Re: The Joys of Flesh (was: The Poor Masses)

Eugene Leitl (
Thu, 5 Sep 1996 11:17:58 +0200 (MET DST)

On Wed, 4 Sep 1996, Max More wrote:

> At 09:42 AM 9/4/96 -0500, wrote:
> >
> >As for uploading and becoming von neuman machines.

Uploading is impossible on von Neumann machines. Even semiconductor
lithography is insufficient, dedicated maspar molecular hardware is
required. Nothing less will serve. With semiconductor technology, only
insect equivalents are implementable. These are virtually useless, since
<<H, but will bring us robust nonalgorithmic systems which we currently lack.

A human equivalent as implemented in molecular circuitry is thought in
reside in a volume ranging from a sugar cube to an orange (with cooling,
packaging, interfacing, etc. about the size of the fridge), and run at
1..10^3 realtime speed. Power burn might lie in kW range.

Nanoists will claim much better performance in a much smaller package,
but I tend to be less optimistic, as practicablity of strong Drexlerian
nanotechnology has not been demonstrated yet. Anyway, diamond rod logic
is too slow in comparision to molecular switches, which operate on
electronically excited molecular states/quantum dot arrays.

> >Honestly, am I the only extropian who likes the flesh?

You might have no choice. You seem to assume that >H level intelligences
to be actively benign, leaving you a sufficient part of resources. I
suspect the scenario to be Darwinian/ALifish, where first the easily
accessable (Belt, Kuiper, Oort, atmosphereless satellites) resources get
rapidly depleted, then, should "transcension" be impossible, planets to
become disassembled (crude ad hoc method: first turn a fraction of the
Moon into Earth-orbiting intelligent mirrors/solar sailers, burn away the
atmosphere by focusing reflected light, wait for the surface to cool,
deposit autoreplicators to fashion mass separators/mass drivers -- voila!
Earth is ready for dissassembling. Doubtlessly, a >H will find much more
elegant means...).

Should above scenario to become true, you'd be offered a free ride to
uploading, in the best case. In the worst case... watch the sky burn. It
will be painless... almost.

> >Maybe I should form a faction of tech fiends who are
> >sleazy enough to appreciate the aesthetics and primal joy
> >of a fit sweaty body. Maybe I'm just an immortalist who

I doubt you would notice the difference, if anaethesized, (destructively)
scanned with sufficient resolution, a model of you abstracted &
downloaded, short-time memory deleted (that will be probably an artefact of
the vitrification).

Artificial (not virtual) reality, if properly done, is indistinguishable
from real reality from the user front end. Virtual sweat stings just like
real one, should you crave the sensation.

However, AR does not _require_ a body. In fact burning additional
computatational resources for rendering a nice AR landscape _and_
maintaining a proper body model might be considered a handicap. You might
be outperformed by others entities, who do not require such additional

Darwin days, even in the digital Eden.

Unless computation can be detached from material carrier (transcension), it
will be limited by available signal delay latency/circuitry/energy flux
-- which are scarce resources.

> >thinks the whole universe should be our domain. I guess I
> >wouldn't mind being able to have alternate _identities_ of
> >man, machine, cyborg, virtual entity--but I certainly don't
> >want to be constrained to one. [snip].

Again, you might not have the choice.

> >Anyone else out there feel remotely the same?
> This issue came up when I was debating Paulina Boorsook on the BrainTennis
> forum of HotWired. She was under the impression that all Extropians dislike,
> hate, fear, or feel uncomfortable in their physical bodies, and that we're

This body is both mortal, and easily destroyed. Using the same reasoning,
one might be tempted to remain in the womb forever -- purportedly, it's
pretty cozy there.

Nevertheless, growing up is a natural process. Rarely does one profit who
yearns to remain an irresponsible child forever.

> all hell bent on dumping them. This may be true for some, but I know enough
> Extropians to know it's not generally true.

Whoever does not feel comfortable within his body is slightly neurotic at
best, and obviously should strive to remedy this unsatisfactory condition.

Whoever choses to ignore a vital opportunity, must be prepared to accept
the implications arising from that choice.

Darwin days, childhood's end.

> I agree with you, Tim, in that I want a *choice* of bodies, physical and
> virtual. I take great pleasure in my current physical body and spend
> considerable time and energy to keep it in condition. Like any Extropian, I
> want to add to my body's abilities and to be able to modify its responses
> according to my will rather than leaving its responses and capacities
> primarily an accident of my genes. Eventually, assuming I make it to that

Tinkering with the DNA is nontrivial (one cannot modify morphogenesis
programme in an adult, one has to rewrite it), and has its limits, which
are artefacted by this universe's physics. AR has none, since you define
your own physics. How's that for a god?

> time, I expect to see this body--or whatever it has become--as only one
> among a choice of physical vehicles.
> Tim, your comment suggests you think you might be the only one who
> appreciates the way of flesh among Extropians. That's certainly not true. I
> know many of us who love working out, having sex, hiking, surfing, skiing,
> swimming, etc. I think it's a big mistake to give the impression to the
> public that Extropians reject the physical body. Maybe a few seek to live as
> utterly disembodied thinkers, but most of us want to enjoy all the means of
> being in contact with reality, including physical sensations and perceptions.

Should AR be indistinguishable from RR (real reality), where's difference?


> Max More, Ph.D.
> President Extropy Institute (ExI)
> Editor Extropy
> 310-398-0375