X-Message-Number: 16343
Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 21:02:38 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Re: Epstein's posting #16326

>If it doesn't believe in sentient meat,it's obviously not
>sentient anyway.

I would say it's just mistaken, not necessarily insentient.

>What matters to us is intelligence as WE
>know it!

Knowledge is not a static thing, however.

> >
> > Message #16205
> > Date: Sat, 05 May 2001 12:54:04 -0700 From: Mike Perry <>
> >
> > [Louis Epstein's posting:]
> >
> > >This [use of cadaver brain tissue in transplants] raises the prospect
> > >of mortalists dying so that immortalists may live.Presumably the
> > >harvesting of the neurons from the cadaver makes it impossible for
> > >the cadaver to be revived by means that may be developed.
> > To me it just raises the prospect of people in general dying (since their
> > lives might otherwise be saved if the intact brain could be saved) so
> > others might live.
>I presume that the immortalists would not leave instructions
>permitting their brains to be cut up for others,while the
>mortalists wouldn't care.Therefore,it would be mortalists
>who died while immortalists lived.

Maybe so. But even mortalists dying are still people dying. To me that is 
not good, and it also doesn't mean they really wanted it that way. They 
would have preferred continued life in a state of health, and might well 
have chosen a preservation option but for various tragically mistaken 
inhibitions. I'm not saying I would deny the right to make a misguided 
choice--but I don't have to like it either.

> > [regarding Alcor's neurovitrification project:]
> >
> > >I'll say again that this focus on neuros is something that disturbs
> > >me about Alcor.It's one thing to offer it as a last resort,but to
> > >deliberately prefer the preservation of only something that,fully
> > >repaired,CAN NOT live on its own seems nonsensical.
> > You are stumbling over semantics here. To "fully repair" a severed head
> > (still a person, just minus the part below the neck) would, of course, 
> mean
> > replacing the part cut away--then it could live on its own. [snip]
>The body-below-the-neck is not a recognized organ
>(or tissue type).

So what? It just *is*, by reasonable criteria, another appendage like the 
nose, only bigger and more complex. It isn't "you"--that part is in the 
head. (All right, I overlook some issues here, like whether a significant 
part of a pianist's identity is in her hands and so on, but I think I can 
defend this position.)

>The issues raised are not easily dealt with.
>Would it be considered abusive to ensure that a
>clone developed in an anencephalic state?

An anencephalic clone is no person. So it ought not to be considered 
"abusive" -- you aren't abusing anybody.

>Or accepted that an ordinary clone be brought
>to life and maturity,with the intent that its
>head then be in turn neuropreserved and replaced
>with the original's head?(Or just thrown away,
>if the clone was considered to have no rights?)

Very different issue. Put a brain in there and you now have states of 
consciousness and personhood. You then have to consider the civil rights of 
the person you have created.

>And growing patchwork parts and putting them all together
>would have its own complications.
>Best find a way to repair a whole body!

I think replacing it would be better yet. I have curvature of the spine, 
and my shoulders are too narrow. Why not just make a whole new skeletal 
frame, and you might as well make other parts new too.

> > [on artificial intelligences as persons, and so on:]
> >
> > > > In this case:  if we have the technological means to create
> > > > full-blown machine intelligence, we should also have a much
> > > > greater ability to provide all of the entities involved with
> > > > whatever resources they need in order to survive and prosper.
> > >
> > >But why should such entities be permitted to prosper?
> > >
> > >I don't see why you fail to see the prospect of AIs as a dire
> > >threat to the human ecological niche...and the highest obligation
> > >of humanity as the defense of that niche.
> > >

It sounds like you're saying that the highest aim of human existence is the 
preservation of the species. To me it's the individual that counts.

>[snip] Suppose somehow another race of beings did
> > get created, call it a-humanity ("a" meaning "not"). Would the highest
> > obligation of a-humanity be to defend *its* ecological niche? Would the
> > highest obligation of humanity and a-humanity then be to fight it out, in
> > grim Darwinian fashion, to see who would prevail? We must rise beyond 
> that,
> > and recognize value in all sentient beings irrespective of origins, meat
> > content, or other such classification.
>I don't think so.Were we to create rivals,we would need to get rid of

Well, I disagree. I don't see other beings, even if they are non-human, as 
just "rivals" to be gotten rid of. They could also enrich my own life in 
very many ways, if allowed to live, as I hope they would be, even as I 
could also benefit them, so we both would come out ahead.

>The way to win the fight is to make sure that it never happens
>in the first place,by ensuring that we never create any non-human

Why stop at that? Let's create as few intelligent beings as possible, 
beyond what are already here. And since most of them now here are 
mortalists, maybe they'll just die off too, leaving only a "skeleton crew." 
But where do you stop? Isn't anybody else, besides yourself, a potential 
rival? Needless to say, I see things in a very different light. I don't 
think we should play rabbit, but creating other beings, and not necessarily 
all made of meat, is nothing to shun in principle.

>Of course,I don't see calling machines "a race".
>The niche-defense obligation extends to biological
>intelligence as well,obviously.

I'm sure a flock of machines could be designed that would function much as 
a species, capable of self-replication, looking out for its own interests, 
trying to preserve its ecological niche, and so on. In effect it would be 
just as much a "race" as a biological counterpart.

> > > > So please, let's give the bots a break.
> > >
> > >I can't see why we should be so blind.
> >
> > I suspect that a bot could be designed that you would find attractive
> > enough to develop a blind spot for. If it seemed just like a human but had
> > non-protoplasmic stuff in it ... ? As a start you could try reading Lester
> > Del Rey's 1938, short science fiction classic, "Helen O'Loy," that 
> explores
> > this very theme.
>Sex-bots are an old staple.
>But a robot is still a robot,
>even if its programming leaves
>it expressing desire to be a
>"Bicentennial Man".

If it expresses desire it is a being, regardless of its origin or composition.

>We need clear drawn lines.
>We got rid of slavery,
>the beings who can own property
>can't be property.
>Now why turn property into beings?

People do that all the time. Farms (property) produce food. People eat it, 
they reproduce.

> > >I don't like the idea of deliberate conversion of healthy biological
> > >bodies to something else,and hope this never sees acceptance.
> >
> > What I hope is that nobody ever tries to deny me the right to accept
> > this option if I want it and it's possible to arrange it.
>I would,if in a position to do so,frustrate that hope of yours.
>I see such a desire,like a desire to die,as insane.

Well, naturally I disagree with your position and would, if in a position 
to do so, frustrate your attempts to deny me what I feel is my right to 
choose, and something not by any stretch of imagination insane.

> >f something can be made to work biologically,it should be.
> > >A life form that can not exist independently of civilization
> > >supporting it is a risky concept.
> > In the future I hope and think we will reach a stage where every 
> individual
> > is self-sustaining and doesn't require civilization with its potential for
> > encroaching on personal freedom. This will hold not in spite of but in
> > great part because of technological innovations that will affect our 
> basic,
> > physical structure (ways of getting around aging and diseases, for
> > instance, with their potential for enforcing dependence). [snip]
>If technological advantages improve our biology,
>they will be self-sustaining.But if they are
>in the area of things needing to be manufactured,
>provided with manufactured means of sustenance,
>and so forth,they create civilization-dependence
>just as surely as cryosuspension does.

Not necessarily. You could have a self-sustaining domicile. Self-repairing, 
uses available things from the environment to keep both you and it going. 
No need for input from the outside, or at least, it could, if it had to, 
get by on its own, like a biological organism, though of course it's not 
that. As one possibility, it might be situated in space, independently 
orbiting the sun, using solar energy. But I think such possibilities exist 
for earth-based structures too.

>Just what advances do you see that would enable
>survival in a primitive environment to be
Nanotechnology and AI, mainly. Powerful tools, very good if used with care.

>Even if I die I don't want to rot.

Me either.

>Not sure what the most promising
>avenues to investigate here are.
>Of course permafrost burial is
>proposed for lower-maintenance cooling,
>but I'm not sure how effectively it
>alone retards decay.
A combination of chemopreservation and permafrost might be better than 
either by itself. But this is an area that hasn't gotten the attention it 

Mike Perry

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