X-Message-Number: 3367
Date: 29 Oct 94 13:47:09 EDT
From: John de Rivaz <>
Subject: CRYONICS Brain Backup Report

                                                         More Brain Backup:

I have received very little support for the continuation of
the paper newsletter, but Herr Klaus Reinhard (Germany) has
contributed the following article, which is a updated version
of one that appeared in Longevity Report 19.

If there is to be another paper edition, and there is no
objection, I would like to include some of the comments made
on the subject on the Cryonet. Brain Backup Report is filed
with the British Library and this will add to the stored
records of the people involved!

                              Future Revival
                               with the Help
                              of Information.

                              Klaus Reinhard 

Important scientists, for example Professor Marvin Minsky,
Dr Ralph Merkle, and Dr Hans Moravec, say that intelligent
and self conscious computers are a possibility for the
future. And they agree to the information paradigm;"If the
essential contents of your mind could be transferred into a
brain-like computer, then that computer would be you." 
Information can not only be stored in brains and computers.
It can also be stored on paper, tapes or microfilm. Even
inner mental processes such as thoughts, feelings, and
visual images can be recorded and stored by these means. If
we describe them by words or drawings, other people can
understand the essentials. Anyone who wants to protocol his
own thoughts, memories feelings etc in detailed diaries
does note need particular talent as an author. While
writing, he need only imagine that he must explain his
thoughts and feelings to someone else. 
You cannot write down all your thoughts. However, as
important  memories and thoughts come back more frequently,
you can record in the course of some years enough
information about yourself to describe approximately your
personality and your life history. Of course, along with
your diaries, you should also keep photos, notes, personal
documents and so on. As these records can be preserved, the
question arises: Is there some chance that you can be
revived in future only with the help of the records? 
Naturally, such a revival cannot be reached by simply
transferring the information from the records into a
computer. If we read a word we combine it with a complex
set ("packet") of further information, e.g. about the
appearance of the denoted object, its qualities, its
relationship with other objects, activities or abstract
concepts, and about the feelings connected to it. Therefore
the thoughts and memories described in the records only by
words or drawings must be completed by adding such information

A great part of the information in these packets is not
individual. All members of a nation have a great knowledge of
their native language, and about the world in which they live,
in common. If you only take the members of a definite social
group, the common features are even much greater. Individual
information packets, eg packets that contain information about
familiar persons, can be reconstructed with the help of
diaries and photos. 

Consequently, after further advances in artificial
intelligence and neuroscience, it will probably be possible
to compute from the records, and from knowledge about the
world in which the diarist lived, a network of information
packets, very similar to that which was stored in his brain.
The network emerges simply from the fact that each information
packet contains information about its relationships with other
packets. So the information packets are never isolated. They
are combined into a complex structure. 
Researchers in artificial intelligence and cognitive science,
such as Douglas R. Hofstadter, say that the information
content of the brain can be described by such a network.
Therefore the network of the reconstructed information packets
can be considered as the reconstructed brain information of
the diarist. Hofstadter calls the information packets active
symbols, because they are represented in the brain by neural
formations which can actively process information. In a brain-
like computer, the information packets have to be stored in
a system of billions of electronic modules. This system must
be able to simulate all performances of the human mind. 
Dr Moravec expects that building such a computer, which can
control a man like robot, will be possible as early as the
next 50 to 100 years. Most researchers in artificial
intelligence say that a brain-like computer, which can do
everything a man can do, must be aware and able to feel.
Consequently, if the brain information constructed with the
help of the diaries and other records is loaded into a brain-
like computer controlling a man-like robot, this machine will
probably be aware and feel like the revived diarist. 
After his revival in the machine, the diarist will remember
who he was before and see his new life as a continuation of
his former life. If he feels uncomfortable with a second life
in a robot, it might also be possible to download his
reconstructed brain information into a new biological body
created after his desires. 

Someone who wants to be revived with the help of his records
will not only write down his memories, but also try to
describe his way of information processing by using
introspective techniques. The problem here is that the
unconscious processes cannot be described. However, there is
a good chance that they can be reconstructed approximately
from the conscious processes, because all human brains are
similar and much information about your individual brain is
in your genes which can be preserved easily in several copies
by the chemical preservation of tissue samples. Especially the
processes which create the feeling of consciousness may be
very similar in all human beings, because all people have this
feeling and can easily communicate about it.

However, it is obvious that cryonic suspension preserves a
higher degree of identity. Cryonic suspension and later
nanotechnological repair will probably preserve the complete
information content of the brain. Personally, I have made
arrangements for cryonic suspension. But I am very worried
about the fact that the cryonics organizations are small and
that there are very many possibilities for a failure. Chemical
preservation and permafrost storage offer in my opinion also
the chance of preserving the complete information content of
the brain, but the number of people who support this option
is even much smaller than the number of people who support
cryonics. Therefore I have collected comprehensive information
about myself. The advantage of this way is that information
as well as chemically preserved tissue samples can be
preserved in several places in several copies. That reduces
the chance of a failure. If you would like to discuss any of
these ideas, please write to Klaus Reinhard, Bergenring 49,
24109 Kiel, Germany.


Douglas R. Hofstadter: Godel, Escher, Bach; 1979, p369 
Ralph C. Merkle, Hans Moravec The Immortalist, August 1988 
Marvin Minsky: Interview on West German TV, 13 September, 1988 

PS. You might ask whether a random resurrection could effect the same as
a revival with the help of information or even a successful cryonic
suspension. However this scenario is too unlikely. Our universe is too
small for that, and there are no proofs that there are other universes.

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