Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cryonic suspension facts

Will cryonic suspension "work"? Will the frozen "corpsicles" ever be restored to the realm of the living?

The various objections -- knee jerk mostly -- boil down to "It's too strange, it's wrong, it'll never work." A manifestation of the human instinct to view the "strange" with suspicion, and reflexively reject it.  And to view as impossible anything not verified by one's own belief system. For example evolution, to Christian fundamentalists.  The good news is the "rejecters" will eventually die out, leaving more and more "accepters". Then, after a time cryonics and extended life will become the norm, and adherents of "the natural way" will become a cultural oddity like the Amish.

More bad thinking on this topic, there is this default notion, accepted uncritically, even among cryonicists!, that cryonic suspension is a "long shot" ie has a very low probability of success. This is nothing more than presumptive, prejudicial nay-saying, derived as it is from the "It's never been done so it must be impossible" school(sic) of logic(sic), and should be deleted in favor of a more fact-based approach.

Consider:

So long as you have a certain minimum degree of cellular integrity, biological function will proceed, ie you will live.

Current suspension techniques (and rewarming techniques) cause a lethal degree of cellular damage.

This defines the problem: to be alive again you need to either ex post facto fix the damage or avoid the damage in the first place.

Now, the good news:cryonic suspension perfectly preserves the "client" effectively with no time limit -- five hundred, five thousand, five million years. "No time limit" is a notion outside normal human experience, and needs pondering to get one's mind around. Let me help. All the technology that will come on stream in the next hundred, thousand, ten thousand, etc years is at your beck and call. Presumably, that's some fancy-ass technology.

Cellular biology provides a proof of principle for the manipulation of biological structures at the molecular level. So the laws of physics clearly green light the repair of once-damaged cellular structures. The road ahead is unobstructed.

From there it's little more than a numbers game. How many scientists, how many engineers, how many iterations of Moore's law, before we have sufficiently mature nanotech and the computational power to apply it to the task?

Physics says "You have a go." Time says "Take as long as you need." And the trajectory of human technology is accelerating ever more rapidly in the right direction.

So now, with this (putative) logic- and fact-based approach (by all means, critique this as severely as you need), what probability would you assign to the likelihood of a successful cryonics outcome?

My view: it's a near certainty. Technically. Which is to say, if human screw-ups aren't factored in.

Yeah, I know, huge flippin "if".

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