would effectively never
be "in sync" due to the light speed delays on information transmission.
However one has the same kind of delays between the left and right side of
ones brain -- one just doesn't notice it.  If ones "thought cycle time" is
on the order of years, then one probably isn't going to notice the delay in
the information updates getting from the "north" side of the solar system to
the "south" side over a time scale of minutes to hours.

Are "you" as a distributed replicated intelligence scattered across the
solar system different from the single place "you" few kg of wet meat
wandering around in a few more kg of wet meat?  Yes.  Will you consider
yourself to be "identical".  If *you* choose to define it that way.

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