Re: Living Forever

From: Jim Fehlinger (
Date: Sat May 05 2001 - 08:46:30 MDT wrote:
> I wrote:
> If it were the year 2975 in the world of _Diaspora_, would
> I seek out an Introdus portal and join the world of the polises?
> Yes, almost certainly (I'm assuming it would be a Moravec transfer;
> I **don't** want to be duplicated!). I'd have butterflies in my
> stomach, but I'd do it. >>
> The Moravec Transfer, is, if I recall correctly, a comparatively early
> attempt at uploading, with the implant and all.

Implant? Anyway, I meant a Moravec-**style** transfer, whose distinguishing
characteristic is not the robot bush or any other technical detail of
the procedure other than the fact that it avoids the **duplication**
of the conscious entity being uploaded (and secondarily, that it's
as gradual a transition as you like, that can be performed while
you're awake [*]). The idea of uploading via duplication does nothing for me:
even though I know that there's a 50% chance that "I" would wake up as the
uploaded duplicate, and might feel some gratitude to the flesh-and-blood
original for making the trip possible, this flesh-and-blood original nevertheless
identifies with the other 50% likely outcome, that I would wake up to hear "Well
that's all there is to it, Mr. F., you may now rest assured that there
is an accurate replica of your personality poised to take off into
the big bright beyond. Please pay the receptionist on the way out,
and drive safely on the way home, hear?".

> Show me that cubic millimeter of computronium you mention above,
> then we'll talk ;-> .
> Jim, that's like somebody asking, "Show me Grand Central Station (circa
> 1935)" shortly after the development of the Newcommen Engine ( a pre-curson to
> Watt's steam engine).

Well, that's the point I was making. Making a fuss over cryonic suspension
at this stage seems a little like somebody in 1710 (or whenver it was)
getting excited at the prospect of a train trip after hearing about
that early steam engine, and spending their life savings on a ticket.
I want to see the train that's going to take me to Missouri, before
I bother talking to the ticket agent. But that's just me ;-> .

Jim F.

[*] Unless it's an emergency:

"Yatima knelt beside Orlando. 'What do we do? There are a lot of
people hurt, I don't know how long it will take to get help...
I still have the Introdus nanoware. I can use it, if that's
what you want... What do you want? Do you want to die?'

Yatima sprang to vis feet..., then fired the Introdus into
Orlando... Ve froze. Waves of nanoware were sweeping through
Orlando's body, shutting down nerves and sealing off blood vessels
to minimize the shock of invasion, leaving a moist pink residue
on the rubble as flesh was read and then cannibalized for energy.
Within seconds, all the waves converged to form a gray mask on
his face, which bored down to the skull and then ate through
it. The shrinking core of nanoware spat fluid and steam, reading
and encoding crucial synaptic properties, compressing the brain
into an ever-tighter description of itself, discarding redundancies
as waste.

Inoshiro stooped down and picked up the end product: a crystalline
sphere, a molecular memory containing a snapshot of everything
Orlando had been.

'What now? How many do you have left?'

Yatima stared at the snapshot, dazed. Ve had violated
Orlando's autonomy. Like a lightning bolt, like a blast of
ultraviolet, ve had ruptured someone else's skin.

'How many?'

Yatima replied, 'Fourteen.'

'Then we'd better go use them while we can.'"

-- _Diaspora_, Greg Egan


"For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality."

-- 1 Corinthians 15:53 (via Handel's _Messiah_ ;-> )


My friend F sent me the following amusing reminiscence
of Vannevar Bush, science advisor to Roosevelt during
World War II:

> One time I was seeking appropriations for wartime medical
> research. With me was Dr. A. Newton Richards, the recognized dean
> of the medical fraternity.... One of the congressmen asked him,
> "Doctor, will all these researches you are carrying on tend to
> lengthen the span of human existence?" "God forbid," said Richards,
> smack into the record.... When the record came down from the Hill
> for correction, I sent it first to Richards, and when it came back,
> I found he had crossed out that question and answer. So I restored
> them. I thought the passage ought to be in the permanent record of
> Congress.
> -- Vannevar Bush
> --- Joe Fineman
> ||: In the program of life, every line is a workaround and :||
> ||: contains a bug. :||

> > Do you have the name of the source document?
> _Pieces of the Action_ (William Morrow, 1970), p. 130.
> He was 80 when the book was published. He died 4 years later.
> *

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