Re: CRYONICS: feasibility [was Re: Fox cryonics show]

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Mon Feb 07 2000 - 19:55:39 MST

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky writes:
> Forget the problem of repairing the brain. Think of it in uploading
> terms. The theoretical question is: "If you know where every single

Both contexts do not differ too much. (Provided, you are essentially
unrestricted in your ability to do repairs at molecular scale, and in
your ability to kickstart a reconstructed organism. If you are, then
uploading wins house high. There are no such obvious restrictions on
complexity of bit twiddling. Digital filters can be made to do
anything doable, and numerical crunch is truly cheap if you have
computronium computronium, especially if processing time is of little

> atom in a frozen brain lies, could you extract an model of the brain's
> operation with such high resolution that the informational damage caused
> by freezing would not be significant (on a damage scale calibrated by
> the effects of neural death and quantum/thermal randomness in day-to-day
> operation)?" I think this sounds reasonable; damage to structure on the

This assumes that scrambling/degradation introduced by the
freezing/vitrification has a subthreshold (loosely defined) inflatory
effect on the size of the target area in persona space you're trying
to reconstruct.

That information is irreclaimably destroyed, thus introducing
uncertainty into/removing constraints from the to-be-reconstructed
persona space, is not open to doubt. It's still debatable, however,
how many bits actually go into the big bitbucket in the sky. Is it
enough, that the amount of constraints left indicate more that merely
that you've been a human?

> >10^6-atom-scale may appear to destroy the information contained on that
> level of abstraction, but the same information should still be
> obtainable from the internal structure of the mostly-untouched inner
> volumes of the 10^6-atom units being shoved around. If so, then the

You're guessing here. You optimistically assume that the mind is
pretty engramic/holographic, and ubiquitous but limited-scale damage
just degrades your hologram very slightly. Try running your
interference fringes through an FFT, then a high-frequency filter and
inverse FFT, then see how your hologram looks like.

> practical question is extracting the information without causing exactly
> the sort of atomic-scale disruption that would destroy that level of
> abstraction as well.

I am in the process of scanning some EM slides, depicting neurotissue
damage occuring on all scales (forget about microns), both in the
typical cryonics patient, and the unrealistic best case (rabbit
vitrification/controls). After I get some people (F*hy, Darwin) to
write interpretations of these, I'll put them online, for your
edification/little screams of horror.

While there will be still copious room for denial, at least we can
then restrict proliferation of pure fabrication.

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