X-Message-Number: 12110
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: more on nanotechnology and my opinions, for Bob Ettinger
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 23:28:13 +1000 (EST)

Some comments for Bob Ettinger:

First of all, I am NOT deprecating smaller and faster computers. I'd be
glad if by whatever means we can get such computers, and have done a good 
deal of programming etc myself. (Specialty: parallel computing). What I
am saying is that such computers will not by themselves take us 1 micron
closer to improved cryonic suspensions or means to revive people from
cryonic suspension. WE'LL have to be the ones to do that.

Second, I was making a statement about US Federal funding and
nanotechnology. I do not see how you can disagree that such funding will
not automatically bring us means for revival from cryonic suspensions.
Again, WE'LL have to make that step... unless, as I said, cryonics became
a far more politically powerful movement than it is now.

I will also add to what I was saying. There are other nanotechnologies
than those advocated by Drexler and Merkle. To do repair it is not at all
necessary (though it would certainly be convenient) to have computers
which fit well inside a human cell. Lots of different roads to repair 
exist, all of them using some kind of nanotechnology. It will be very 
interesting to see how this issue works out in reality as distinct from
the forecasts of some Nanotechnologists. 

Just what variety of nanotechnology might be needed for repair will depend
not only on what is available but also what we learn about the precise damage 
one kind of suspension method applied to a patient will cause. In some
cases we may discover that the patient had been destroyed by his/her
suspension. In others we may find that comparatively small modifications
to the abilities of the neurons and glial cells will allow repair to 
proceed almost by itself. And lots of other cases are likely to exist.

I will not continue in this vein, not because I cannot but because it
would take more time than I now have. I will, however, point out that
brain repair will probably involve repair of neurons with axons that can
extend for centimeters and more; this means that NO purely local method
of repair will work. If we have nanosized repair machines, then they must
also have means to communicate with one another. It's not that local
repair is useless, but that the targets of one particular axon are
likely to be important, and we'll have to trace that axon to come anywhere
near to finding its targets. Locally there is likely to be very little 
evidence of just which cut end among several must be linked with which
other cut end. (Yes, we can do some things by working out just which
neurochemicals the axon was carrying, but that may not be enough at all).

			Best and long long life for all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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