[ExI] Alcor's new statement on ASC

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sat May 19 04:06:40 UTC 2018

John Clark wrote:
>> *> If you consider your connectome to be the essential you, then your
>> argument does  follow in a narrow sense.*
> Narrow sense? It follows unless you assume particular atoms confer
> individuality to us even though science tells us atoms have no
> individuality, and I don’t see hot atoms can confer that property to us
> when they don’t have it themselves. And if that was the key I also don’t
> see how we seem to remain the same person even though atoms are
> constantly shifting in and out of our bodies from birth to death.
> And I think it is beyond debate that the connectome is essential, there
> may or may not be other things that are essential too we don’t know.

No it follows unless you realize that *you* don't have any clear cut
boundaries. Where does John Clark end and the rest of the universe begin?
I don't think people realize how much of their identities are wrapped up
in things external to their meat. Things such as their jobs, their social
networks, their hobbies and interests, their roles and reputations, and to
a greater or lesser extent, their personal property. All these things
contribute to identity, yet none of them is the essence of identity.

So let's for convenience sake, say you assume the boundary to yourself is
your skin. So you put your meat under a microscope and lo and behold you
find out you are not an individual at all but a clonal colony of
differentiated specialized cells each living and dying its own little life
in an ongoing process as part of a network.

This process uses molecules from the environment to generate enough
surplus energy that on some bizarre platonic level of abstraction separate
from the cells themselves wherein dwells information and mathematics, your
meat has the luxury of imagining that it is John Clark.

But what is John Clark but an abstract label for a set of time-dependent
biochemical feedback loops operating between memory, stimulus, instinct,
and response engaged in by a network of trillions of cells?

John Clark is a label applied to a time-dependent process, you eliminate
time, and you are not John Clark at all but at best a 3-D cross-section of

>> *> But keep in mind that your connectome is a malleable ever evolving
>> thing. Every second of every day, you are making new memories and also
>> forgetting old ones. In a continual state of becoming.*
> We're trying to decide if ASC or Alcor's method should be used, so how is
>  the above relevant?

Because ASC stops time completely for you a while Alcor just slows it way

Look in my professional opinion liquid nitrogen might not be ideal storage
conditions for what cryonicists are trying to achieve. For example,
cryptobiotic organisms are thought to maintain some very slow metabolism
even in a dried out dormant state. Yet this allows sea monkeys, rotifers,
nematodes, and tardigrades (all are multicellular organisms albeit small)
to have a shelf life of centuries in their dormant state. Furthermore
medicine is making huge strides with suspended animation on mammals which
happens at a much higher temperature range than liquid nitrogen.

But even at liquid N2 temperatures with vitrification, some chemical
reactions are still taking place albeit very slowly, some thermal motion
is still happening. You are still in a Schrodinger's cat-like state of not
being either completely alive or completely dead. I could culture cells
from from your frozen body and they would grow just fine in a petri dish.
Your kidneys would make a welcome gift to many a wait-listed transplant
recipient. The point is, the majority of what *you* are, i.e. your meat is
still alive even after years in a NO2 dewer.

What might not make it are neuronal connections, specific synapses but so
what?  As long as the neurons are still alive, they can regrow those
connections or ones that you could not subjectively distinguish between
from the inside as it were. You could even read you own autobiography if
you chose to write one to remind yourself of who you were.

I mean seriously. Someone in my meat who thinks he is me and claims to be
me, probably is me by my reckoning. Even if I don't remember how that girl
broke my heart in the third grade or I have to learn how to ride a bike
all over again.

> Alcor's method is just as much a frozen snapshot as ASC is, and I don't
> know if the connectome information would be enough to bring somebody back
> but ASC would preserve more than that, I can't think of any sort of
> information that Alcor's method would preserve but ASC wouldn’t, and
> almost certainly scramble it less too.

No because in addition to killing all your cells, gluteraldehyde will add
a shit load of noise to your molecular information. What does the position
of certain carbon atoms matter if in the process of fixing those atoms in
place you introduce a random number of *MORE* carbon atoms that covalently
bond to every molecule that has an available nitrogen atom? Remember
carbon atoms are indistinguishable from one another.

Is is theoretically possible to parse your information. Yes it is, with a
dictionary of known proteins and their allelic variants and a DNA library
from your hairbrush but it is not a matter of whether it is theoretically
possible, it is a matter of whether it is economically feasible.

Not even a jupiter-brain with nanotech would want to spend the CPU cycles
to sort out that insane mess. And to "peel away layers" of your brain to
take pictures of the interior would cost far more energy than simple data
processing. You would have break an insane number of specific covalent
bonds while leaving the others intact so as to retain the original

With AST you are not just poisoning your meat, you are adding random noise
to your signal as it were. Noise that you need an STM to see.

>> *> Kind of like a Heisenberg uncertainty principle of identity.*
> If the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is relevant then we become a
> different person a billion times a second.

I cannot confidently state that we do not become different people every
nanosecond. Every nanosecond many photons enter my eye that were not there
a nanosecond ago. Does what I see not change me?

> So the key question is " will the micro-currents in my brain be in a
> turbulent state when it is frozen or will the flow be laminar ?". If it's
> turbulent then very small changes in initial conditions will result in
> large changes in outcome and I'm dead meat, even nanotechnology couldn't
> put Humpty Dumpty back together again; but if the flow is laminar
> figuring out what things were like before they were frozen would be pretty
>  straightforward.

Don't worry about turbulence, John. Cytoplasm, the stuff your neurons are
made of is about 10 thousand times more viscous than water at 37 C. It
would be more like glass at liquid N2 temps. The last thing you need to
worry about are "micro-currents" in your brain.

> Fluid flow stops being smoothly Laminar and starts to become chaotically
> turbulent when a system has a Reynolds number between 2300 and 4000,
> although you might get some non chaotic vortices if it is bigger than 30.
>  When chaotic turbulence starts a very small change in initial conditions
>  will result in a huge difference in outcome and that is exactly what we
> want to avoid because we want to be able to figure out what the brain was
>  like before it was frozen.

I don't understand . . . why this lengthy tangent on "brain turbulence"?
If your identity can survive you vigorously nodding your head up and down,
it can survive any g-forces it is liable to encounter in a dewar.

>> *All cryobiotic organisms that survive freezing undergo a certain
>> amount of dehydration in the process.*
> That works fine for microorganisms like tardigrades but as far as I know
> no adult mammal has ever survived being frozen solid, much less brought
> back from liquid nitrogen temperatures, there is always some liquid water
> remaining.

Mammals, tardigrades, Natasha's little worms -- We are all made of the
exact same stuff. Moreover, we have very similar operating systems. What
differs is the algorithms our genetic machinery is running. There is in
principle no reason other than simple scale differences that we cannot
give ourselves many of those same abilities through a combination of
technology and genetic engineering.

>>> *If you are that worried about your connectome, just get a picture or
>> better yet a movie of it while you are still alive. The data will be
>> fareasier to stably store than a biologically useless head.*
>> http://www.humanconnectomeproject.org/gallery/
> I know of no non-destructive method that could produce the connectome
> information of my brain right now, unfortunately MRI, PET scans and X rays
>  don't provide nearly enough detailed information. However a human brain
> has been chemically fixed and sliced into 5000 thin sheets and detailed
> microscopic images taken of every square nanometer of all 5000 sheets, and
> that might do the trick, but for obvious reasons I'm not quite ready for
> that.

How does throwing a bunch carbon atoms into your connectome to covalently
bond with it and screw up your information, right precisely at the scale
you are trying to preserve the information at help you achieve this goal?
Because that is what ASC does.

Maybe an analogy will help.

Let's say you have two copies of oh say Moby Dick: one is old and water
damaged. Some 10 percent of the words are smears and one out of every 100
pages is missing.

The other copy is pristine except that a random letter of the alphabet has
been inserted where ever there was a space or a punctuation mark in the

Which one is more like the orignal Moby Dick? Which one would you rather
have to parse if you were trying to transcribe the original Moby Dick?

A good cryonicist should try to make their resurrection cheap and easy,
not expensive and hard. And a good cryonics company should aim for repeat

>>> Your DNA won't survive covalently bonding with every nitrate group in
>> its vicinity. But your DNA can survive boiling water. Think on that
>> before you pickle yourself in glutaraldehyde for posterity.
> Why on earth should I think about that? Talk about redundancy, my entire
> genome is repeated in every cell of my body, my hairbrush alone is enough
> to guarantee it will survive intact, but that is not nearly good enough
> because there is a lot more to me than just my genome.

Yes, and aldehyde throws a crap ton of extra carbon atoms and covalent
bonds into your information, requiring energy simply to parse. So keep
your hairbrush out of the aldehyde.

> I know but that’s not a bug it's a feature, inactivating the entire
> biochemical metabolism is exactly what makes aldehyde so good, we want to
> shut it down and keep things in place, its the entire point of Cryonics.

You are not just inactivating it, you are sabotaging it so that it can't
ever run again. Even from a purely informational theoretical POV you are
adding random bytes to your data in order to preserve character length.

If the meaning of "meaning" has meaning to you, then why would you want to
do that?

>> *> You will be will still be able to see the forest, you just won't be
>> able to see where one tree ends and another one begins.*
> How do you figure that? We know what the chemical properties that a
> molecule of aldehyde has and we know what proteins are found in brain
> cells and we know what shape they have and we have Nanotechnology which
> means we have one hell of a lot of processing power. And there is a hell
> of a lot of redundancy in the brain and that will help too.

Yes we know the chemical properties of aldehyde. What we do not know is
exactly where aldehyde will do it's damage. That is entirely random
depending on concentration and overall rate. Because of this we won't know
for certain which four carbon atoms are from gluteraldehyde or any of the
numerous long chains of carbon that belong there and make up pretty much
all of you that is not water.

If you want molecular scale information preserved, you can't have covalent
bonds forming willy-nilly like that. When you do so you change the
structure of the molecule into a whole new molecule. Since as you yourself
noted atoms are interchangeable, what would change most drastically is
your electron configuration. The shapes of molecular orbitals would get
all screwed up. You would be polluting your information with spam at the
quantum level.

In my opinion, regenerative medicine will probably arrive well before
truly robust Drexlerian nanotechnology. Largely because our first
nano-machines will likely be reversed engineered enzymes with many of the
same limitations that natural enzymes have today. But to regenerate, you
must leave behind some undamaged meat. The more, the better. In that
regard, Alcor is cleary superior.

Meat has salvage value, even with regard to nanotechnology.

Although you are right, the redundancy does help. Still a lot more extra
operations to do. Longer before technology arrives. Why make your delta t
longer than it need be? Do you enjoy culture shock?

>> *> Why would you want your connectome preserved at the moment of your
>> death anyway? So you can live forever with PTSD?*
> First of all there is no reason to think ASC would preserve connectome
> information and nothing else, and second of all why is ASC a snapshot but
> Alcor's method is not?

Look, I am not affiliated with Alcor and so I can't speak for them. What I
do know is that Alcor slows down molecules in chemical reactions allowing
them to be sped back up when the time is right. ASC stops everything in
its tracks with a bunch chemical reactions that corrupt the cells
operating system and changes electron orbitals in the way that damages
quantum information.

> In a way Natasha’s work is more impressive than the frog even though the
> worm is so small it can barely be seen by the naked eye because she got
> down to −80C and because she showed that memory is retained. But −80C is
> STILL not cold enough for long term storage, the chemical reaction rate
> is just too high,  the worms were only frozen for 2 weeks.

I agree. I wonder why she didn't try it longer or at colder temps.

> Because aldehyde destroys cell viability, but it doesn't destroy
> information and therefore it doesn't produce information theoretical
> death:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information-theoretic_death

It doesn't destroy information but it dilutes it with extraneous
information. Adding random noise to a bit stream is a computational
wasteful method of preserving that information even if you have multiple
redundant copies to compare. Better to accept a lost bit here or there
than to dilute the signal with spam.

>> *> What goes where is not enough. You need to be able to distinguish
>> between hydrogen bonds and covalent bonds.*

> Nobody knows that you're just guessing. But it doesn't matter because I
> don't insist that Electron Microscope pictures provide enough information
> to deduce the connectome or that the connectome information is enough to
> bring a individual back; but I do insist those Electron Microscope
> pictures are excellent evidence that ASC distorts information less than
> Alcor's
> current method, and not just information about the connectome.

I am not "guessing" at all. Hydrogen bonds are extremely important for
biological structure and therefore function. Things like electron
configurations and protein shape matter when it comes to being functional.

Forget physics and think engineering for a minute. It is almost always
easier to repair a broken machine than it is to build one from scratch.
Furthermore, how do you simulate a working machine from a non-functional
one without in some sense repairing it? I say you are upping your chances
of resurection by making your ressurection easier, even if you do lose
some of your memory in the process.

Stuart LaForge

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