X-Message-Number: 5204
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 1995 10:12:59 -0800 (PST)
From: Joseph Strout <>
Subject: Re: Mind Uploading -> No revival of cryonics patients

Brad Templeton wrote:

> Imagine that mind uploading becomes possible prior to nanotechnology.

Reasonable so far...

> Many people wonder if this might create a new breed of humanity, one far
> beyond us in ways we can't understand.   Many people hope for that, but
> they forget that if that happens, the children will come to regard their
> parents -- even their uploaded parents -- as curiosities of the past.

Ah, now we've made a leap.  Too frequently we seem to assume that uploads 
will be faster, smarter, better, more clever than biological folks like 
us.  This should not be assumed lightly.  More likely, uploads (at first) 
will be slow, clumsy, physically insensitive, and less adaptive than 
biologicals.  These traits will improve with time, of course, due to a 
tremendous market pressure, but we must remember that the problems 
involved are *really hard*.  Augmenting an uploading mind will probably 
not be *very* more difficult than augmenting our natural brains (if we 
assume Nanotechnology as it's often portrayed).

> They'll see little reason to create more of them, or to revive a population
> from the past.  Particularly since that requires work in the real world and
> in real time, which is the only thing that's "hard" in the network world.

This is no more true than if uploading is never developed, and 
nanotechnology makes biological improvements possible.  We are all 
relying, more or less, on the kindness of future generations, and an 
ethical code which will recognize us as alive (though terminally ill) 
patients whom they have an obligation to cure.

> The ordinary people who are uploaded might be interested in some people from
> the past and go to upload them.  But only if they care about the physical
> world, and they work to develop the revival technology that nobody needs
> except the cryonics patients.

On the contrary, the most plausible uploading method I've heard requires 
that the patient's brain be frozen solid as a first step.  Cryonics 
patients already in the dewar have simply saved them the trouble.  (All 
right, there may be additional complications resulting from our crude 
suspension methods, but these seem relatively minor compared to uploading 
itself.)  ALL people will be cryonics patients, however briefly, before 
they are uploaded.

Note, too, that you seem to assume that once uploading is developed, the 
entire population will immediately upload themselves, and biological 
humans will no longer exist (or have any power).  It seems more likely 
(IMHO) that humanity will pass through a long transition period in which 
people live a two-stage life cycle: birth, growth, and parenting are all 
done in biological form, followed by uploading when the biological body 
begins to fail.  In this case, cryonics patients will be no more 
primitive or "ape-like" than the very large population of biologicals.

> I think cryonics, to work, requires that almost all people be living in
> biological bodies, and that they be dependent on them, so that they work
> to develop repair technology for their own purposes, that as a sideline can
> be used to revive the frozen.

I agree that repair technology may need to be mainstream.  I guess we 
differ in that I think the same uploading techniques used on anybody will 
be perfectly applicable to cryonics patients.  And also on this:

> So dream of uploading -- but only *after* revival.

...revival without uploading may not be possible.  So let's dream (and 
pursue) Nanotechnology *and* Uploading, and see accept whatever treatment 
comes first.

|    Joseph J. Strout           Department of Neuroscience, UCSD   |
|               http://www-acs.ucsd.edu/~jstrout/  |

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