Re: SciAm: nano and cryonics

Date: Thu Aug 16 2001 - 10:11:53 MDT

Robert Bradbury writes:
> I agree with Robin that it sounds like the last gasps
> of those who don't want to admit that once we know
> how to fly, the blood of billions will be on our
> hands for not doing it sooner.

[Note, I don't think this is an accurate paraphrase of Robin's posting.]

One thing that does come through in the on-line articles is the damage
to the Drexlerian nanotech vision done by its association with cryonics.
We had some discussion last year about a similar article in Nature that
made the same connection (might have been by one of the same guys).

Where cryonicists see nanotech as lending credibility to their field,
the rest of the world sees nanotech's credibility as being destroyed by
the connection to cryonics. Most people seem to have an strong prejudice
that cryonics cannot (or should not?) work, and any technology that
could supposedly make it work becomes instantly suspect.

Much of the criticism of nanotech in the sciam articles brings in its
supposed utility for cryonics, as though that is a sort of reductio ad
absurdum that proves the vision is false. Super computers, ultra strong
materials, even self replication may be acceptable dreams. But raising
the dead is beyond the pale.

I tend to agree with Robert above that ultimately this is due to the
understanding that if cryonics works, if currently dead people are some
day brought back to life, then we are all responsible for a holocaust
beyond imagining. Every person allowed to die today without suspension
is an unnecessary and preventable death. As Robert says, the blood of
billions is on our hands. Most people are not able to deal emotionally
with the horror of this possibility.

(Of course, even most of us signed up for cryonics aren't doing anything
about it either, and we are the ones who are most likely to have to face
consequences eventually for our inaction.)


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