X-Message-Number: 3301
From:  (David Stodolsky)
Subject: CRYONICS: Re: Brain Backup
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 19:27:22 +0100 (MET)

In Message: #3281 - Reply to David Stodolsky
Brian Wowk <> writes:

>David Stodolsky:
>> The brain backup option can be explored independent of progress in
>> cryonics, and as such it represents a valuable path. Even without
>> a practical implication, it represents a solid theoretical alternative,
>> which can be used as an existence proof. Merkel's work has already
>> show this. Unfortunately, his approach illustrates that there is currently
>> a very high financial barrier to brain backup. However, it shows how
>> to convert a physiological problem into an information processing
>> problem. This is a major advance since the rational person can no
>> longer say, "it can not work", only "it is too expensive".
>        Oh no, not again!  Didn't we already have this discussion 
>three years ago David? :)  In what sense is brain backup "a valuable 
>path"?  What is it an "alternative" to?  Not cryonics.  Not *today*.

Well, if you actually responded to the questions I asked, maybe they
would not keep coming up again ;-).

Any path to avoiding information theoretical death seems valuable to
me. And if it can be pursued independently of the limitation of cryonics,
even better.

I said, "theoretical alternative". Do we agree that one could escape
information theoretical death with Merkle's approach, given you had
$6 Billion or so on hand?

>        Will brain backup be an alternative to cryonics in the future?  
>Absolutely, positively, not.  In 10 years we will probably be able to 
>crypreserve whole brains perfectly.  In 40 years we will probably be 
>able to *reversibly* cryopreserve entire bodies.  In 60 years we may 
>even have some form of reversible *room temperature* biostasis 
>allowing indefinite storage.  And maybe, just maybe 60 or 70 years 
>from now we will have the nanomachinery and computing resources to 
>economically read out and store the fine structure of someone's brain.  
>However by that time people will hardly be dying of anything anymore, 
>and when they are there will be medical alternatives available that 
>are far superior to being reduced to binary bits.

There are some who think that being reduced to binary bits is not only
superior to cryonics, but potentially superior to living in any biological 

>P.S. I've read Ralph Merkle's "Large Scale Analysis of Neural 
>Structures" monograph too.  In it even Ralph admits, "A complete 
>analysis of the cellular connectivity of a structure as large as the 
>human brain is only *a few decades away*." (emphasis mine).  And Ralph 
>is an optimist.

Isn't this a requirement for revival? That is not the question here.
Could we do safe storage with today's techniques, so that analysis could
occur in the future?


David S. Stodolsky, PhD               Internet: 
Peder Lykkes Vej 8, 4. tv.      (C)         Tel.: + 45 32 97 66 74
DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark                Fax: + 45 32 84 08 28

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