Re: Not sleeping

Anders Sandberg (
Sat, 15 Feb 1997 12:30:49 +0100 (MET)

> Phil Goetz wrote:
> >> Here's hoping that someone finds a way to reengineer our species so that
> >> we no longer need sleep, a la Nancy Kress' "Beggars in Spain"...
> >
> >It seems appealing at first, but I have thought about it and decided
> >it woudl be terrible. The need for sleep gives an excuse to stop
> >working, to have a home, a family.

I don't think people would work non-stop, simply because (as you point
out) they would become non-productive. My guess is that the work would
become divided into a loose schedule broken up by other activities. It
would certainly change the way we look at free time and work.

> >When work can be made pleasurable
> >that is a good thing, but most people besides writers and scientists
> >don't live to work.

Ah, that explains a lot... :-)

On Fri, 14 Feb 1997, John Blanco-Losada wrote:

> But the big
> difference, in my opinion, is that at that point a person's decision to
> work longer hours would be voluntary. Right now, by contrast, I have no
> choice but to spend a third of my life in a useless dormant state.

Exactly! I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people decided against
removing sleep, which would limit the use of not sleeping for many of the
sleepless (except for us solitary scientists and writers, of course).

However, I doubt it will be easy to remove sleep. My current belief is
that it is used by the brain to encode the memories of the day from
hippocampal storage; this process cannot be easily speeded up without
wholesale neurological redesign, and without it we would not learn or
remember well (might be useful for some politicians, though). But maybe we
could use lucid dreaming techniques to remain aware and effective anyway?
Just because we are physically immobile doesn't mean we have to remain in
our heads...

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y