X-Message-Number: 4418
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: Re: CryoNet #4409 - #4412
Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 23:59:45 -0700 (PDT)

Re Mr Leitl"s comments:

1. If you want a decent set of experiments and ideas on real long term 
   memory, try Rose's book THE MAKING OF MEMORY. It's really hard to prove
   definitely for technical reasons, right now, but the suggestion is that
   our memories are preserved by multiplying connections between two 
   neurons. As I said, that is still a theory.

2. One more uploader! Yes, I too would want to store myself (but would NOT
   want lots of copies running around alive and awake). Whether we can 
   really do better than evolution with diamonds remains to be seen. When
   I mentioned the issue of repair, I was again referring to current 
   ongoing work. NO, if we release the barriers to regrowth we will NOT
   produce cancers. We will have a way to repair brain injuries and 
   injuries to the spinal cord. The most advanced work in this area is
   on repair of severed spinal nerves. These processes, as with salamanders,
   do not occur at random; they are touched off by an injury just as our
   own skin heals in response to injury.

3. I'm glad you're a biochemist. I am not, but a lot of the early ideas on
   repair (at least for me) which cryonicists were thinking and planning 
   about BEFORE Drexler came on the scene actually were touched off by 
   taking a speculative approach to biochemistry. (I will say that the
   biochemistry course books I've read, unlike some physics books, seem
   to forswear ANY speculation at all. It is a certain cast of mind).

   Right now, we are modifying the genes of viruses and getting two different
   kinds of virus to work as a team. This is just beginning to be done as
   a way to cure human disease, but by now it has a long history of work with
   lab animals. So let us speculate a bit: it's not hard to forsee a time
   when we won't just modify viruses but design them to suit our purposes.
   Yes, they will be machines, biochemical ones. And of course, several 
   steps beyond that we can do the same with bacteria, and then single-
   celled creatures. Not only that, but a variety of different biochemical
   machines of this kind could be designed to work together to alter a 
   damaged human brain. ... and we can go on from there. I will say that
   right now, in terms of our control over molecular events, our understanding
   of nanotechnology in this biological-biochemical line far exceeds what
   has yet been done with diamondoid structures or other such devices.

   I personally remember (I am by training a mathematician, and worked
   in a University before I moved back to the US) when I read my first
   book on biochemistry. I was not so interested in the metabolism of ATP
   so much as in the kinds of engineering we might someday produce and the
   devices (on the scale of molecules, viruses ... every one very small)
   we might someday design. And when seen as a collection of ideas which 
   might be put together by ourselves and used for our own purposes, I
   found the subject wondrously rich. Even the notion of enzyme raises
   many ideas. And I still think that many cryonics patients will be 
   repaired by such means, evolved much further than what we can do
   today. (That is a complex subject and others disagree with me; I am
   not really arguing that point here). If you get more interested in
   this viewpoint, I can provide some of the earlier writings on cryonics
   and how repair might be done.

3. OK, so the accidents with trucks etc. that you describe aren't clearly
   cases in which we can do SELF-repair (though I would not rule it out
   so easily). That still leaves to obvious alternative of others taking
   our damaged bodies and repairing them. If we can be revived from 
   cryonic suspensions in which we were stored as heads alone, there is
   no reason to believe that a technology capable of that feat would be
   helpless when presented with someone damaged in an accident with a

   Even now, evolution alone has made us surprisingly durable compared 
   to most of the machines (including electronics) that we build. That
   durability isn't like that of the turtle, with a hard shell. It 
   consists of abilities for self-repair after damage. (Note that if
   the shell is damaged the turtle has a hard problem, while people
   can recover from multiple fractures even now). I would expect that
   we can increase these abilities considerably, and then from there
   provide extra help by others when needed.

			Best and long long life,

					Thomas Donaldson

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