X-Message-Number: 13977
From: "George Smith" <>
References: <>

Subject: You don't need to know how the mind works for nanotech to succeed in 
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 12:29:31 -0700

Thomas Donaldson (in message 13971 "about nanotechnology") tells us

> Again, no form of nanotechnology alone will allow us to revive
> ANYONE, we need to understand much more deeply how our brains remember
> and give us our sense of identity ... at a minimum (it is even very
> likely that a device that could bring someone back from a bad
> suspension could NOT be a molecular size, though it may have many
> nanotechnological parts.

No form?  Ever?  Absolutely?

If molecular nanotechnology enables the reproduction of the brain as it was
before death, the brain will probably work then as it did before.  You will
wake up and the world of science may remain totally ignorant about how your
brain really did it (waking up again).

If you can reproduce the structure - in toto - it doesn't seem you NEED to
know how the mind works.  If the brain works, the mind will follow.  If you
argue that we can't do THAT (reassemble the brain exactly as it was) then
I'm wondering how you can KNOW that we will NEVER (as in not in the next
1000 years!) EVER be able to do that.

If you are suggesting that there are "bad" suspensions which we will NEVER
be able to figure out how to restore the person's memories, then I still
have to ask how you can be sure we will NEVER be able to do this.  Never is
such a damn long time.

After all, in one sense we do restore brains today anytime someone recovers
from a coma.  Do we know how the mind/brain works or do we (hopefully) set
up the situation to enable a living brain to self repair itself and restore
consciousness? - Even if that situation is nothing more than keeping the
body alive.

And if Drexler's particular vision of molecular technology control is not
created, something equal or better sooner or later will be.  The idea we
will NEVER develop a technology which will control the position of
individual molecules seems impossible to imagine to me.

Again, if you take the long historical view, you should feel very optimistic
about the future of technology and in the long run the success of cryonics
will be one very simple and easy example of what humans will be able to
do... if we still consider ourselves to be "human" at all by then.

I really hope we do (and expect we WILL) come to fully understand how the
brain works and how it interfaces with the mental world of human
personality.  And I'm all for it!  We just probably don't need to wait for
that first to get cryonics to work.

And I'll just bet that Thomas Donaldson will be right on top of it when the
news breaks through so that we do understand the brain in full!

Keep up the good work, Tom!

"Just my opinion".

George Smith
("You can't win if you don't play", speaking for Bret Maverick:-)

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