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I WANT TO LIVE FOREVER

Faith, Hope, and Singularity: Entering the Matrix with New York’s Futurist Set

The messianic Mr. Yudkowsky also helped attract funding from his friend Peter Thiel, an early Facebook investor and noted libertarian billionaire whom Forbes pegs as the 303rd richest person in America.

 

Ironically Thiel has spoken and written a lot lately about how we really live in a technologically stagnant era. At a recent high level meeting of the world’s elites he asked why Google has accumulated nearly $50 billion in cash, yet the company doesn’t seem to know what to do with it while the money’s purchasing power decays through inflation. He conjectures that in fact most forms of progress in engineering involving stuff (for example, in nuclear power) have become effectively illegal, so that Google really doesn’t have any good ways of investing that hoard to cause further technological breakthroughs. In effect Thiel has taken an antisingularity position.

 

Many members of the Less Wrong meetup group are hopeful enough to have invested in cryonics; some are even cryonics counselors. At the party, Ms. Vance, who glided around the room with the head-bob and muffled laugh of a very polite ...

Group affiliated with lesswrong

I WANT TO LIVE FOREVER

Faith, Hope, and Singularity: Entering the Matrix with New York’s Futurist Set


The messianic Mr. Yudkowsky also helped attract funding from his friend Peter Thiel, an early Facebook investor and noted libertarian billionaire whom Forbes pegs as the 303rd richest person in America.

 

Ironically Thiel has spoken and written a lot lately about how we really live in a technologically stagnant era. At a recent high level meeting of the world’s elites he asked why Google has accumulated nearly $50 billion in cash, yet the company doesn’t seem to know what to do with it while the money’s purchasing power decays through inflation. He conjectures that in fact most forms of progress in engineering involving stuff (for example, in nuclear power) have become effectively illegal, so that Google really doesn’t have any good ways of investing that hoard to cause further technological breakthroughs. In effect Thiel has taken an antisingularity position.

 

Many members of the Less Wrong meetup group are hopeful enough to have invested in cryonics; some are even cryonics counselors. At the party, Ms. Vance, who glided around the room with the head-bob and muffled laugh of a very polite alien, interrupted Mr. Mowshowitz to share the business card of a “cryo life insurance guy.” Not necessary; he was already covered.

 

The case for cryonics exists independently from all this singularity nonsense, and we can make progress in improving brain cryopreservation in the here-and-now without postulating godlike AI’s. Cryonics does have a basis in science, you know, and I’ve had my own arrangements for cryonic suspension with the Alcor Foundation since 1990, funded by life insurance. Cryonicists want to develop “medical time travel” or an ambulance ride across time to try to benefit from the better medical capabilities of future societies.

Refer to:
1. General but outdated background information on the idea, mainly of historical interest now:
The Prospect of Immortality (1964), by Robert Ettinger:
http://www.cryonics.org/book1….
2. “Cryopreservation of rat hippocampal slices by vitrification” (a peer-reviewed scientific paper):
“Microscopic examination showed severe damage in frozen–thawed slices, but generally good to excellent ultrastructural and histological preservation after vitrification. Our results provide the first demonstration that both the viability and the structure of mature organized, complex neural networks can be well preserved by vitrification. These results may assist neuropsychiatric drug evaluation and development and the transplantation of integrated brain regions to correct brain disease or injury.”
http://www.21cm.com/pdfs/hippo…
3. Mike Darwin’s Chronosphere blog:
http://chronopause.com/
Mike goes back nearly to the beginnings of cryonics in the late 1960’s, and his blog offers a metaphorical gold mine of information, including references to a lot of scientific papers, about the field and its current but probably surmountable problems.
4. MIT neuroscientist Sebastian Seung defends cryonic suspension as a feasible scientific-medical experiment in his book Connectome, and I have it on good authority that he plans to speak at Alcor’s conference in Scottsdale, AZ, this October:
http://hebb.mit.edu/people/seu…
http://www.amazon.com/Connecto…
http://www.scribd.com/doc/1002…
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/g…
http://www.alcor.org/blog/?p=2…

 

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