X-Message-Number: 10041
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 1998 23:37:59 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10019 - #10024

Hi guys!

To Scott Badger: I can't really speak for anyone else but myself, but
as for reversible suspension and the problem you raise I will say this:
first of all, the methods cryonics researchers now have in mind to
make suspension reversible do NOT involve any powerful nanotechnology
at all. They work on ideas which have developed through current 
cryobiological research, such as the advantage of vitrifying tissues
rather than freezing them. You will probably hear much more about these
methods in the future.

Yes, to revive someone frozen by PRESENT methods will certainly involved
a much higher technology. Such a technology will very likely find such
things as dealing with aging to be trivially easy. But we aren't at 
that stage at all, and may not reach that stage for at least a century.

However, even at that stage cryonic suspension will remain valuable. The
problem which it addresses is that of what to do with someone who suffers
from a condition which we presently cannot cure. While I think that
our technology will continue to advance, I find it quite beyond the range
of possibility that at some identifiable future time we will know how
to cure EVERYTHING POSSIBLE. I believe this not because I have any deep
insight into the future, but because my understanding of history suggests
it. Before we had nuclear reactors no one could die of radiation 
poisoning... just one simple example. Every technology we have produces
new ways in which people can be damaged as a side effect; Im very
much in favor of new technologies, but their positive effect is always
an improvement over a previous situation, not totally without its own
bad side effects. And naturally, a new form of damage will not come with
automatic means to repair it. Thus I do not forsee any time in which
cryonic suspension will cease to be useful.

Moreover, agelessness is likely to be far more complex itself. Sure, we
may find a way to prevent one major source of aging; the result may not
be agelessness but instead a longer lifespan which then proceeds to
develop its own pathologies 2 centuries later. (I think myself, for 
instance, that physiological interventions with drugs will increase our
lifespans by as much as 50% or more, but after that some more fundamental
interventions may be needed: perhaps on cell lifespans, perhaps elsewhere.
And the symptoms of deterioration will be quite different from those
we see in the aging now). Some people may well be caught by such problems,
and their cryonic suspension would then become needed.

I will finally add that even the technology of suspension can change
considerably. If we learn soon how to reversible suspend people using
vitrification, then that technology may someday be superseded by others.
(I have ideas but doubt that I can really make any realistic predictions).
That's just the way things move, in technology and science. But the basic
idea of somehow storing someone until we know how to fix them will not
go away. EVER.

			Best and long long life,

				Thomas Donaldson

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