Re: Cryonics sources [was: Nature defines transhumanist]

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Sat Jun 17 2000 - 21:45:14 MDT

On Fri, 16 Jun 2000, Brent Allsop wrote:

> I'd sure like to see more info. Will this presentation be
> online or anything?

You would have to ask Greg.

> I'd sure hate to have nanorobots going through my corpsicle,
> potentially destroying relevant information, before we have clear
> understanding of such "mental information maps".

Well, one would hope that they "never" destroy information.
However, it is doubtful whether a complete understanding
of how data is stored in the brain is necessary to put it
back togeather.

Use this analogy -- do you have to "understand" the picture
on the jigsaw puzzle piece if you can determine precisely
where in the puzzle it should go? (I.e. can you assemble
a jigsaw puzzle with the picture facing away from you?)

(For humans this may be harder than assembling it *with*
the pictures, because we use the pictures to localize the
search area for the pieces (at least I do). However, for
a computer with a lot of excess processing capacity, and
clever shape sorting algorithms, the interpretation of what
is "on/in" the piece is irrelevant to putting it in its correct

> I'm almost tempted to put a clause in my cryonics
> documentation that stipulates my desire to only ever use non invasive
> or non destructive scans of information from my corpsicle.

It is questionable whether you could be put back together in
that case. It really doesn't matter if I have to disassemble
a glucose or fat molecule in order to map things, so long as
I can put an identical molecule back in the proper place when
I put things back together. This begs the copy issue, for which
I'd refer one to the recent Moravec re: Harvard doesn't Publish
in Science Fiction.

> I'd like
> to be completely rebuilt, or upload, whichever comes first, and still
> have my corpsicle as a keepsake, for a permanent backup, and in case
> something unforeseen got lost in a corpsicle destroying reanimation
> process.

The way to do this is to specify uploading only after it has
been proven to be "robust". However, if Robin is correct about
the singularity economics, this probably dooms you to a second-hand

> How will the two not come at about the same time? How could
> we have nanobots able to completely rebuild a brain yet not have full
> knowledge of it's data maps?

Nanobots mapping/rebuilding the brain is a physical issue (where are
the atoms/molecules now and where do they really belong). The
data maps (i.e. the information required to translate the software
to run on different hardware) is much more complex. I can hand you
terabytes of data (where all the physical connections are in the
brain) but that does not suggest that you have any ability to
understand how to execute that combination of code+data in a
way that results in an instantiation of a "you-unit". Running
a human on "alien" hardware is much more complex than simply
copying one (or putting one back together on the original equipment).

Greg isn't a computer scientist though, so he may not
have the perspective I do about the difficulty of translating
code to run on different hardware. This points out the problem
we have that we are getting into an evolutionary time where
multidisciplinary teams are really required to really understand
the trends and tradeoffs.


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