X-Message-Number: 14325
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 09:46:12 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: for Dave Pizer, and more

Some comments:
To Dave Pize,
The general belief among those who actually consider and study how
brains work would say that awareness is certainly needed. In that
sense it's very important. However, if you aren't awake or aware,
it's not obvious that the brain areas producing your awareness are
doing anything.

As for the possibility that we somehow NEED that awareness, we have
to distinguish between the condition of someone who is frozen and/or
vitrified, and a normal person. Freezing or vitrification means that
you have no awareness. If the brain areas which play a role in that
awareness (as distinct from those involved in your memory) happen to
be absent, then they are likely to be replaceable. Replacing your
memories looks far harder. There IS one way in which the awareness
areas may turn out to be important too: we have no reason to believe
that the circuits are the same in everyone, and hence we'd have to
keep more information as to just what YOUR awareness circuits did
(say, as compared to mine). This possibility presently looks unlikely,
but perhaps the future will tell us differently. A second possibility,
which looks a bit more likely, is that these brain areas do things
other than produce awareness when given connections to brain areas
which store our memories. Basically that might tell us that we have
to keep those areas, too ... not because of their involvement in 
awareness, but for other reasons.

About nanotechnology:
As most readers of Cryonet know, I publish a newsletter about 
scientific issues of interest to cryonicists. Yes, a lot of it has
dealt which scientific work on memory and awareness. However I have
tried also to report on ACTUAL EXPERIMENTS developing nanotechnology
... as distinct from purely theoretical ideas. I cannot help but
notice that all such experiments aim at finding other ways to do 
computing or other activities, and no time at all on finding out 
how to revive cryonics patients or suspend them in the first place.

I agree here: whatever means cryonicists develop to suspend and
revive themselves will have to be developed by cryonicists. The others
will be busy doing other things. Perhaps I am even more pessimistic
then some, but I'd also say that no SINGLE circumstance will cause most
people to join a cryonics society and/or have normal hospitals and
companies involved in cryonics. Yes, I believe that will eventually
happen, but it will be far slower than many think, and involves
lots more events than simply the discovery of a technology which
gives us suspended animation.

			Best wishes and long long life for all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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