X-Message-Number: 817
Date: Sun, 10 May 92 21:40:46 +0200
From:  (David Stodolsky)
Subject: CRYONICS: Brain Scan Question

In Message: #815 - Re: Brain Scan Question
Thomas Donaldson <> said:

>argument that we will certainly be able to recover its structure in
>great detail AFTER it has been frozen ... but says nothing about 
>recovering what that structure should have been. And examined rationally,
>that REPAIR is the crux of the cryonics problem. I found and still find


>It's one thing to imagine such devices as available 100 or 200 years 
>from now, to be applied to someone in suspension already, and quite 
>another to imagine them as being developed within (say) the next 40
>years. That latter I consider quite out of the question. If you have any

In Message: #816 - Re: Brain Scan Question
Brian Wowk <> said:

>David Stodolsky: 
>> Capabilities for reliably storing patient identity as data may be available 
>> before capabilities are available for reliably storing it by suspension. If
>        Quantum statistics demand that billions of Joules be deposited in the
>brain to achieve micron resolution with x-rays.  (A billion billion Joules  
>would be required for molecular resolution.)  No scenario has been presented  
>for doing this without simultaneously destroying the brain, recording media,  
>and city they both reside in.  Now it is being suggested that this technology
>might be achieved before reversible brain preservation! 
OK, Here is a scenario. Spaced-based uploading factory :-).

Nuclear powered x-ray laser vaporizes brain just as photographic plate passes at
very high velocity in order to avoid being damaged by explosion.

I am not arguing that brain scan technology will be available in 40 years or 400

years. I really have no idea whether it is practical. But so far, I haven't seen

the best possible scenario given current technology, whatever that is, ruled out
as a near term option (if the billion Joules is really required, we are getting
close though).

As of today, we don't know whether the suspension techniques in use reliably
store patient identity. The idea of reanimating a frozen and cracked brain has
been met with skepticism in scientific circles, to say the least. There should
be great progress in the next few years, but the proof isn't in until we can
suspend and reanimate a mammalian brain. One of the truisms of cryonics is that

if you wait until this time to sign up, then you have waited too long. The point
of cryonics is to store the necessary information, and assume that the
techniques to get it back will become available sooner or later. Scanning of a
brain undamaged by suspension is merely an extension of this argument. If I had
the choice today of cryonic suspension or having my brain scanned by electron
microscopy into a stable digital storage medium like CD-ROM, I would have to
think long and hard before making a decision.

However, even scanning of a suspended brain is an interesting option that could
be potentially be sold as an extra. It might even be necessary in preparation
for reanimation. Once a brain had been digitized, information could be stored
without constant supplies of liquid nitrogen and in multiple copies. Both are
quite good safety improvements. An there might even be cost savings in the long

At some point in the future, uploading will probably be a better option then
suspension. I think we are already at a point where useful information can be

"uploaded" by recording interactions passing through personal computers. This is
certainly a low cost, low threshold step that most people could take. It might
lead them to maintain a stable relationship with a suspension organization,
thereby improving the chances of their following through with suspension

Another way of saying this is we that we need to apply social marketing, because
suspension is an intangible product. A piece of software in daily use is a

highly visible tangible product, however, both to the user and others in contact
with that person. There is constant talk on this list of communicating the

message of cryonics. Its time to really use communication technology to do this.
A public domain software package would reach a receptive, influential, and
affluent audience. Suspension organizations could charge a nominal membership
fee for storing captured information, assuring its privacy, etc. The more ways
there are for people to participate in the life extension movement, the more
participants there will be. Increasing participation is a political necessity. 

David S. Stodolsky                Messages: + 45 46 75 77 11 x 24 41
Department of Computer Science                 Tel: + 45 31 95 92 82
Bldg. 20.1, Roskilde University Center        Internet: 
Post Box 260, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark        Fax: + 45 46 75 42 01

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