X-Message-Number: 10927
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 10:41:53 EST
Subject: options present & future

Thomas Donaldson (#10920) has misread my post(s) on future money, virtual
reality, physiology of satisfaction etc. He sometimes has a tendency (maybe we
all do) to focus just on what catches his eye at a particular moment, and then
to regurgitate a standard spiel in rebuttal.

I have never said or implied that we will or should retreat into a subjective
world of virtual reality, sacrificing control of the environment, for obvious
reasons, some of which Thomas has trotted out. Here is my standard spiel:

As to living as uploads or computer programs, I suspect this is not even
possible in principle, for reasons I have spelled out many times. Yet it
remains true that we can learn enormous amounts of useful information by doing
computer simulations, and that some of this information--supplied to us by our
personal thinking/actuating machines at some future phase of history--will
substitute in several ways for the present use of money.

It also remains true that everything of DIRECT importance to us occurs (as far
as we now know or can best guess) inside our own skulls, as signals in our
brains. When we understand the anatomy and physiology of the brain in full
detail, we may well choose to obtain SOME types of satisfaction by direct
routes, creating the desired signals instead of trying to manipulate the
outside environment to produce stimuli that lead to the desired result. This
does not imply abdication of responsibility or control.

It is also nearly certain that the varieties of satisfaction, and means to
obtain them, will multiply hugely, and will again be manipulable by the
individual, working with his thinking/actuating/ self-improving machine,
partly integrated into his own psyche. Once more, this displaces or replaces
much or most of the traditional role of money.

And the usual caution: Newcomers, please don't conclude that immortalists are
impractical fantasizers or that the future will be too weird to be attractive.
There will be many futures, and many phases of each, and no one need suffer
excessive future shock. The upside potential enormously exceeds the downside.
Choose life!

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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