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Identity: Can I kill the original? Peter Merel
Russian Web Poll on Cryonics Mikhail Soloviev
Poll on Autopsy John de Rivaz
Why We Don't Need Lots of People Thomas Donaldson
The Failure to Get Reanimated - Or How to Be Dead Forever David Pizer
A Few Long Term Thoughts: An Essay Roger L. Bagula
Telepath Technology Joe
The Prospects for Immortality: Human Replacement Parts Terry Grossman, M.D.
Fruit Fly Longevity Experiments -29 Douglas Skrecky
The Ease of Joining Cryonics Societies Mike Donahue
Understanding the Future in 5 Easy Steps. George Smith
Contents are provided for information only, under the right to free speech. Opinions are the authors' own. No professional advice is intended. If you wish others to be legally responsible for your health, life or finances, then please consult a professional regulated according to the laws of your country.
Volume 13 no 78. First published July 2000. ISSN 0964-5659.
Identity: Can I kill the original?
By Peter Merel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
That someone's "essence" should be merely a character in a story they invent about themselves seems inconceivable. Myself is plainly a concrete thing, either dead or alive, here or not here. Though physical science can't detect them, our identities are surely unique and indivisible, immutable components of the universe as unchanging as the stars.
Well, no, that seems a little strong. The stars, we know, are far from unchanging. Plainly human identity is more immutable than stars. It's as immutable as the universe itself.
Hmm. Well, the universe apparently goes through fundamental changes from time to time. Identity must be more immutable than the universe, I feel it in my bones.
Unless - just perhaps - I'm making too much of identity. Or at least misunderstanding something here. After all I've been mistaken about things in the past. Even if my identity is more permanent than the ages, my understanding certainly isn't, and my understanding of my identity could easily be flawed.
Well then, let me take that first assumption, that my identity isn't just a character in a story I invent to account for what I sense. Maybe that's not a very good assumption. If we question that one, then identity might not be a thing at all. It could be more like an adjective, like right or left.
What's all this stuff about love and beauty then? What about all my friends and relations? They don't know me as just an adjective. They know me as a process, an ongoing dynamic relationship. I've got soul, dang it!
And if I'm an adjective, or a locus for relationships with others in a social network, then what about these memories I carry around with me? They seem mighty important to me. Well, okay, granted they're mostly memories about people and places I've cherished, relationships I've enjoyed - but there's still a whole swag of memories that operate at a more basic level.
Maybe they're my identity and the rest is just memories of externality.
Hmm. That's a pretty fine distinction to draw. It seems like a lot, maybe most of these basic memories, things like how to put words together, how to surf, what to eat, how to look at trees, and so on, are things I learned as I went along. Not all of them, of course, but it's only fair to say most of them.
I had to be born with some minimal abilities or I couldn't have learned all these things. Assuming there wasn't anything special about my gestation, I suppose the identity I didn't learn as I went must be encoded in my genes. But genes are plainly just information, and what's more it seems like it's the abilities they enable, rather than the genes themselves, that are important to my identity.
You can take a hair that's fallen off me, or a skin flake or nail clipping containing millions of copies of my genes and burn it up, and that certainly won't affect my identity at all.
But now it seems like there's nothing left. We've stripped away everything external, and I still have this fundamental sense of identity. I can still feel it in my bones. What's up with that?
I'm familiar with similar phenomena to this. I've seen optical tricks that make straight lines seem to curve, or black and white boxes flash with colours. Illusions. Given that I've been able to exclude every empirically external or received part of myself, and still have this strong impression of my identity, I guess I have to think I'm nothing but an illusion too.
That doesn't answer, though. If all I am is illusory, what about the rest of the world? Is it all just some story I invented to account for my sensations? Where do those sensations come from then? This is starting to sound awful philosophical.
What's going on here has to be a concrete thing. Let's stipulate, for a moment, that the world, all its phenomena, history, and future, are dramatic in nature. Let's suppose that my brain is a mechanism for creating and maintaining this drama, and that a dramatic understanding conveys a biological advantage. Predictability. If I can represent the world as drama then I can hunt more easily, anticipate danger, and become literate. Really handy stuff.
A mechanism like that seems like it's almost an inevitable product of evolution, nothing spooky about it. It seems fair to say, then, that my identity is another part of this dramatic world. Not an illusion, but not as immutable as the ages either. What goes on beneath the drama - the various levers, pulleys and props behind the proscenium of my brain - is a flowing process I can't describe as drama. If you duck back there the dramatic understanding naturally vanishes like grease-paint, and inevitably my identity, a character in the drama, goes with it.
If we can reconstruct the drama that I use to represent me and mine, there's no essential difference between one production and another. There may be a different theatre, or a different audience. The natural process of metabolism replaces every atom in my body every 7 years, so that certainly doesn't require any new-fangled technology for me to understand it.
If this view is fair then I need have no fear of uploading or transporting; so long as memories, processes, and relationships are not dramatically perturbed, my identity will naturally be preserved.
In fact, when I think about it, it's faith in this dramatic continuity that permits me to happily close my eyes and go to sleep at night, content that I'll still be me in the morning. If one day I'm uploaded and copied, if there's more than one of me, and if I can afford the costs associated with running more than one copy, I won't be especially perturbed. If any one of me needs to be killed, I'll be content so long as the play is written down in a form that can be revived for an appreciative audience.
All the world's a stage ...
Russian Web Poll on Cryonics
Mikhail Soloviev <Msoloviev@mail.ru>
There was a cryonics poll on a Russian web search site Aport (www.aport.ru). It was ordered by Kommersant- Dengi ("Businessman-Money"), one of the best Russian business weekly magazine. A journalist of this magazine prepared an article on cryonics (I and some other cryonicists helped him). I think he was an author of this poll.
The question was: "Would you like to be frozen after your death? (Why)"
If you click on "Why" you see the following help window:
"The scientists, conducting cryonics research, state, that the body, frozen in liquid nitrogen according to all rules, can be stored hundreds years without change. And they don't exclude that the possibility to return this body to life will appear in the far future. In the West the body-freezing service is very popular. For example, there is "Cryonics Society" in the USA that people join before the death with the hope to be resurrected in the future. There were rumours that such known people as Salvador Dali and Walt Disney bequeathed to freeze their bodies after the death."
Question: Would you like to be frozen after your death?
|Number of answers||4433|
|Yes, of course||562||12.68%|
|Yes, if I will have money||308||6.95%|
|I'm very surprised by your question||1864||42.05%|
Poll on Autopsy
A poll has been started on the Internet on the subject of whether people should be allowed to opt out of the risk of being autopsied when dead. May religious people as well as cryonicists abhor the idea of being stripped naked and dissected, and indeed this fear may well keep some people away from medical treatment. Most people, however would not mind and a right to opt out would require positive action that most people would not take. therefore scientific and legal research would suffer very little. So far, the vote is overwhelmingly in favour of people having the freedom to opt out.
Why We Don't Need Lots of People
by Thomas Donaldson <email@example.com>
Will cryonics die out if we completely conquer aging? I have never believed that, and have some points to make on that thesis.
As for active opposition, that IS a problem (though so far it has been only a few un-united places and people). I will point out that wiping out cryonics, especially after we can travel to the planets, becomes much harder than wiping out cryonics AT A GIVEN LOCATION. It's reasonable to think that there will ALWAYS be a place to go and bring those in suspension.
So we should not conclude that because we remain small our suspensions will inevitably fail. I will add here that I, too, would like there to be many more cryonicists, and think we should work to increase our rate of growth. But we should not conclude that if our rate of growth remains small, we must inevitably fail.
The Failure to Get Reanimated
- Or How to Be Dead Forever
by David Pizer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I dissagree with Saul - just a little. Saul saw the failure of the cryonics movement. I don't think most of us will fail to be frozen at our legal deaths, the problem is that we might not get reanimated in the future.
In this article I am going to tell you what is wrong with the cryonics movement at this time, why many people who get frozen (or are already are frozen) may never get reanimated even though the technology will become available someday. And then I am going to make some suggestions on what you and I can do to help.
I see technology progressing as follows:
There comes a time when you have biological-immortal people running the world who don't really need cyronics. There has been the argument they will still need it, but if I were biologically immortal - I would feel like I need it a lot less. And I am one of a mere 1,000 people in the world signed up or in the process of signing up.
The question is: "At a time in the future when the world is getting very crowded, why would anyone want to reanimate frozen dead people to take up more room and resources?"
Let's backtrack a little. At present, and I see no reason for all the people in cryonics to quit in the near future, the cryonics movement at present is carried on by people who believe that they are going to need cryonic suspension some day. The people running or working in cryonics don't do it for the money. They don't do it for the glory. They do it only because they believe that there is no one who will keep cryonics available for them for the normal reasons a business keeps going - to make a profit. That is because no one has figured out how to make a profit doing cryonics so far.
If I am correct (that the only reason people working in cryonics today is because they are going to need it for themselves some day), and if I am correct that people in the future will be immortal before they can figure out how to renaimate the frozen dead people, then there is going to be a time-window when no one is going to want to run a cryonics company for the present reasons - and maybe not for other reasons either.
Let's look forward: It is a hundred years, or so, in the future, people are immortal. They feel they don't need cryonics so they don't want to run a cryonics company, but the frozen dead people have not been reanimated yet. The problem is that there may be NO dedicated people to work in cryonics because traditionally the only reason people have worked in the movement is because they felt they will need the services themselves.
So there are now only two possible reasons why someone who is alive (and immortal themselves) might help reanimate frozen people - because they have a loved one in suspension they want back, or because they might get money for reanimating the patients.
My confidence in the money aspect is not very good: Not as good as confidence in people wanting their loved ones back. There is also the chance that future cryonics leaders can get even more money if they can get the frozen dead people declared unsalvageable and then get their hands on the money trust. So I think the patients' best hopes are for a large pool of relatives and loved ones still alive who want to see the patients reanimated. (Steve Bridge did help out a lot when he made the current Patient Care Trust - but where there is a lot of money for the benefit of dead people, there is a lot of motivation for evil living people to become creative.)
So as Saul pointed out in his well-thought-out article, cryonics is not growing nearly fast enough. Saul said he thinks the movement is near extinction, and maybe it is if one figures that extinction means not having enough people alive in the future (when the technology is available) that want the patients reanimated. If you don't believe we are near extinction, you should at least grant that we should be doing a lot better.
Before I get to the next point, we need to all agree on one thing, and that is growth is needed to raise the odds that the patients will get reanimated some day. If you don't agree with that (maybe not for my reasons but for any reasons), don't bother reading further.
Why is the growth rate in cryonics such a failure in the last few years? (This may not apply to CI, I am more familiar with Alcor and CryoCare).
Three years ago, there were 408 Alcor members and 80 CryoCare members, for a combined total of 488 "Al-Care" members. (I have always considered Alcor and CryoCare members in the same group as they started out as one and I always figured they would end up as one).
Now we have 483 Alcor members and about 40 CryoCare members for a total of about 523 "Al-Care" members, or a net gain of about 50 members in 3 years. I think this is around 2% or 3% annual growth, a big disaster from the old days of 30% annual growth. If we had only kept the 30% growth rate we would not be in such big trouble now.
So there is the problem. Just as Saul saw it. Our inability to attract more members on a regular basis. We have the greatest product ever invented in the history of the world, immortality, and we havn't been able to market it.
In my opinion, there are at least 4 reasons why we haven't done a good jog marketing cryonics.
1. We can't demonstrate that it will work.
2. It costs too much.
3. We have lost the earlier enthusiasm that we had in the 30% annual growth rate days.
4. We don't appear to offer any real value to the world in general. What we really offer is a reward for ourselves.
If we could begin to improve in any of these 4 areas we could begin to recapture the 30% growth rate we used to have and need to insure that the pool of surviving relatives will be large enough to insure reanimation for all the patients. How can we do this?
1. We can't demonstrate that it will work.
For years Alcor did in-house research. This research created interest from members and prospects. The members brought in more prospects when they were excited by research and the prospects signed up when they were excited by the research. When Mike Darwin was running Alcor, "Cryonics" magazine was full of excitement. Now I use it on nights I have trouble falling asleep.
For a while it seemed like 21st Century Medicine was going to do some exciting research FOR CRYONICS, but lately they seem to have got side-tracked into mainstream type research for organ preservation for transplants. There has been the theory that "we will make some money first on regular stuff and then use that money to do cryonics better, later."
In the meantime, the movement may disappear from under them for lack of excitement in cryonics research. They may die forever - rich.
2. Cryonics cost too much.
At least at Alcor. I was on the board when the present prices were determined and I can tell everyone that they are based on fear and lack of business sense. This is how the present prices were determined: All the costs were considered. Every cost was figured at the highest possible cost if everything were to go wrong. Everything was padded and then padded again. Then the already high price was doubled for safety. We now have a price that makes cryonics unfordable for 95% of the people in the world. And it does not have to be.
Fair prices lead to volume. Volume leads to more net money than gouging. Ask Henry Ford!
If the price for a whole-body suspension were priced at $45,000, and we cleaned up a few other problems, we would have more than a 30% membership growth. We would begin to get more of a sound financial condition in Alcor's operating budget than we are now. Thirty or even fifty suspensions a year at $45,000 each will do more for Alcor than one or none or maybe two suspensions a year at some way-too-high price. And since most of the excess from the gouge goes into the patient care fund rather than in the operating fund where it could be used to help Alcor grow, it is even more un-business-like.
High prices, higher than what is needed, lead to little or no suspensions, and little or no growth.
Alcor would make more net money doing a healthy volume at reasonable, fair prices and doing many suspensions per year than this present crazy, inspired-by-fear price structure. In addition, to more net money for Alcor, fair prices would lead to needed membership growth.
The only real safety for the patients is a very large amount of members who have loved ones they want reanimated, when the technology is available.
3. We have lost our enthusiasm.
The present leadership at Alcor is always with a feeling of being behind, being in trouble, afraid to try anything for fear of failure. Needing to catch up. Needing to fix problems. There is an attitude of worry, worry, worry, where there used to be an attitude of excitement and expectation. I am not blaming any specific present leaders, I am blaming all the present leaders. But blaming is not my point. Lets not get into a blaming contest, lets admit there are problems and then build a plan to fix them. Not a pie-in-the-sky, "Big Fix" plan, but a realistic plan.
We the rank and file members no longer get together and motivate each other. After the Cryo-Wars we became beaten up, burnt out and then beaten down. We need to officially put the Cryo-Wars behind us - lets shake hands and get back to work. There are a lot of good people still in the movement who need to get together on a regular basis and rekindle that old enthusiasm. I recently attended an Alcor Board meeting (after being away for several months). It was attended only by board members and staff. It was like attending a funeral.
Perhaps we rank and file members can make an effort at the Asilomar Conference to begin to rekindle that old spirit of enthusiasm. I would like to invite everyone to drop by the room to be used by Mike Perry and myself (I don't know the number yet) on Sunday evening at 7pm, to get together and share some enthusiasm and ideas.
4. We don't offer any real value to the world as they see it.
What I mean by that is that the outside world sees us as a bunch of selfish persons who want something that should not be had. Or something for ourselves but not of any value to them. Or something they can't afford.
Until we do the work to convince the "regular" world that biological immortality is worthwhile for them (and make it affordable) we will continue to be looked at as not offering anything of value to the world in general.
There you have it. We have a problem. We need to solve it. Otherwise we may get frozen and never get reanimated.
I invite your suggestions. I can't think of anything more important that we should be discussing at this time.
A Few Long Term Thoughts: An Essay
By Roger L. 6 June 2000©
Thesis: This guy is crazy: this guy is a genius. The world can't seem tell the difference in real time. The result is martyrs and destruction of genius, even the death of hope.
This essay has been building up inside me for months. I want to cover several topics that are only loosely related to the thesis: Intelligence, the impending disaster of western civilization, nano-technology, language evolution and genetics of mankind in the future. I write these essays as much for myself as for others, since it helps to get this stuff expressed well and out in the open.
In mathematics, physics and research in general one finds two distinct types of behavior patterns: Narrow Band Width Humans and Wide Band Width Humans. I think this is a general categorization in intelligence in humanity. It is a very good thing that mathematics is acultural and not subject to secrecy, because the narrow band width people would make it impossible for any but specialized people to access new knowledge! By band width I am referring to how many people can understand a document in a special area: if it is written so that wider understanding is possible by people from outside the area it is wide band with knowledge transfer, but if it is made so that the terms are so specific that only a narrow following of PH. D.'s in that field and a very few like fields can understand, then it is narrow band width knowledge transfer. Now, the system as we have it now with referees seems to encourage only narrow band width knowledge. In the long run this would be very destructive to a culture by producing a Tower of Babel effect in which one group can't understand another and they begin fighting over very simple things. In our case I find that there are people in mathematical physics doing the same work under different names as work being done in mathematics and there is a lack of cross communication! One can `t say a genius in K-theory isn't very intelligent, but there is a definite lack of effort to communicate to people even in very near fields! So we have two very distinct kinds of intelligence: wide and narrow. A conflict results when these two interact!
It has been said that nano-technology which is a cross between molecular chemistry, logic and electrical engineering ( and several other very complex fields) is the future of our information based society. The idea of making computing machines from Wang tilings at a molecular level so that computers are submicroscopic in size is making a lot of progress. It is about like duplicating nature's genetic computing machine of the double helix in terms of pure computing instead of manufacture of proteins and bioproducts. Suppose you make a machine that computes it answer in a protein sequence? You then have to have an interface that both programs the machine and reads the output! In biochemistry terms such machines now fill up large laboratories and cost millions of dollars! But the same can be said of the first computers that were made with electronic tubes in the late 1940's early 1950's! But at that time we had the `` war psychology'' that ruled the 20th century in force and government/ military funding was easy to find! The space project had the byproduct of the computer chip in the 1960's that led to our current technology. We really, now, have most of the knowledge necessary to advance to this new much smaller and probably faster technology, but I doubt we have the "will" necessary to put it together.
I had for years tried to make possible new technology from my work in mathematics and physics: I wanted to save our society and culture. As Bob Dylan's new song says: "I used to care, but things have changed!" We have the problem of the end of oil as our major energy and technology resource: as a chemist I have been aware of this since the late 60's when I was in college. Since then I have studied, Thom's catastrophe theory, chaos theory and the new evolutionary self-organizing criticality. What I have found is that on almost every level:'' Failure is necessary to improvement.'' What this means is that for a culture to rise to it next level, it has to have a definite failure where it is life and death important to make the right decisions.
Human beings as we know them today may be doomed in our future. The new genetics technology is here at this very moment where plants and animals are being designed to improve food output. There have been several very good projections about man modifying man to better himself. There are two major schools of thought:
Case I: (the androidexamples)
R. U.R. and Blade Runner
Case II: (supergenetics/ Utopia examples)
Brave New World and Gattaca
Either they will manufacture people as ``improved servants'' or they will improve people so that the Ivy snobs will roll over in their graves! In either case the kind of people that inhabit the earth today will be the ``old models''. A new round of natural selection will probably result with wide scale conflicts. I would guess that both approaches will be tried. The human genome project has sequenced the DNA of five people of different genetic backgrounds and they are just itching to use that knowledge! There is a certain arrogance in man in disputing the grand plan of nature?
Another slower evolution has been taking place: it is language evolution. Over the long term man has used symbols in both vocal and written communication to get information across. We have found the word frequency in text has a near one dimensional fractal dimension. What this means is that aside from the mathematical tree formulations used in digital technology to compress data, man has been able to make his language more effective at communicating. His language has evolved into a simple and effective tool for communicating. With the modern media language has extended beyond words as well to gestures, pictures and musical sounds...even smells. There is no doubt that the people of the future will use some language that has developed from the roots of our own modern languages. We can't well understand much of Shakespeare without study, but we can understand it. So in the last four centuries language has remained pretty steady in western culture with the exception of the last 50 years with technological and cultural changes, but the radical changes that the future seems ready to force on us will also probably change language as well. More intelligent people use more words better if they are `` wide band'', but if they are ``narrow band'' they will use more words in every narrow groups. Low band width knowledge results in minimal communication that is very like the coding used by spies! What the future holds is a result of our choices and what we do. We have to dare to think. In a future that will probably be populated with androids, normal people and super-people language will be altered to serve their needs.
So there is still my thesis. Suppose that you put a superintelligent genetically modified person into a population of normal people? We have had many strange geniuses in our human history. In many cases they have been treated very badly: Mozart, Poe , and Church are some well known examples. There is no reason to think that such improved people will behave in what is thought to be ``normal'' by today's standards! Androids with modifications that make them better workers for factories will have their own modes of language and behavior as well. Calling them monsters and misunderstanding their ``gifts'' seems inevitable. I once said that the understanding and use of fuzzy logic in a culture would result in conflict and even war! It will probably also be necessary for peace to exist in this very frightening future world that is evolving around us!
by Joe email@example.com http://wwww.stellar.demon.co.uk/new/telepath.htm
For thousands of years Man has dreamt of telepath technology that allows communication between two or more humans. We show here for the first time how it is possible to build such machine in great detail within ten years with the present rate of rapid developments in miniaturisation, electronics, fractal robot technology and digital matter control.
A telepath implant relies on capturing three dimensional electrical activity inside the brain of a subject and transferring those patterns in real time to a host equipped to replay the data into neural cells in approximately the same regions of the host such that there is a degree of synchronisation of electrical activity between subject and host.
The smallest possible fractal robot devices that can be built are between 1000 and 10,000 atoms wide described in the electrostatic machines section. http://www.stellar.demon.co.uk/new/electro.htm The machines have no moving parts internally but nevertheless are able to move by shuffling electric charge across electrostatic plates. Such machines remain connected while they travel and can be sent through the arteries and veins into the brain without clogging the blood vessels to lay down the electrical networks. Added to this network are sensors, transmitters and signal processors to sense and package signals as well as decode and transmit signals into the brain. The machines install micro sensors and transmitters by pushing them through the walls of the arteries and veins without causing internal bleeding. The sensors and transmitters are mounted by laying down an anchor plate that prevents the probes from flying out of the surface under the pressure of the blood flowing inside the vein or artery. The anchor plates measuring around 50 to 100 microns also prevents bleeding whilst at the same time they are inert and do not unduly interfere with the functions of the brain. Sensors in the blood vessels carried by the fractal robots ensure that the right size of anchor plates are used per blood vessel depending on flow rates and pressure.
The size of the smallest robotic cubes are around 1 micron and small in relation to the blood vessels traversed. For such small machines, the blood flow itself could be used to power the devices with a hydraulic rotor to extract power. (The ebb and flow of air in the lungs can also be used too to extract power for the devices with micro-turbines and the power then routed through the cubes installed in the arteries to the machines in the brain.) The robotic cubes are always linked together during sliding operations to prevent them being detached and carried off by the blood flow into smaller capillaries where they can jam causing blood flow to be terminated which can result in a stroke. If the machines incur a problem while inside an artery or vein, then self repair
can be instigated to resolve the problem. The linked robots branch out like a tree into all the major blood vessels laying down a network of wires, sensors, electrodes and signal processing systems. A sensor and electrode pair placed within 1 mm resolution is a good density for resolving brain activity. Certain areas may require greater resolution to sense and control more finely the electrical activity patterns. The blood vessels have different patterns for different individuals and thus the density of the sensors and transmitters must be good in order to cope with reaching all the different areas of a brain.
The sensors are simple electrostatic plates. To replay the data, a limited number of nodes can be used to transmit the data into surrounding neurons. This data is superimposed on the normal electrical activity of the host's brain. With limited numbers of nodes, the strength of the signals have to be increased to increase the coupling of subject's brain pattern into host brain pattern. The effect to the host will seem like a distant memory that requires concentration to understand. As the number of nodes are increased, the signal levels can be turned down and, at the same time, the coupling becomes better due to larger number of nodes exercising finer control of electrical activity throughout the host's brain.
Telepath Augmentation of Deficient Brains
A deficient brain in one where either a chemical disorder causes abnormal behaviour or where some physical dysfunction or a wiring disfunction causes behavioural disorder. By playing back electrical patterns of stimulations associated with that of feeling of well being and good health, it is possible to address the negating effects of deficiency by forcing the patterns of sufficiency into the subject through the telepath implant. The machine can replay the same thought patterns over and over again to stimulate the host brain into thinking about positive thoughts more often than focus on negative thoughts.
Some types of destructive criminal behaviour and compulsive behaviour can be put down to these causes and a telepath implant could be of enormous help in reforming a persons behaviour. (The person must want to be cured and behaviour must be shown to be no fault of the person, only of the condition.)
A telepath implant may well have other therapeutic applications such as preventing seizures, or treating clinical depression because it is possible to keep on replaying a healthy brain pattern to superimpose thought patterns that override the patient's own thought patterns.
Detecting & Correcting Psychotic Behaviour
Some types of psychotic behaviour is instantiated when certain areas of brain are triggered involuntarily through faults in the wiring. By precisely locating the defective portion of the brain, it is possible to neutralise its effects by overriding the signals or supplying local small AC current stimulation that uses up neurotransmitters. In the case of local blood flow restrictions caused by cancer, growths, minor strokes or pressure, similar problems can appear but this is not the right approach to stopping its effects (i.e. the right approach is to restore blood flow to normal levels).
Reviving Coma Patients
Coma patients have some control of activity in some parts of the brain but not all. A telepath implant can be used to replay nerve signals into a coma victim and impose an activity that restarts the brain. Coma victims may also be recovering from injury and the superimposition of normal activity into areas that are showing disfunction would be of benefit in the healing process.
Epileptic Seizure Control
A seizure is an electrical storm that originates in a damaged area of the brain that then spreads uncontrollably across the brain firing neurons in uncontrolled waves that cause spasms to the body. A telepath device will be able to sense the surge developing and counter it with higher frequency firing of the cells locally that causes the surge to be dissipated by using up neurotransmitters.
Sharing of Thoughts & Training
A telepath implant allows thoughts to be shared. What one sees, many will be able to see. Likewise, what many can see can be experienced by one person. It may become possible to transfer specialist knowledge rapidly from one expert into many lesser experienced staff quickly. One person could also gain many diverse range of expertise more quickly than simply studying the hard way.
Men and Women
It is inevitable that men and women will want to share thoughts although one has to be careful about interfacing men's thought patterns with women's patterns. Men and women think with different parts of their brains for the most part. Given a specific suggestion to a man or a women, it is known that men think with their activity concentrated more closer to the brain stem (the older parts of the brain) while women think the same thoughts with the newer outer more advanced layers of the brain that perform higher levels of cognition. It may never be possible to mix men and women using a telepath machine in any deep capacity. It may on the other hand be that such a telepathic coupling leads to higher levels of cognition and awareness that neither brain can achieve on its own.
Reviving Lost Souls
Once a person dies, the neurons begin detaching from each other almost immediately. The process can go too far after a few minutes in such a way that it may never be possible to revive that person again. Although the heart can be restarted and the person can appear completely normal in terms of physically appearing to be alive, the 'soul' is gone however, and the brain is left in a vegetative state. There have been cases where humans have died for hours and have been revived afterwards. There has also been cases of where people who were thought to be clinically dead were in fact alive and can see everything and hear
everything but are unable to respond in any way to the outside world. Because the bulk of current technologies rely on measuring EEG signals on the scalp, there is no indication what is going on inside the brain. The telepath implant will however measure the brain activity inside the brain as well as on the outside so that it is possible to know whether thought processes are still going on inside the brain even if no electrical activity in the scalp is detected.
Ultimately, it may be possible to kick start brain activity by replaying back electrical patterns and forcing the neurons to fire in a way similar to what has been the norm before death. What of the neurons that have disconnected? For the most part, they will start re-connecting once the body returns to normal physiological state but it may not lead to full recovery in terms of revival from deep coma because in part the electrical activity that is normal in the brain also keeps the brain functioning properly and connected. Also, it is possible that the thought patterns replayed back may inadvertently force reconnections that alter personality in subtle ways and so it becomes important to have a recording of the personality before death occurs.
Cryonics is the subject of preservation of bodies such that they can be revived when technology catches up with cures. It may well be that frozen brains that have significantly disconnected neural tissue may in the future be revivable and reconnected once a telepath implant has been fitted.
It is possible once the thought patterns have been established through a telepath interface, for a computer to analyse thought patterns and replay them to the subject when it wants to communicate with the person. The end result is a gradual seamless merger of man and machine. The grammar could be worked out by computers analysing that person's thoughts in greater and greater detail until computer and man becomes a seamless engine. Pilots operating in severe stress conditions could take in more and respond more quickly to changing environment using such technology. Over time, the interface could augment a person's ability to take in information with virtual interface.
Deep Scan Interrogation
One way to interrogate is to enter the mind of a subject using the telepath interface and forcing the subject to think of events, names and places that are relevant to the interrogator. A person cannot resist his own deep thoughts especially when the person is forced into rapidly changing conversation that prevents any chance of gathering one's thoughts to tell a tale that is different from the fundamental truth. This would be a drastic measure requiring telepath implants to be installed before interrogation can be begin. [Once installed, telepath implants are difficult if not impossible to remove.]
If a region of 1 mm of the brain is digitised for electrical activity, the most data that it will be generated is a signal no more than 100 Hz. A 1 kbit bandwidth allowance is more than adequate for that region of the brain. Not all regions can have activity - less than 10% is actively used. The net result is yet further reduction in bandwidth. To communicate a signal picked up from a sensor array will require a few mega bits of information to be communicated between two telepath devices. Much of that can be reduced with data compression. With today's technology, that amount of data needing to be passed down a communications link is a trivial task.
In the future, it will be possible to make and sell packaged experiences. However, to experience this 'movie' requires the brain to be implanted with telepath interface. It will not be a good idea to implant and then remove telepath devices because of the damage it must do to the blood vessels when installing and de-installing sensors and transmitters. While this situation may improve with time, the debate on when its right to implant a telepath device simply to experience more thoughts is left wide open.
Talk to Animals
It may just be possible to listen in on animal conversations and for them to listen in to ours by careful identification of thought centres and the firing sequence of difference centres. There is a better chance of finding the correlation of centres with species that are more closely related to human brain (like chimpanzee brains) than to unrelated brains. Such a project would be very long term as there is a need to map out areas of brain in such a way as to extract meaningful stimulations of the right areas of the brain. If we get it wrong, there is no correlation between signals and the language in which the signals are written and we are in no better position to decipher the language of animals. Within the same species communications would be less difficult. It would be interesting to for example to train a dog to bark whenever a very specific noise is heard. A telepathically linked dog will also bark but without knowing why.
The neural digitisation section
http://www.stellar.demon.co.uk/new/neuron.htm shows how individual neurons could be digitised and how that allows substitution of neural cells with computers that imitate neuron signalling functions seamlessly. Telepath technology is compatible with a fractal robot neural digitisation process. It is possible to repair a damaged section of brain with a 100% digitised neural implant and then use a telepath interface to communicate directly with the implant seamlessly.
The Prospects for Immortality:
Human Replacement Parts
by Terry Grossman, M.D. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Medical Director, Frontier Medical Institute, 2801 Youngfield St., Suite 117, Denver CO 80401 USA (303) 233-4247
A major theme of my new book, The Baby Boomers' Guide to Living Forever, (to order in USA call toll free 1-877-LIV4EVR, or if you are on the web and want to save time, click on the title) is that rapid changes in medical technology may bring about radical increases in human life expectancy. These exciting and dramatic changes are very likely to be available within the next few decades. The real challenge for many of today's baby boomers and seniors, however, may be staying alive long enough to take advantage of these breakthrough technologies. Luckily, help is right around the corner!
As one dramatic example, medical science is on the verge of being able to create replacement body parts for most of the organs of the body. Spare body parts --- sounds like science fiction, but the technology is already available today. In fact, doctors are already able to create replacement skin grafts and replacement urinary bladders, while other organs are currently undergoing animal testing. Scientists start with an individual's own cells and then direct these cells under laboratory conditions to grow into the desired organs.
The greatest advantage to this approach is that since the organ created in the laboratory comes directly from the patient's own cells, there is no problem with tissue rejection which occurs when organs are transplanted from one person to another. One problem with this technology, however, is that the "age" of the new organ created is the same as that of the patient from which the cells are taken. The reason this is a problem is that in most cases, individuals needing replacement organs are elderly. If a new bladder is created for an 80 year old, with current technologies, that bladder will be 80 years old as well.
In the next 10 or 20 years, it should be possible to create many additional tissue types such as replacement hearts, lungs, stomachs, etc. Most of these organs will be used to replace diseased tissues in elderly patients. Wouldn't it be ideal if we could harvest some cells from these patients today and store them for their own future use? This technology now exists and, by taking advantage of it, 50 year olds who store some tissue specimens today would have their own 50 year old cells to create spare parts for their future use several decades from now. Imagine developing a medical condition such as heart or kidney failure some years in the future and which would require organ replacement to restore health. With today's technology, a cadaver transplant would be required, which has numerous associated problems. With a stored tissue sample, however, the doctors would simply take some of your cells, which had been stored way back at the turn of the century (i.e., right now) and create the needed organ. Spare parts on demand and taken from a younger you to boot!
This technology is currently available through several companies and costs less than $300. Do-it-yourself collection kits are sent directly to your home and all you have to do is rub a cotton-tipped swab along the inside of your cheek, place the specimen in a special container and mail it in. The company will then take your sample, perform some special cell culture techniques and then store it in a tank of liquid nitrogen until if and when you might need some of these cells in the (hopefully distant) future.
Most people are not ready to consider the prospects for freezing their entire bodies ("cryonics") with a view towards future "reanimation" after their death. In the type of cryonics under discussion in this article, only a sample of your cells are frozen, while you are still alive. This represents an intermediate step which opens the door to an entirely new vista of life extension possibilities. It is painless and quite affordable. I have already made arrangements to cryopreserve part of myself and my family, and I suggest that you learn more about this exciting new technology for yourself and your loved ones. For more information check out http://www.liv4evr.com/recommended_products/youthcell.asp.
Fruit Fly Longevity Experiments -29
by Douglas Skrecky
This is the 29'th update on my fly longevity experiments. In run #26 I checked to see if an alkaline potassium salt can help reduce alcohol toxicity - result was negative. I also checked to see whether citric acid exerts any toxic side effects. I need to add 1/4 tsp to help prevent pathogen growth, but was curious to see if citric acid might itself reduce longevity, when enough alcohol is added to already eliminate pathogen growth. Citric acid proved to be non-toxic.
|Run #26||Percent Survival on Day|
|+citric 1/8 tsp||78||63||56||41||30||11||11||7||4||0|
|+citric 1/4 tsp||83||65||61||52||26||22||13||9||9||4|
In prior runs I have found pycnogenol exerts a temporary survival promoting effect. I was wondering if this effect was short term because of the antioxidants deteriorating. In run #27 I check to see if prior exposure for 2 weeks to 200 mg pycnogenol eliminates the benefit when fresh pycnogenol is then added. Unfortunately there were not enough flies to include the bottle using the old pycnogenol laced fly food. In any case due to the low mortality at the day 8 census, the results are not robust enough to be decisive.
|Run #27||Percent Survival on Day|
Finally in an interesting recent experiment I tested the effect of one day exposure to 200 mg pycnogenol or wine on the ability of flies to survive various lengths of time in my freezer. After each period in the freezer, the flies had to be warmed up at room temperature to see they could start moving again. The poor result with alcohol was a surprise, and as a result no further experiments with alcohol are planned. Also unexpected was the apparent ability of pycnogenol to significantly boost hypothermia/freezing tolerance. In additional to further longevity experiments I plan additional "low-tech" cryobiology experiments. If I can find a way for flies to survive long periods in the freezer this would be a major advance, which might have commercial application with regard to transplant organs for example. (I can dream.)
|Freezer Run #1||Cumulative Percent Survival After episodes in freezer (minutes)|
The Ease of Joining Cryonics Societies
by Mike Donahue < HEYMIKE@aol.com >
Dave Pizer commented on Cryonet: "Alcor is getting many people inquiring. There must be reasons why all these people are not buying."
My thoughts are that it is due to high prices, and difficulty in actually getting a price quote coupled with lots of confusing paperwork, and no clear easy choice of insurance purchase with no clear price per month available, and capped with the necessity to "join" instead of just buying the service. Also there is the constant urging to purchase more insurance than the minimum Alcor/CI price, so you'll have more chances to win, win, win -- uhh, sorry...
Again, I say post an insurance schedule online. Don't structure it as a member/ fee/ joining the church and having to go to the damn bake sale every Saturday kinda thing.
Do online sign-ups, with menu driven software, and let these people sign up, let them know the monthly price in 30 sec, fold the insurance and member fee into a monthly statement, and let them pay by check debit card/ automatic bank withdrawal. Make it so damn simple I can log on, answer 5-10 questions, and get a quote to pop up on my screen with a request for credit card / bank debit info. Don't ask for ANY large fees up front, amortize everything into monthly payments. On the first page of the website should be a LARGE "click here to get a price quote and join ALCOR/CI".
Frankly, if you MAKE IT EASY, without the reams of text, you'll get more sign-ups.. the explanation can come later, but if someone goes to your site, and finds out at that for $40 or $60 or $80 they can be done signing up with all that remains is to overnight them their bracelet, and then partner them with someone local in the next week or so, it will make life much easier for the would-be sign-up.
Don't you understand that if someone goes to your site, or calls you, you HAVE THEM. Why do you lose them? Because you make it sound like they are not gaining their life, but losing it.
When someone CALLS Alcor or CI, they should be given a price quote OVER THE PHONE THEN - not just, its so many dollars, but, for x dollars per month I can sign you up with our fees and insurance right now over the phone.
Can I ask you 5-10 questions now so I can give you an exact monthly price?
Would you like this on your automatic deduction or credit card?
Okay, you'll get your bracelet in the mail tomorrow by 11am, and we'll mail you a list of people to choose a partner from so you can have a person to call in time of need!
From time to time we have special sign up offers for family members and friends, would you like to be informed of these?
You can even have them print out a temporary membership card to put in their wallet.
I perceive that there is a group thought that if its too easy, then someone might be "GETTING AWAY" with something. I'm not sure what. But that's what I sense.
And why when I recently enquired via email was the response that this was all to difficult to do, so call the insurance agent, etc..
BTW, I've seen the Alcor sign up package, years ago, and it seemed designed to make me despair I could ever successfully be suspended. Well, I could go on, but I won't for now, I'm interested in your comments.
He is, of course, totally correct that making it easy to sign up would make substantial additions to recruitment..
The trouble is that it isn't the cryonics organisations that make it difficult.
It is the lawyers, or more properly those people who they may persuade to take a law cases attacking someone's cryopreservation arrangements in order to make themselves a bit of relatively quick money or professional esteem.
In order to fight fire with fire we need some top of the range freedom orientated lawyer to manufacture a system of offshore trusts that is so bloody complicated that no lawyer can be bothered to unravel it, yet is simple for the client to sign and get on with. After all, that is exactly what life insurance companies do in order to ensure that life policies aren't financially raped by the government and litigators. Many people recommend life policies, because of the safety aspects, despite the fact that at the end of the day the difference (for a young person starting out) between the result of life insurance and direct investment is millions of dollars.
However important getting the money through is, there is one thing that is more important - getting the body through. This where the complications really start. There are so many other personal and financial interests involved. "What would happen if everyone does it" is the cry that is wielded against anything out of the ordinary. especially when people see their professions, careers and jobs on the line.
That same freedom orientated lawyer needs to design and set up something that makes people (individuals or government employees) too afraid of losing their money through litigation to dare to attack a cryopreservation. Again that something has to have the characteristics of a manufactured product - just sign on the bottom line and you have the might of the insurance companies * - sorry offshore cryonics companies - around you. I am sure it would be possible. We cannot use terrorism or illegal threats, however in a prosperous property owning society the law is becoming a weapon far more terrible that can be wielded by a few unreliable thugs recruited in a bar. [* In the 1950s insurance was marketed exactly like that using that expression.]
An Exercise in
Understanding the Future in 5 Easy Steps.
by George Smith <email@example.com>
Here is a mental exercise for minds that are still open on the subject of what the future will probably bring:
Try to imagine an open-ended future in which it will NEVER be possible to manipulate molecules as Drexler suggested in his books.
If you are having trouble doing this (and especially if you are NOT having trouble doing this, try the following simple 5 step mental exercise: (1) Think about twenty years from now, the year 2020.
Twenty years in the past, in 1980, as I recall IBM had not spelled its company name with single atoms, and Drexler had not yet even written his first book ENGINES OF CREATION. The Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall were very real. There were no cell phones. There was no internet. Just put yourself back twenty years ago, get a sense of the change that has happened since then and now try to project that forward - straight line, linear projection - not even taking into account the possibility of a hockey stick, geometric progression. Really try it.
(2) Now think forty years from now, 2040.
Forty years ago it was 1960. Kennedy had not yet been assassinated and Krushchev was premier of the Soviet Union. The first earth satellite, Sputnik, went up only three years earlier. Just take a moment and remember what it was like to be in 1960 and the state of technology back then. Now get a sense of the difference, comparing 2000 to 1960. Now imagine that same level of difference projected to the year 2040.
(3) Now think about 2100, one hundred years from now and compare it to the year 1900.
In 1900 there were no airplanes and the first automobiles were about to be built. Most transportation relied upon horses and roads were made of dirt in the country and sometimes brick in the cities. There was no air conditioning, no telephones, no radio. My father, who was born in 1910 was taught in grade school that the sun was fueled with coal. There is a PBS series being aired now where a family chose to live for one year in a house with nothing more advanced than the technology of 1900. Watch this if you need a better sense of how different, dirty and hard things were 100 years ago.
Now compare 1900 with 2000. Get a sense of the difference. Now try to project that sense of difference forward 100 years. Just try it. (4) Now think about 3000 CE. One thousand years into the future. Imagine life back in the year 1000 CE. If you need help, consider watching a good film based on life back then, Perhaps THE NAME OF THE ROSE, for example. Paper is a rare commodity. No printing press. Books are copied by hand. No library Dewey decimal system. English is not understandable compared to modern English. Women are chattel. In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church dictates through religious dogma what shall be believed and taught about the nature of reality. Heretics are burned at the stake. Now get a sense of the difference between then and now.
Now try to project that sense forward into the future for one thousand years. (Can you even do it?).
(5) Finally, imagine life 10,000 years ago.
According to the most accepted view, at best people lived in huts and had fire and primitive tools. You were lucky if you lived to the ripe, old age of 30. If you broke your leg and lived, you would be crippled for the rest of your short pain-ridden life. If you had an infection you would almost certainly die. There were no written languages. If you need help imagining this state of affairs, watch any good television documentary on the few people still living this way in the most remote parts of the world. Try to put yourself into that picture. How would it actually feel to live back then?
Now get a sense of the difference between back then and now. Now try, just try, to project that same difference 10,000 years into our future. (Good luck!).
How will it even be POSSIBLE for the meager projections by Eric Drexler to NOT come about EVENTUALLY?
And if his SPECIFIC vision should prove not physically possible to achieve (which I find difficult to imagine since my own biological immune system is a real example of this technology lacking only intelligent guidance), then what OTHER even more grandiose and far reaching technologies will SURPASS Drexler's goals?
To have no sense of history is to be paralyzed by the current beliefs of your current culture. The future will hold transformations of the human condition still unimagined by our best fantasy writers. Those who honestly believe they can cap the future with limits based on our current level of technological science are, at best, kidding themselves.
In the 1950's it was commonly taught that brain cells die out over your life never to be replaced. Now we know they do replicate. Until last year we were told that the speed of light was impossible to exceed. Now its been done at least three times in as many countries. You've heard them all: "Man can never fly." "Man can never go to the moon." "Space travel is bunk." This isn't just a matter of cultural chauvinism. It demonstrates a complete lack of a sense of history. It requires swallowing the biggest belief of all - that we will NOT tremendously progress in our control over the forces of nature!
(If you really believe THAT, I think you need professional help! As Bret Maverick put it, "My Pappy always said, 'Never trust a man who draws to an inside straight. He might be crazy about other things too' "). Cryonics offers a simple, affordable way to potentially cross the gap of time into the future where the technological answers will have been found. Those who think it will NEVER be found are the truly amazing visionaries! To be able to imagine a future with such limits is, in my opinion, the most difficult thing of all. (Compared to that, drawing to an inside straight is nothing!).
Cryonics is simply a way to be "frozen in time" so that you can get past the current crop of experts (who will all probably die and be "dead right") until the inevitable future comes when your body will be repaired and you live again in this physical world. If you consider trusting the future to be superstitious, try my 5 step exercise again.
If you can STILL believe the future won't SURPASS Drexler's best projections, then I know two things about you:
You have no sense of the power and direction of human history... and I won't play poker with you.
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