X-Message-Number: 11847
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 01:53:18 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Identigraphy, consciousness, splitting CryoNet

I am a strong advocate of "Identigraphy" as a backup to cryonics, and glad
to see at least some organization is being formed to carry this out.
Cryonics organizations too will store materials of this sort such as
diaries, tapes, photos, etc. Some people have tried to encourage more
record-keeping and storage of this form (the Chamberlains come to mind). I
think though that the value of such an approach is insufficiently recognized
and ought to be promoted more than it has been.

Next, to comment a little on Bob Ettinger's posting (#11832):

>But I'll make the following brief comments. Dr. Crevier wrote, in part:
>>For example an inert book merely describing a mind could not be conscious, 
>>because no such book could ever behave as if conscious.
>Well, that depends on what "behave" means. The Tome could be used to control 
>a robot, exactly as the Tape could. 
>Remember, the Tome was written by the Tape. If desired, another simple 
>mechanism could take the pages of the Tome, one by one (state by state) and 
>feed them to the robot, with exactly the same results as if the Tape were in 
>direct control of the robot. 

It seems to me that the Tome would store a record of past behavior only.
True, you could use it to duplicate that past behavior again, like running a
movie. But it would not be capable of directing adaptive behavior, without
allowing ongoing changes in the Tome itself, or in some other record somewhere.


>Finally, yet again, on the question of whether a system could be unconscious 
>and yet behave as though conscious. If two systems "behave" exactly alike 
>(except for quantum uncertainties) in every detail of their innards as well 
>as externals, then the systems are identical except for location, and if one 
>is conscious so is the other. But if their "behavior" refers only to external 
>appearances as noted by an outside observer, that is a different story, and 
>it is unquestionably possible for the observer to be misled. 

There is a third possibility that I think is being overlooked here, or at
least needs some clarification. Imagine two systems that both behave equally
as if conscious. They are not, however, identical in their innards, but they
are isomorphic, with time modeled as time. One, for instance, might be a
person with a meat brain, the other an artificial device that carefully
simulates each part of a meat brain in all its functioning, but in fact has
no meat. Here then we are not just dealing with the external appearance of
consciousness, but internals as well. So, is the artificial device
conscious? I vote yes (which does not rule out voting yes in some other
cases too).

On the topic of splitting CryoNet: I know there are some (at least one,
maybe many more) who unsubscribed in disgust, and others who seem about to,
because of these discussions of philosophical issues, which some of us
cryonicists consider important nonetheless. If there is a consensus that we
should split CryoNet, let's do it and get it over with. Or consider options,
or something, rather than just letting the problem fester and ignoring it
(an easy way out for me too). My time is limited, like many others no doubt.
But I'm willing to volunteer some time to help rectify this problem.
However, I would need feedback from others as to what the options are and
what really is the consensus as to what should be done.

I'll close with some thoughts as to why the philosophical issues on
consciousness could be more important to cryonics than we think--though part
of the motive is amusement too. Say in the future, the quantum computer is
built and lives up to many expectations. Eventually it becomes possible to
upload into the QC. People who do find that, not only can they have all the
feelings, intelligence, etc. of humans (as far as they or anyone else can
tell), but actually, an enormous expansion of all mental talents,
experiences, joy, etc. is possible and pretty much inevitable. Finally, the
erstwhile humans decide that really, there is *no consciousness outside the
QC*--all else is crude fakery at best. People who started from humans regard
themselves as not the persons who were originally uploaded, but REAL persons
now. True, they may have some memories of an earlier life, but those
memories are now embedded in a TRUE consciousness, thus creating the
ILLUSION that the being in which the memories were originally laid down (the
human original) was conscious too. But they "know" this is an illusion!
(Moreover, they may not think much of these memories and may be inclined to
discard them, thus "erasing" their human origins altogether.)

Now, to get to cryonics: the question has been pending for some time of
whether to revive certain people (humans that is) who have been maintained
for many years in frozen storage. As it turns out, it is technically
feasible, but the QC people wonder if it's worth it. After all, these humans
were *never conscious at all* despite any feeble appearances to the
contrary. It's possible that most or even all of the QC people would be in
favor of just "discarding" them (burial, cremation, etc.), especially if
they think that memories of an earlier life aren't worth keeping anyway.
Actually, I doubt it, but it will call for a different viewpoint, which I am
reasonably confident will prevail.

Mike Perry

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