Reanimation context, status of suspendees

From: Eirikur Hallgrimsson (
Date: Fri Jul 14 2000 - 22:08:01 MDT

I had an interesting flash this evening that yielded a metaphor for
what some issues surrounding reanimation might be like.
This is not an attack on cryonics, it's my exploration of what might
happen to *me.* I don't think this is entirely original (save the
Egyptology angle), but I've not heard this perspective aired in a
while. I started thinking about how I would feel about being stored
in the back room of a museum.

This is a metaphor; please don't attack the obvious lack of

What if, I ask, we could today reanimate a pharoah? After unwinding
the mummy wrappings, immersing the remains insome secret sauce, and
achieving regeneration, we could, with contemporary medical
technology repair most causes of death, and offer significant life
expectancy extension compared to the person's original expectations.
And, heck, we can offer eventual suspension for yet another afterlife.

Would we do this? Should we?

I come up with the following issues:

a) We can't meet the pharoah's expectations. This isn't the Egyptian
afterlife. Y2K is not going to be a fun place for anyone who was
suspended back then. There is no environment for them to be
comfortable in, and it's probably infeasible to create one that is
more than trivially large (we could clearly decorate an apartment
appropriately). Contrary to this, I imagine that an engineer of the
time (Imhotep) would be extremely interested in skyscrapers and

b) We can't really communicate with our time-traveller very well.
Actually, we do know a great deal about what the language sounded
like. I was thinking we'd have to hope that the ancient suspendee
was literate, but I wasn't recalling the good state of understanding
of the language. Actually this "can't communicate" issue was to be
key, and I've torpedoed it. Culturally there is going to be a huge
gap. I don't know how to compare it to existing cases of isolated
tribes, though. Getting more connected to my Egyptology side, I
KNOW there'd be a long line of people wanting to ask a lot of

Well. What I meant to write about was a model suggesting that
suspendees might be left suspended indefinitely (forever) because of
irrelevance (too ancient/different to be interesting) and
acculturation (too unfair to wake them into the modern world). Like
mummies in a museum.

My expectation is that the oncoming singularity compresses history
such that the changes from Kufu's time (2,500 BCE) to ours may
actually look small compared to what our modern suspendees will face.
I'm not presently able to imagine how improved technologies will
address this. The suspendees may uploaded instead of physically
reanimaged. then modified (note that this essentially has to be
without fully informed consent) so as to be able to function in the
social world of the future.

Strange stuff. It wouldn't be a singularity if we could see the
other side.


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