X-Message-Number: 8330
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: Re: CryoNet #8324 - #8325
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997 11:54:31 -0700 (PDT)

Hi guys!

1. About Hara Ra's definition of consciousness: the first one is very defective,
since it fails even in the case of people who cannot speak because of 
   defects in their brain or vocal system.

   This is in addition to the likelihood, which I personally consider high,
   that many animals are conscious. Sure, they may not be aware of many things
   of which we are aware, but they do remain conscious.

2. The second definition, though it tries too much to put consciousness into
   a straitjacket, is far far better. And yes, it is a consequence of that 
   definition that a simple feedback circuit does have a low level of 
   consciousness. That does not bother me at all. 

   As for Algorithmic Intelligence, it's far from clear that even human beings
   have a lot of that. Intuitive Intelligence, yes, but we build computers to
   carry out algorithms for us. Nor do I believe that our brain works by
   means of LEARNED algorithms; we may find an algorithm in the DESIGN of 
   even a feedback circuit, but that is a different issue. Why? Because it is
   the ability of the feedback circuit to respond that makes it conscious, not
   the fact that it responds (without knowing it) according to some algorithm.
   And a computer (without sensors and means to respond) may carry out many
   different algorithms when we put them into it and set it going, but that
   does not make it conscious.

About the issue of when we are revived:

One essential point to remember is that once we work out how to revive someone,
we have no need to use that means immediately afterward. Since they are in
suspension at a low temperature, they won't deteriorate. We can wait, and 
revive them at a more appropriate time. (This is a big difference from normal
medicine, in which a treatment, if found to work, is applied as soon as
possible). So long as cryonicists (who will want to be suspended themselves,
if THEY someday get into trouble) control your suspension, it's unlikely that
you will be revived in the middle of a war, depression, etc.

What if cryonicists cease to control your suspension? Then you will probably
never be revived --- cryonicists are the only people who have a personal
interest in reviving you. (Naturally, we're doing what we can to make sure
there will the lots more cryonicists around in the future, and for a very
long time in the future). Sure, in such a situation, a few people might be
revived, just to provide instances of homo sapiens preimmortalis. Probably
not a good thing --- not to mention that you are unlikely to be one of the

For that matter, again assuming that cryonicists control your suspension, 
IF you are revived during a war then that is likely to be the best time
available. It's not that the time must be good, but that it is the best
available. And the cryonicists of that time may need your help to move
all those still in suspension out of the line of fire. And the problem may
be far worse than just a war: perhaps the Earth or Solar System itself is
about to be destroyed, and your help is needed.

Given that you will be suspended for an indefinite time, I know of no way
in which you can make a good choice about when you are revived. There are too
many unknowns. But then, after all, you live now with many unknowns and
aren't bothered at all by that. Not only that, but those who revive you
will try to revive at the best time, and will very likely use their own best
judgement as to when --- even if you leave explicit directions. Any 
directions you leave are likely to seem quite outdated and ignorant to 
those who revive you. (Think what someone of the 17th Century would want 
for the time of their revival. There have been so many changes since that
what (s)he wants would seem quite backward, as if a French aristocrat 
wanted to be revived when the Kingdom of France was at its height: impossible
conditions for the 20th Century and later).

				Long long life,

					Thomas Donaldson

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