X-Message-Number: 24905
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 09:29:55 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #24897 - #24902

And More on Biological Brains

Hi everyone!

A relatively minor matter: on Friday 22 October I completed the next
PERIASTRON by mailing it out to subscribers and a few others to whom
I've sent a copy, primarily for their help. It has one major typo: it is
really Vol 7, No. 9, not Vol 7, No 8. After all my proofreading, I forgot
to look at the top header.

As for "biological" brains: the first point I would make is that we're
still far from understanding how our brains work in the first place.
Without such understanding, notions of improvements become speculations
alone. If we don't preserve the memory of most things which happen to
us, we're likely doing so for a good reason (why bother? for instance).
As for "biological", it doesn't look to me that any version of a brain
which successfully produces a consciousness and memory like ours
won't have major features which we associate with biology: growth,
and the ability to change neural connections among them. Without those
features you're not going to get a brain which works at all like ours,
and certainly not one into which you could transfer yourself. And NOTE:
I did NOT say that such features must be implemented by biological
means, simply that they were features that needed implementation. But
I'd add that however it were done, any device/creature/person with
those two features would LOOK quite biological.

For many issues now, PERIASTRON has concentrated on advances in our 
understanding of how brains work. I don't really care if you subscribe
to PERIASTRON when you make statements about how we might change our
brains; however it is one way to learn about this issue in the detail
needed for intelligent speculation. (I'd very much like to discuss
vitrification in more detail too, but published sources are rare,
especially compared to work on memories, consciousness etc).

               Best wishes and long long life for all,

                    Thomas Donaldson

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