X-Message-Number: 10749
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 11:27:53 EST
Subject: Piggyback

Thomas Donaldson (#10720) wrote:

>As for Bob Ettinger's idea that the technology for revival will come
>"automatically", I'll have to disagree. Yes, a lot of the background
>technology needed will come automatically, but it will be cryonicists 
>who do the studies and experiments which ultimately lead to revival,
>not those who have no interest in that issue. 

What I had said (#10709) was:

>Actually, the general scientific advances needed [for repair of crudely
frozen >cryopatients] will be products or spinoffs of mainstream science, not
the special >gifts of "strangers" to a particular set of beneficiaries. 

A partial analogy:

Imagine that, 50 years ago, someone wanted to develop an Optical Character
Recognition system to scan print and turn it into an ordinary computer
character store. Lotsa luck! The computers available were too slow, storage
was insufficient, adequate scanners didn't exist, and even compilers for
writing programs were crude.  

But if (for some reason) OCR had not been developed, doing it now would be
relatively easy. The hard part--fast computers, ample storage, good scanners,
and sophisticated compilers--has already been done. The particular
application, OCR, would be almost a breeze.

For repair of crudely frozen cryopatients, the hard part is learning the
anatomy and physiology of the brain in fine detail. That will almost certainly
come as part of the general advance in biology, physics, and computing, with
or without cryonics. Another hard part is the development of general molecular
engineering capabilities, assemblers and so on, nanotechnology in the Drexler
sense. With a high probability, that will also come eventually, with or
without cryonics. That only leaves the relatively easy part, application to
cryopatients, that may have to be done or paid for by the patients or their
organizations and friends.

That isn't "automatic," but it's close enough.

And the usual reminder: None of this is to disparage the desirability of
immortalists/cryonicists doing more to help themselves, here and now.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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