[ExI] The Transhumanist Edge

hkhenson hkhenson at rogers.com
Sat Jan 17 19:10:49 UTC 2009

At 04:18 AM 1/17/2009, Giulio wrote:

>I also don't see Frank living long enough to see the Singularity.
>Hell, I also don't see myself and most readers of this list living
>long enough to see the Singularity with the biological eyes we were
>born with. Perhaps with a few decades of cryonic sleep.
>Tipler's Omega Point is just one of the many possibilities that have
>been discussed for our descendants to rescue us from death by "copying
>us to the future". I don't know when this may be feasible, and I don't
>know if it may be feasible, but I don't see any fundamental reason why
>our descendants should not be able to engineer space, time and
>information with the required accuracy.

I wrote about this decades ago, in the lost 
extropian archives.  But some was excerpted in a 
column I wrote for _Cryonics_.

   "It is trivial to work up counter-arguments.  For example, while our
motivations seem to include a strong component of interest in history, this
might not be true of our future selves where we have messed with our
motivations.  Perhaps reconstructions of the past would be so painful to
the inhabitants of the future that there would be very strong social
pressure not to do it.  (See the end section of Marc Stiegler's "Gentle

   "In reference to cryonics being low tech, as one on the "wetwork" team,
this end of it sure is painful and imperfect -- though certainly no worse
than the only available alternatives!  There is, however, no reason to
believe that the other end of the process should be painful, and it should
be perfect to the limit of the available information in the frozen patient.

   "As far as working from the traces left behind -- well, maybe.  I could
imagine a process where some ambitious grad student was trying to make a
minimum error "reconstruction" of the historical Hans at the point he
finished 'Mind Children.'  So he simulates Hans and the complete
environment in which he grew up, does a comparison between the original
book and the reconstruction's version and iterates the process till there
are few or no text differences.  I hope the temporal version of the Humane
Society would make the discard process painless, but how many versions of
Hans would have to be discarded before this process converged?  (Assuming,
of course, that it would converge!)  Of course, the process would have to
be a joint reconstruction of editors, authors, and (in many cases) the
typesetters who introduced some of the typos.

   "I suspect, however, that the above process is unworkable no matter how
many resources are poured into it.  Chaos makes it impossible to predict
beyond certain horizons in the future direction.  The inverse of this
should make it impossible to tell which of a multitude of pasts led up to
the present.

   "Following [list member] Perry Metzger's lead, I won't preach either.
I think our world will be less interesting for the decisions of Heinlein,
Moravec, and innumerable others who turn down the cryonics option, but it
is their decision.  All I can do is be appreciative of those who are trying
to make it."

http://www.alcor.org/cryonics/cryonics9212.txt Future Tech column.

Charles Stross picked up on the "vile offspring" 
who were in the process of converting the solar 
system to computronium doing this near the end of 
_Accelerando_.  I presume everyone on this list 
has read _Accelerando_ .  There is no excuse for 
not doing so.  http://www.accelerando.org/  You 
don't even have to get off your bewalkus.

The place is already heaving with the 
resimulated. Just why the Vile Offspring seem to 
feel it's necessary to apply valuable exaquops to 
the job of deriving accurate simulations of dead 
humans – outrageously accurate simulations of 
long-dead lives, annealed until their written 
corpus matches that inherited from the 
presingularity era in the form of chicken 
scratchings on mashed tree pulp – much less 
beaming them at the refugee camps on Saturn – is 
beyond Sirhan's ken: But he wishes they'd stop.


How you got here:

The center of the solar system – Mercury, Venus, 
Earth's Moon, Mars, the asteroid belt, and 
Jupiter – have been dismantled, or are being 
dismantled, by weakly godlike intelligences. [NB: 
Monotheistic clergy and Europeans who remember 
living prior to 1600, see alternative memeplex 
"in the beginning."] A weakly godlike 
intelligence is not a supernatural agency, but 
the product of a highly advanced society that 
learned how to artificially create souls [late 
20th century: software] and translate human minds 
into souls and vice versa. [Core concepts: Human 
beings all have souls. Souls are software objects. Software is not immortal.]

Some of the weakly godlike intelligences appear 
to cultivate an interest in their human 
antecedents – for whatever reason is not known. 
(Possibilities include the study of history 
through horticulture, entertainment through 
live-action role-playing, revenge, and economic 
forgery.) While no definitive analysis is 
possible, all the resimulated persons to date 
exhibit certain common characteristics: They are 
all based on well-documented historical persons, 
their memories show suspicious gaps [see: smoke 
and mirrors], and they are ignorant of or predate 
the singularity [see: Turing Oracle, Vinge catastrophe].

It is believed that the weakly godlike agencies 
have created you as a vehicle for the 
introspective study of your historical antecedent 
by backward-chaining from your corpus of 
documented works, and the back-projected genome 
derived from your collateral descendants, to 
generate an abstract description of your 
computational state vector. This technique is 
extremely intensive [see: expTime-complete 
algorithms, Turing Oracle, time travel, 
industrial magic] but marginally plausible in the 
absence of supernatural explanations.

After experiencing your life, the weakly godlike 
agencies have expelled you. For reasons unknown, 
they chose to do this by transmitting your upload 
state and genome/proteome complex to receivers 
owned and operated by a consortium of charities 
based on Saturn. These charities have provided 
for your basic needs, including the body you now occupy.

In summary: You are a reconstruction of someone 
who lived and died a long time ago, not a 
reincarnation. You have no intrinsic moral right 
to the identity you believe to be your own, and 
an extensive body of case law states that you do 
not inherit your antecedent's possessions. Other 
than that, you are a free individual.

Note that fictional resimulation is strictly 
forbidden. If you have reason to believe that you 
may be a fictional character, you must contact 
the city immediately. [ See: James Bond, Spider 
Jerusalem.] Failure to comply is a felony.

In spite of this cool fictional treatment, I 
still have extreme doubts the process is 
feasible.  Lost information is *lost.*  We are 
not likely to read the library of Alexander or 
talk to Heinlein.  In any case, a reconstruction 
is not the original no matter how will it is done.

So if anyone knows Tipper personally, talk to him 
about signing up for cryonics.

Keith Henson 

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