Re: ethical problem? Whatever.

Jeff Davis (
Tue, 20 Apr 1999 00:28:25 -0700

In response to Emlyn O' Reagan's concern for the feelings of any old farts who should chance to materialize within earshot of her "Odes to Extropian Optimism", Eugene Leitl seems to have let slip out:

	"...outline the basics of cryonics (even if chances of it working are
	currently small)."

	Now,  I consider Gene's offerings to be of consistently high quality, but
in this case, I must (once again) take exception. Regarding the likelihood of reanimation following cryonic suspension, SUCCESS IS A NEAR CERTAINTY.
(Yes, sports fans, we've been here before.) Unlike the last time however,
this time I'm going to tell you why I hold this view. Though I'm only going to give you

The short version:

(To avoid confusion, let me, from the outset, narrow the scope of my remarks to technical feasiblity only. If a comet should hit the earth, nuclear war or Luddites obliterate civilization, or grey, blue, or saffron goo injest the galaxy,... well, that's somebody else's problem.)

Cryonic suspension--molecular immobilization by solidification, and reaction rates vastly reduced by ultra-low temperature--virtually halts structural deterioration. Time comes to a stop. ("What about the effects of background radiation?" some will reply, when a decorous silence could have avoided the embarrassment of so feeble an attempt at rebuttal.) This means that there is effectively no time limit placed on the development of a reanimation capability.

Forty years, forty thousand years, forty million years, four billion years,...ooops, KABOOM... the sun goes nova,... oh, well,...times up. Lest my point get lost in the hyperbole:

	 Point number One: No time limit.
	 The future is a very long time, any or all of which is available to be
applied to the problem of fixin' your frostbite.

Drexler studied the question of the feasibility of nanotech. His preliminary conclusion: No currently known natural law can be shown to prohibit its development, AND biology stands as a robust, real-time, functional example of nanotech in action (proof of concept). Whence I conclude that if you're going to nay say the feasibility of cell-repair technology, then the burden of proof lies with you.

	 Point number Two: A clear road ahead.
	Nothing is currently known  to stand in the way of developing the
necessary cell-repair technology.

Finally, there is the issue which I shall politely call lack of imagination.

This list allows us to speculate about a future of post-human enhancements, SI's, self-directed evolution, and the singularity--beyond which last the fun may exceed our current ability to predict (imagine?). In light of this, how can anyone feel confident to predict that the capability of the next ten thousand years of post-humanity and their SI cohorts will be so limited as to imply only a "small" chance they will be able to fix cellular frostbite?

	Point number three: Future smarts on the job.   
	The intelligence of post-humanity et al, not the limited resources of
today, will be applied to the task.

The above is the "short" version.

I therefore feel that it is not unreasonable to suggest that in future, rather than saying cryonic suspension currently has a "small" chance of working, that you might say rather that it has, say, an "uncertain" chance of working? Uncertain. Yeah. I can live with that.

Or you could say SUCCESS IS A NEAR CERTAINTY, as I do.

			Best, Jeff Davis

	   "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
					Ray Charles