X-Message-Number: 11321
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 00:35:21 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #11313 - #11317

Thomas Donaldson writes,
>I have a more restrictive idea than that of Mike Perry as
>to just whom might be truly resurrected (as compared to simply recreating
>a version which might or might not be like the original).
To me, to make an exact copy would be "truly resurrecting" as would even
making a more advanced version or continuer. Based on certain arguments
about parallel universes, this would become much easier (though still not
easy by our standards) than otherwise.

>But supposing that we COULD do that, there is another problem. Lucy was
>not a person in the current sense. She was an APE of a species which
>has now both vanished and become human (after hundreds of thousands of 
>years). When we get to such ancestors, we also reach species with whom
>we (those living now) have little in common and no serious interest in
>going further --- except as specimens for museums.
Today we expend effort to do things like compute the billionth digit of pi
or determine the names of our ancestors who lived in the 1500s. In the more
distant future, with our advanced capabilities, I conjecture we'll want to
do things like immortalize sentient lifeforms that lived out their lives
well below the human level. So we'll create continuers (in an appropriate
sense yet to be worked out in detail) of these, and provide appropriate
opportunities for them to develop into wise, advanced immortals who
nevertheless remember and even value their humbler beginnings. A wonderful

>Moreover, if we were to resurrect (say) homo habilis or some other early
>ancestor, we would have an ape-person who would have to develop a great
>deal (by evolution, a looong time) before it could even conceive of means
>to resurrect ITS ancestors. Sure, we could cause that development by our
>own intervention, but if so the desires and abilities of such creatures
>will not have come from them but from our own ideas. That is, an almost
>artificial being: artificial in its abilities and its feelings. And so we
>would not have really resurrected Lucy at all. I find it hard to see the
>point of such an exercise.
I think there will many possible options for assisting or permitting a being
to develop into something greater than itself. We can hardly imagine what
all the possibilities will be, but maybe we will want to spend a relatively
"looong time" if that produces a more "desirable" continuer. (I don't see it
taking several million years however. We are assuming one long-lived
individual advances in some way, not that a species of short-lived
individuals evolves). No I don't imagine Lucy would resurrect her ancestors,
except maybe after first growing into an advanced immortal, when she might
have a special interest, but so might others who are less related.

>As for emotional ties (this is for Mike, too) it's certainly true that I
>might acquire emotional ties to a resurrected Lucy --- not as another
>human being but as an unusually intelligent animal. I just don't see that
>as a good reason to try to resurrect Lucy.

Depends on the kind of emotions you are talking about, and the form in which
Lucy is resurrected and develops into something higher. The future holds
many possibilities.
>To Mike: To say that we are all quantum devices because our atoms follow
>the laws of quantum mechanics does not strike me as a very effective

I do hope to study the matter more and contact physicists too. But I see no
way around the argument that, inasmuch as everything is made up of particles
that obey the laws of quantum mechanics in all that they do, everything can
be considered a quantum device. It's interesting that the Copenhagen
interpretation of quantum mechanics assumes the observer is a "classical",
i.e. non-quantum device or system. But what is observed *is* a quantum
system. In practice though we *know* that a person doesn't simply switch
from being non-quantum to quantum depending on whether they are playing the
role of "observer" or not! So the Copenhagen interpretation itself is in
need of updating, unless you want to get mystical.

>Given the likelihood that we live in a literally infinite universe, plus
>the plain fact that our neurons (and hence our brain) acts nonlinearly,
>it seems to me very unlikely that we can be considered, theoretically,
>as creatures fully expressible by digital means.

The Bekenstein bounds, and other considerations relating to the way quantum
systems work, would seem to furnish strong counterarguments to what you are

Dave Pizer writes,

>I was stating that if we have the technology (some day far in the future) to
>bring back every person who ever existed (and every thinking animal that
>ever existed), not just those who were suspended, that we *should* do this.
>I was replying to a posting by Charles Platt about ethics.
>I think this is what Mike was agreeing to  ---- ????

Yes, I am in favor of "bringing them all back" in some form, sometime,
somewhere, with exact circumstances to be decided by our future selves and
friends. I'm not sure this is contrary to anything Thomas Donaldson has
expressed about bringing back any being (human being at any rate) we can,
though I gather he takes a more conservative view of which people it will be
possible to bring back. 

Mike Perry

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