X-Message-Number: 5935
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 1996 08:58:07 -0800
From: John K Clark <>
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS RE: Virtue of Suffering


In #5932  On Thu, 14 Mar 1996   (Dwight Jones) Wrote:

                         >>Steven Harris wrote:
                         >> DNA is a recipe, not a blueprint.  

                >To say that DNA is not a blueprint- that's not quite obvious.
                >One must ask where the blueprint is then- in God's filing

For Cryonics patients to be revived you will need Nanotechnology 
and if you have that technology then the distinction between a blueprint 
and a recipe gets very blurry.  I don't think the experience we have in
constructing large complicated things with bulk technology is applicable 
to Nanotechnology. 

If I was given a the complete blueprints of the World Trade
Center I could  not construct a duplicate, not even if I had
access to all the machinery and  raw materials in the world. I
know nothing about construction techniques,  thus the blueprints
do not contain enough information for ME to implement  them. It
would be enough for a master architect, but he'd have to be very good.

A blueprint assumes that you have the construction skills
needed, it tells you  a part should go in a particular spot but
it doesn't tell you HOW to put it  there. A skyscraper is made
out of thousands of different parts that interact  in trillions
of different ways. Most of the interactions would be disastrous
if not handled in exactly the right way, it takes great skill
and intelligence  to master them all. The parts are made of
subparts and are themselves  extremely complex, even the
architect has little knowledge  of how to  construct subparts
from raw materials.  No one man, no thousand men, has the knowledge 
to go from ore in the  ground to a fully functioning building.

Things would be very different if I was working with Lego
blocks.  There are  only a few different kinds of blocks and
they can snap together  in only  a few different ways, none of
them disastrous because the blocks  are tough and cheap. Once I
mastered the ability to pick up an individual  block,  move it
anyplace I want, and snap it to another block, I could build 
any conceivable structure that can be made with Lego blocks, all
I'd need is   the blueprints (and the patience). Even if I
didn't have the blueprints  it   would be easy to look at a Lego
object and note how the blocks  fit together,   then I could
make my own blueprint (or recipe) and  build a duplicate object.
Nature only uses 92  different types of blocks (the atoms of the
elements),   less than 20  are important in making most objects
that interest us.   As for life, 98.5% of it is made of only 4
different types of atoms.   By definition nanotechnology means
the ability to pick up an individual atom,  move it anyplace you
want, and bond it to another individual atom.  Once you  have
that ability the distinction between a recipe and a blueprint 
starts to  get a bit fuzzy. You wouldn't really need either one,
just access  to the object you want to duplicate.            

It wouldn't matter to a assembler how large the finished
product was, it's  all the same to it, pick up that atom and
move it over there. All it would  need is raw materials, energy,
and information.

Raw materials and energy are the same regardless of what you're
making,  as for information, if you have nanotechnology besides
having the ability  of moving  atoms around you also can detect
the position of atoms in an  existing object.  As long as you
had access to the object, all you'd need  is a good look at it
and you could duplicate it, you don't need to know how  it works.

It is possible that some of the intermediate states of the
object you are   constructing would not be stable. I can see two
ways to get around this problem  without a lot of intelligence
or skills.  1) Always use a jig, even if you don't need it. 
2) Make a test. If you know you put an atom at a certain place and
now it's  mysteriously gone, put another one there again  and
this time use scaffolding.

It's also theoretical possible that some exotic structures could
not be built,  something that had to be complete before it is
stable, like an arch,  but unlike an arch had no room to put
temporary scaffolding around it to  keep things in place during
construction. It's unlikely this is a serious   limitation,
nature can't build things like that either.          

With bulk technology moving things is easy but building objects from a  
description, like a blueprint, takes great skill because the parts 
are so  complicated. With nanotechnology moving things is hard but once 
you've gained that ability, building from a description is easy.              

                                            John K Clark     

Version: 2.6.i


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