X-Message-Number: 4411
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: Charles Platt posting
Date: Wed, 17 May 1995 11:13:01 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Charles!

Basically I agree with you. However I do want to make some added points:

1. My reading of the situation is that some people would much rather dream 
about uploading in the relatively near future than sign up for cryonic 
suspension. They should learn that uploading is for now a false flame, while
cryonics has some chance of working and exists right now. The most florid 
example of this, and VERY public about it, is Hans Moravec, but I believe
he's far from the only one. (Moravec has a poor record as a predictor: I
have an article of his written in the 70's which claims that we'll be able
to simulate an entire human mind by NOW! But rather than learn from this he
has simply decided its again only a few decades away).

2. Discussions of Self and how our brains work have a very close relation to
cryonics. It is our self that we want to preserve, yet as of 1995 no one can 
really say what that preservation involves (although scientists have been 
coming closer with all the neural research going on). It's fine to say that 
we want to preserve the essential information that makes each of us a Self,
but as of right now we have no good idea just what that information might be.
And without such an idea it's hard to evaluate a cryonic suspension protocol.
That is the major reason I discuss neurobiology so much in PERIASTRON ---
although work on such things has been losing prominence and I may turn to 
nanotechnology soon (though it will be nanotechnology in a very broad sense).

Right now, based on what we know, I'd say that we can afford to lose a lot of
nerve cell structure so long as we basically maintain connectivity of the 
brain's nerve cells: either directly, or by maintaining markers showing what
that connectivity was before suspension. But what those markers might be
remains unclear.

And I will also say that no one would be happier if cryonics research got
moving. One reason why PERIASTRON has spent so much time on such things as
memory is because neural cryobiology has been getting so little attention,
which leads immediately to the question of what we might find out about 
healthy brain structure from what we get after a current suspension. I am
not pleased, but there it is.

			Best and long long life,

				Thomas Donaldson

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