RE: Why Cryonics

From: Bostrom,N (pg) (
Date: Wed Feb 23 2000 - 09:30:12 MST

Hal Finney wrote:

>I maintain that given our current state of knowledge, we
simply >don't
>know whether there is sufficient information in frozen
tissue to
>reconstruct its initial state to any particular degree of

Considering that there is still such disagreement about how much information
would be needed to reconstruct a person (as well as about how much useful
information there is in frozen tissue), I think it might make sense to
conserve traces of one's mind's activities, for example by not deleting
one's hard drive. Not as a substitute for cryonics, but as a dirt-cheap way
of preserving additional information that could improve a cryonics
reconstruction, or in the absence of cryonics give you at least some small
chance of being reconstructed by a superintelligence, who may know enough
about human psychology, genetics and the society you lived in to use the
traces to reconstruct you. Having a videotape of yourself might also be a
good idea.

In the future, it may be feasible to record everything that goes into your
sensory organs and everything you do via your muscle movements. A
superitelligence studying such a detailed record of your life history might
well be able to reconstruct a great deal about how your mind was

I have tried to think of some consideration or some test that could
determine whether this would be possible to do in principle, but haven't
come up with anything yet; it seems a wide open question. Any ideas on how
one could settle the issue, short of building a superintelligence and

Nick Bostrom
Dept. Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics

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