Re: Steering the Extropian Ship [was ... Where do cool people go?]

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 08:57:41 MDT

On Wed, 19 Apr 2000 wrote:

> What I m the focusing on the obscure and strange notion of
> 'resurrection' that can be outlined in a pure, materialist, physicalist,
> objectivist, hypothesis.

I've thought very hard about lifespan extension, the technologies
involved, and the possibilities "around" the fatality of death
for ~8 years. I can see no basis for the classic "resurrection"
hypothesis. I can see a clear path for reanimation if you don't destroy
the body. Once the body is gone however (or most of the greater
than molecule sized pieces), I can't see how you would recreate it.
It becomes simply an information theoretic question about how
much you have to disassemble it before the information contained
in it can no longer be reassembled accurately. *If* and its a
very big *if*, you have a computer larger than the universe that
is running the simulation, you *might* be able to run it backwards
and recreate everyone. But I believe that has to be an existing
precondition, which is in the realm of faith and not things we
can engineer ourselves. It is also very questionable whether
you can run the universe backwards given information loss down
black holes (oops, there goes the last atom of Spudboys's old body...)
and the random choices that get made by things operating at the
quantum level *and* the limits dictated by chaos theory. I suspect
you would have to have a very big computer and you would get a multitude
of "backward" running universes. Which one do you want -- the one
where you exist or the one where you don't?

> I am concerned with that amongst our August group (or anywhere else) there
> appears to be a dearth of such intellectual creativity on this admittedly,
> unusual, topic.
Well, Anders' IQ is about 10 points above mine and I think he is in
the same camp I'm in on this scenario. That means it requires someone
on Tipler's level to begin to tackle the problem. There may be a few
people like that lurking amongst us, but most of them have better things
to do with their time. You are talking a very small set of people with
this brain power. Probaly only a few thousand of them on the planet.

> Moreover, I believe that this line of study would make
> in-roads with the general public. I mean, if you have at least pointed the
> way out of permanent death, then nonotech and macro-engineering would be much
> easier to gather support for.

I *can* point out a complete engineered path out of permanent death
up to the limits of the best understanding of the lifetime of the
universe (when the protons decay). I can even punt when it comes
to SI level brain power being able to (maybe) create altiverses
and tunnel us into them. I cannot however find any way to
"resurrect" individuals currently dead and not cryopreserved.

My impression when I explain this path to people is that they
lose all standard frames of reference and don't have any idea
what to do with it. People have a hard time supporting things
that they really don't understand. So I usually have to punt
and say you are going to live two thousand years (on average),
be fabulously rich and spend most of your time redesigning your
larger-than-Gates-style mansion while complaining all the time
about the prices the nanobots are charging you for construction.
Most people *even* have a hard time with that.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:35 MDT