X-Message-Number: 12108
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 12:35:15 EDT
Subject: Davis, Badger, Donaldson etc.

Thanks to Jeff Davis and Scott Badger for their concurrent suggestions on 
getting schools/students to do free marketing surveys and studies for us. 
Very positive. If we are asked for background information, Cryonics Institute 
will make every effort, within reason, to cooperate.

I can't resist a little story on the negative side. Very recently, we 
received a request from some school/student to provide information on the 
communications layout of a cryonics facility, so they might try their hand at 
improving it. They wanted to know how our phones etc. were laid out, the 
floor plan, stuff like that. Totally unrealistic and meaningless....But not 
totally negative after all, because it demonstrates that Jeff Davis and Scott 
Badger are right--there is potential interest in schools/students working on 
our problems as an exercise, at no cost to us except our time for 
consultation. (There has also been occasional interest by law students in 
researching the past and potential future of legal/regulatory problems 
related to cryonics.)

 And again a mild disagreement with Thomas Donaldson, who reiterates in part:
 >Even if you accept a need for nanotechnology of some kind for revival, it
 >simply does not follow at all that US Federal Funding will move us much
 >closer to it, at least not until (imagine the day! at best only a loooong
 >time from now) cryonics became a major political movement. A large part 
 >of the work I've read in scientific journals is devoted to the use of
 >nanotechnology for (surprise!) smaller, faster computers. And such work
 >will very likely succeed. Hooray!!! We'll have smaller faster computers,
 >and still more cryonic suspendees needing repair. 
 >WE must support whatever technologies help us improve our suspensions;
 >and someday, WE must support the development of nanotechnologies for
 >repair of those unlucky cryonicists suspended before better means existed,
> and even afterwards when such better means could not be applied.
I think Thomas keeps missing the point. As Ralph Merkle testified before 
Congress recently again, development of nanotechnology over decades will 
require a major, ongoing interdisciplinary effort by the whole world 
community of science and technology, with billions of dollars invested, maybe 
trillions. Hundreds of millions have already been committed. Before one 
thinks of specific applications, such as revival of cryonics patients, there 
must come the groundwork, the GENERAL ability--by whatever aspects or 
versions of nanotech--first to understand the problems and then to develop 
methods to solve them. 

As Thomas has often said, one of the things we need is much more detailed 
knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the brain. This is being 
developed, and will be developed, partly through means that are not nominally 
"nanotech" and partly through means that clearly do involve nanotech.

As for faster and smaller computers, I am amazed that Thomas should deprecate 
that development. It is absolutely part and parcel of coming nanotech and the 
medical applications thereof. The Feynman/Drexler/Merkle version of nanotech 
requires manipulating atoms and molecules individually, which in most cases 
demands tremendous computing power compressed into tiny volumes. If we are 
ever to get "nanobots" capable of acting as submicroscopic surgeons (in the 
Fantastic Voyage mode), or nanobots to repair frozen people, we will 
certainly need such computers. 

In cryobiology it is very possible that relatively small commitments by a few 
cryonicists, or by  quasi-cryonicist companies such as 21CM, can make an 
impact that is not negligible compared with the whole world effort in 
cryobiology. In nanotech, however, it is totally out of the question that any 
present contribution by cryonicists could be so much as a pimple on the 
project. (Drexler and Merkle et al contribute more than a pimple, but their 
interest in nanotech preceded their interest in cryonics.) 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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