X-Message-Number: 19143
Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 15:57:28 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Re: Can we become immortal? 

There have been some postings recently on the possibility of living 
forever, based on expressing the probability of surviving as an infinite 
product which is nonzero. Some years ago I wrote a paper on this subject 
which was published in a small circulation newsletter, *Abiolysist 
Macroscope* (reprinted later in *The Trans Times*, another small 
circulation newsletter). I considered not merely individuals but 
populations of individuals that go to infinity in such a way that the 
probability that everyone in the entire group lives forever is nonzero. The 
opening paragraph may be of interest; here it is:

"The survival of an organism such as man requires the preservation of the 
information stored in the brain that encodes the memories and personality. 
A similar preservation is required for the survival of other entities such 
as libraries that are devoted to the collection, storage, and retrieval of 
information. Here we consider the problem of preserving such information 
based on the assumption that the information is divided into segments 
called records, each of which is subject to radioactive (exponential) 
decay. Generally speaking, then, records must exist in multiple copies and 
must be copied repeatedly to insure their survival. Moreover, it is not 
sufficient merely to maintain a fixed number of copies of a record, but the 
number of copies itself must grow without limit. It is shown, however, that 
a slow, logarithmic growth rate in the number of copies is adequate to 
insure that the record survives forever with nonzero probability. Such a 
growth rate, moreover, is sufficient to insure a similar survival of every 
record in an expanding hierarchy such as a library or a mind that consists 
of a growing collection of records, or even a growing collection of record 
hierarchies of lower order. An expression is derived for the probability of 
survival of every record in a hierarchy of this type, and a brief 
tabulation of probabilities is made. As might be expected, the probability 
of survival increases with the number of copies of the first record that 
are initially available, and decreases with the order of the hierarchy. In 
fact, under the strategy of record-copying considered, a linear increase in 
the number of initial copies very nearly offsets a linear increase in the 
order of the hierarchy, so that corresponding probabilities are replicated."

If anyone is interested I can email the paper as a word file.

Mike Perry

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