X-Message-Number: 8205
Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 10:27:42 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Blue and Laughlin

Re Deep Blue:

I was amused not only by poor Kasparov's response, but by the flurry of
agitated items in news media. Kasparov's feeling seems to be, "I have such
a brilliant mind, obviously a machine can't think better than I can." 
This is very similar to the Roger Penrose attitude, and it is based not on
evidence but on faith, I'm afraid. Meanwhile, I have read several news
pieces (e.g. in Time magazine and on the net) suggesting that Kasparov was
not beaten by a machine, he was beaten by other humans who designed the
machine, which "cannot think for itself."  Well, regardless of who
designed it, it DOES think for itself, and regardless of how brilliant we
are, our intelligence is not unique.  Still, the agitation over a mere
chess-playing machine makes me concerned about what the reaction will be
when computers can do REALLY interesting things. Luddism rears its ugly
head, which does not bode well for the future that we will need if we want
to be revived in one piece. 

Re Laughlin: 

during my one conversation with him (an interview for a book, actually) he
casually suggested that successful resuscitation from cryopreservation is
a virtual certainty. This may explain why he has tended to avoid putting
any of his hundreds of millions into research (with only one small
exception that I know of). Unless his perception has changed, research
simply isn't necessary. 

The pursuit of Rich Benefactors for Cryonics has been an (understandable)
obsession ever since Robert Ettinger pulled 200 names out of Who's Who and
sent them an earlier, simplified version of his book, before it was
published as "The Prospect of Immortality." (Correct me if I'm wrong,
Bob.) Once in a long while a benefactor leaves a big lump of money to a
cryonics organization as a bequest after legal death, but so far as I
know, there is not a single instance of a VERY wealthy person pouring real
money into cryonics BEFORE legal death (with the exceptions of Bill Faloon
and Saul Kent, but in their case they were cryonicists first, and one
could argue that their motivation to run a successful business came FROM

Of course, one day it will happen. And certainly I have seen Mr. Jackson
Zinn trying very hard to make it happen in Nevada. And of course it's
worth a try. But still I remain very dubious about near-future prospects.
As Laughlin's security guard said to me with a shrug, "We get people
coming in here asking for money all the time. All the time." I have no
qualms about quoting these items, since I was given permission to do so. 

--Charles Platt

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