[ExI] Essential Upload Data (was: Subject: Boltzmann brains)

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Wed May 6 13:33:34 UTC 2020

On Tue, May 5, 2020 at 6:49 PM Re Rose via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

 > *I think fractures are undesirable, and although they may seem easy to
> repair if they're "clean" - even so, that's a lot of repairing.*

Sure, any damage is undesirable but the sad fact is even if a patient is
cryopreserved using the best methods available today a huge amount of
damage will be caused and a massive amount of repairing (or replacing) will
be needed to bring the person back to consciousness. And cracks are by far
the least serious form of damage because it is the easiest to fix or
replace, if you can't fix cracks then you have no hope of fixing the far
more serious forms of damage. I don't think any Cryonics patient will be
revived until we have Drexler style Nanotechnology and can control matter
at the atomic level.

The key question is if Information Theoretic Death has occurred, if the
information on what makes you be you is lost then you're dead. That's why I
think Alcor should switch from the vitrification process it uses now to ASC
(Aldehyde Stabilized Cryopreservation). In ASC in addition to a
cryoprotectant a brain is also infused with the chemical Glutaraldehyde,
it's the stuff in wart removing lotion you can get over the counter in any
drugstore. Glutaraldehyde kills cells because it crosslinks proteins, but
that very cross-linking holds things in place even when they're cooled down
to liquid nitrogen temperatures, and so Information Theoretic Death is

ASC has been used on a entire pig's brain which was then cooled down to
near liquid nitrogen temperatures and then warmed back up to room
temperature and sliced into thin sections and sent to a electron
microscope. The result was beautiful pictures of synapses and other brain
structures that are far superior to the pictures Alcor's current
vitrification process can produce, and there is no reason to think
molecular-level information wouldn't be preserved too. It's even more
impressive when you consider that the pictures were made after rewarming
because most of the damage happens at the warming stage not the cooling
stage, I would have been delighted even if the pictures were made while the
brain was still frozen because I'd be willing to let future technology
worry about warming, but this is even better.

Cryonics for uploaders: The Brain Preservation Prize has been won

Nevertheless Alcor has resisted changing over to ASC, I suspect the reason
for their hesitation is that if they did so they would implicitly be saying
"*we're not even trying to bring that frozen body back to life, we're just
trying to preserve the information in it because information on how the
atoms are arranged in my brain are different from the way they are arranged
in your brain is the only difference between you and me*".

I happen to think that's exactly what Alcor should be saying, but the ghost
of the discredited 19th century theory of Vitalism is still haunting the
21th century and many still think that despite all the scientific evidence
to the contrary the atoms in our bodies must somehow have our name
scratched on them. I suspect Alcor is reluctant to change because they
believe ASC would be bad public relations. But I think reality is more
important than PR and the Vitalism superstition could get people killed.

> > *Guided nanotech may be an answer*

I don't think there is any "may" about it, without Nanotech there is no
hope. Incidentally back in 1986 in Drexler's classic book on Nanotechnology
"Engines Of Creation" he describes something very similar to ASC that
people alive today could use right now to achieve immortality, or something
close to it.

>   > *My concern about hormone simulation is not about the speed of their
> signalling, but the entraining and dynamics of the entire system. While
> some hormones are easy to model (like insulin), many interact widely in
> nertworked hormonal systems, like growth hormones, stress hormones, or
> female reproductive hotmoens. These hormonal feedback cycles interact not
> only with the body but also with the brain/mind.*

If future technology is not good enough to model hormonal feedback cycles
then it certainly isn't good enough to repair or replace the 100 trillion
damaged synapses in the human brain and there is no hope, Cryonics patients
are not patients at all they're just frozen dead meat.

> *> even if the brain copy + agent manages to eventually make sense of the
> world with all these changes and becomes an autonomous agent itself - it
> will not be "you".*

People, even philosophers, use that personal pronoun with abandon without
giving it a second thought, I do too because right now there is only one
chunk of matter in the observable universe that behaves in a johnkclarkian
way. But that need not always be true because it is caused not by a
scientific law but simply because of a lack of technological
sophistication. When the age of Nanotechnology arrives the entire English
language will need retooling, especially in the way it treats personal

The only reason I think I'm the same guy I was yesterday is that I remember
being John Clark yesterday, the same thing will be true even in the
age of Nanotechnology,
although there could be many people claiming to be John Clark because they
all remember being him yesterday.  And all of them would be correct and
have a equally valid claim of being "me".

John K Clark
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