Saturday, June 12, 2010

H+ Summit on Livestream

I am watching the H+ Summit talks via Livestream.

I just listened to two great talks by John Smart and Ken Hayworth. Yes, Mind Uploading may be closer than many think, and it may eventually be available to my generation (and I am probably older than you). Visit the Brain Preservation Foundation now.

Ken's "uploading may be only 15 years in the future" is SO refreshing compared to the cautious and boring attitude of today's moderate transhumanists, repented ex-transhumanists and anti-transhumanists in disguise. I feel back in the 90s, let's hope it lasts.

Summary of the two talks, from the IEET blog:

John Smart: the Brain Preservation Foundation

He’s talking about the brain preservation prize. 100,000 unique humans die every day.

Medicine has many frontiers today. Although we haven’t made a bunch of progress in preventing biological death, computer scientists have made a lot of progress in their fields.

Anatomists can preserve whole human bodies for later viewing with a lot of detail.

Brain Preservation Prize is like the X prize. They have an anonymous donor who will pay $100k to the first winner.

Cryonics is currently available, but the methods used in cryonics aren’t currently good enough to win our prize.

Vitrification is a possible winner, but plastination is the most promising. It’ll be simple, dependable, and potentially variable.

What would plastination look like? Perfusing the brain with a chemical that fixes the cellular proteins, and hours later perfusing a dangerous and toxic chemical to fix the lipids, and then another chemical.

What are the motivations for this? The human conncetome, biomimicry, and bio-inspired machines. This could eventually lead to humans capable of empathy and morality.

Some people could preserve their brains for the advancement of life.

In the future, we should be able to extract whole memories and experiences from a static brain.

And of course, some people will preserve their brains so that their minds could be uploaded or transferred to enhanced/robotic bodies in the future.

And some who are deeply uncertain about the future may choose to preserve their brains in a kind of Pascal’s Wager.

What can you do? One step a lot of people forget is to be happy. Science and technology are magical, and we’re incredibly lucky to be alive right here, right now.

 Ken Hayworth: Can we extract a mind from a plastic-embedded brain?

He show some increasing thin sections of brains. Eventually, we get enough information to reconstruct the precise structure of each neuronal structure. Not only that, but things like amino structures of receptor proteins are preserved.

They’re multiple techniques that can do this kind of things. One of them he’s talking about could be made 100% accurate.

Using a heated-knife subdivsion, we could image an entire brain at the synapse level with that kind of reliability, but we have a long way to go to scale it up that much.

They’re incredibly detailed computational theories of the human mind, he recommends the books Unified Theories of Cognition by Allen Newelll, and How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe? by John R. Anderson. He also recommends two books on consciousness.

He says as a transhumanist he can put 2 and 2 together, and see how this could relatively quickly to uploading.

Whose mind could be extracted? Your mind. The only thing that’s stopping that is the lack of reliable brain preservation.

Sign the petition to make this a reality.


  1. I certainly know what you mean.

    I wrote an article recently for H+ on the worrisome blindness current futurists seem to have about exactly how close we are to hitting the knee of the curve ( I mirrored it on my blog as no telling when H+ might go down (sad val is sad))

    I seriously think we will have functional VR the beginning of true morphological freedom, basic nanotech, and even "cyberpunk" levels of cybernetics by the end of the decade. We are already beginning to see the collapse of the Economy of Scarcity, and the beginning of the economy of abundance. Most all of our current problems could be resolved if we would simply acknowledge the need to remove human NEEDS from the marketplace and thus remove them from the status seeking behavior that lies behind poverty, and the rampaging greed of corporatism.

    That's my biggest gripe with Treder and so many others, they are so concerned with making policies which will preserve the human race, but they ignore the real root causes, and seem to completely ignore that ten million small changes may not be much as individuals, but when they all combine at the same time, one huge friggin Tsunami is coming. It's not decades away. You read my VR articles, and the very likely social effects VR will have, Economically VR will also automate millions of low wage jobs that are essentially "warm body" alone, like cashiers and sales people. Not to mention the strong likelihood of millions of "knowledge" workers losing jobs to software.

    We need to be making sure people know this isn't DECADES away. It might be less than one, and almost certain within two.

  2. @Valkyrie. I wish I could agree, but I don't. I think we may have functional VR by the end of the decade, but I think the beginning of true morphological freedom, basic nanotech, and "cyberpunk" levels of cybernetics, are two or three decades away, and mind uploading even more. I hope to be wrong, and I hope to be proven wrong anytime, but this is what I think.

    My biggest gripe with Treder and so many others is that now they bend over backwards to be seen as nice, moderate and politically correct by the left cultural establishment, and denounce all the transhumanist ideas they once supported, to the point of embarassing themselves. See some discussions ongoing right now over at the IEET blog.

  3. I forgot to say this: I don't think we will ever see the collapse of the Economy of Scarcity, and the beginning of the economy of abundance. Why? Because when water will be abundant and free to everyone, we will fight over champagne.

  4. I look at a very broad spectrum of data, not just technological, but social, political, economic, religious, cultural, and even environmental trends. A Holistic approach would be a good term I suppose.

    In isolation, each of these various data sets lead to certain conclusions, many of which have been quite throughly explored by numerous futurologists. Holistically though, it can be seen that patterns of development in each of them interconnect. They each influence and overlap each other, and it is these patterns which lead me to the conclusions I do.

    Additionally, I do not focus on end-states. VR for example. Most people focus on Matrix level VR. Yes, that is far off. Maybe 30-40 years. But FULL IMMERSION VR is an end state. It's a fully developed, gone through all the alpha and beta states to final unchanging form.

    But long before Full Immersion VR we will have a good enough Partial Immersion of Audio/Visual VR. That form of VR is already emerging in the AR applications of cellphones and in VR worlds such as Secondlife.

    Partial Immersion VR is what my articles and predictions about the near term developments in VR is focused on. The end state of VR is thus completely incidental to the effects caused by intermediate stages of technological development.

    In much the same way, too many futurists focus on end stages, and ignore the effects of intermediate stages.

    But those intermediate stages are just as disruptive as their mature phases. Possibly even more so, because they are continuously developing, so unlike the mature phases, they are not a one time shock, but an ongoing accelerating process which generates repeated shocks.


  5. It is these intermediate stages I am most focused on, and there are so many of them interconnected in so many ways that each change acts in concert with many others to generate further progress at a faster rate.

    Thus, by the end of this decade, we are likely to see the beginnings of morphological medicine, driven by a combination of advances in partial immersion VR which create a social demand, improved stem cell techniques, bioprinting, and advanced cybernetics which use a variety of biomemetic, bioelectronic, and carbon based nanoelectronics.

    We are also likely to see massively increased automation through the use of commercial 3d printing technology, driven by a reduced economy to produce cheaper goods in smaller quantities at faster rates, and a tremendous expansion of electronics into nearly every kind of commercial good, Bioprinting could also revolutionize the food industry by allowing almost all foods to be "printed". After all, if you can bioprint an organ, whats to stop you from bioprinting a steak, or even a tomato?

    Additionally with the speed of development in nanoelectronics, as well as nanofabrication in general, while fully developed Molecular Manufacturing ala Drexler may not exist, it is extremely likely that single molecule manufacturing will be practical, and with the social drive to reduce medical costs, it has a major incentive for development to reduce manufacturing cost of pharmaceuticals, and might even have progressed to the point of being able to manufacture complex DNA for synthetic organisms which themselves are a form of primitive nanotech.

    Thus, while MATURE FINAL FORMS may indeed be more than two decades away, that is meaningless, because the effects of intermediate stages will have already begun creating the shocks anticipated by their mature forms.


  6. As for an EoA vs an EoS, i should clarify.

    An EoS is based on Material wealth. It derives all from the natural resources around us, adding human labor, and creating material products.

    An EoA is one based on Non Material wealth. It is one in which all labor is automated, and all natural resources are recycled. Thus, material goods have no intrinsic value. Thus, water has no more value than champagne intrinsically. Champagne is just a molecular formula, and just as easy to make as any other molecular formula.

    What most people fail to comprehend is that both economies function in precisely the same way, with one major difference.

    In an EoS, human needs, i.e. food, shelter, medical care, etc, are treated exactly the same as human wants. I.e. survival and status seeking are both based on the same resource, material goods.

    In an EoA, human needs are met through a subset of the whole, i.e. that part which is below the threshold of market value. This removes human needs from the market and thus divorces it from the human drive to seek status. When material goods are all equally common, and with MM all material good are equally common, then no social status value can be derived from their ownership.

    Poverty and wealth will always exist. These are SOCIAL STATUSES, and thus cannot be eliminated unless we remove the human drive to form social hierarchies to ensure reproductive success. Even the strong likelihood of our divorcing sex and procreation from each other is not likely to change this, just allow us to give it freer reign. But an EoA is one in which the meeting of human needs (survival) has fallen below the floor of the market that provides human social desires.

    Thus, an EoS will naturally develop from an EoS as automation progresses. The problem is that there will be a stage in the middle of transition where material value has fallen enormously, and has become super concentrated in the alpha levels of the social system, and the lower social strata are suffering because those material goods needed to supply needs have not yet dropped below the threshold level of "free" This is akin to an engine being raced while the clutch is engaged. The car stalls while the engine runs faster and faster. Eventually the clutch will be re-engaged, once the "gear" has changed, and we will proceed.

    The problem is that we can build a "bridge" between an EoS and an EoA through instituting a government mandate to ensure human needs are met during this change of gears, and thus accelerate the transition, but this does result in wealth redistribution which reduces the super concentration of wealth in the Alpha tiers to provide for the lower tiers.

    This will happen regardless, because material wealth is dropping in value as a social status symbol and Non-material wealth is gaining in value (witness MS and Facebook, both of which are examples of non-material wealth generators)and eventually these two lines will cross. The sooner we can make them do so, and the less abrupt the transition, the less cost in human suffering will occur.

  7. Poverty and wealth will always exist. These are SOCIAL STATUSES, and thus cannot be eliminated unless we remove the human drive to form social hierarchies to ensure reproductive success.

    Yes, this is what I mean with "when water will be abundant and free to everyone, we will fight over champagne". In this sense, even if material goods will be available to everyone, we will still find ways to make ourselves unhappy by comparing our condition with others', and we will make wars over intangibles.

  8. Yeah, sadly humans are funny that way. In all likelihood we'll be able to cope with giving people the freedom to look however they want, sleep with whoever they want, even divorce sex from the act of procreation, make everyone a 10++++++++++, eliminate death, and even become a hundred thousand different species, but I seriously doubt we ever choose to eliminate our drive to create social hierarchies.

    Which is why I don't look for ways to eliminate it, I look for ways to minimize the harm it causes.

  9. Although it's just a short comment on Martine Rothblatt's 'Mindclone' BLOG at (The comment link is):

    (continued from above the link)... it seems so pertinent to the above discussions, especially with regard to the roles of the impoverished and the coming emergence of lesser-than-Matrix VR, that I'm cross posting it here!

    (from comment link above)

    Boundlesslife said...

    At the outset, cyberpersons who are eligible for rights as citizens on the basis of being the continuations of (past or biostasis-related) biological lives might be an extremely small minority, appearing to have little influence as voters. But...

    (1) With vastly accelerated speeds of thought and no need to sleep, those cyberpersons might soon be vigorous and omnipresent participants in all kinds of Internet discussions (particularly in virtual realities), outspeaking and outpublishing their biological-substrate fellow citizens in ways far out of proportion to their actual numbers.

    (2) Large shifts in voting population might later take place as the qualities of cyberlife and the other advantages of being there began to outweigh continuing to have biological-substates. A wholesale emigration into cyberspace might take place.

    This might be further acccelerated by any large inequities of income. "Going into cyberspace" would eliminate even the needs for physical food and shelter. Those who placed great value on their physical possessions and the ego-trip of being among the "economically advantaged" might be left behind as a small voting minority.

    Literally a "thunderclap" reversal of voting power might take place, if this kind of switch in lifestyles took place. (We have a fascinating next-few-decades coming up!)


    Perhaps one thing I might add to the fascinating ideas of Valkyrie Ice (above) is that in this intermediate level VR, those who emerge into cyberspace will be able to have 'hi-speed' chat rooms where (voice enabled, perhaps with parallel text for filing purposes) they may be able to 'converse' at speeds dozens, hundreds, then thousands of times the rate of thought interchange by bio-brain humans. This does not in any way require 'mind-interwiring'; all it takes is 'doing-what-we-do-now' at a vastly higher rate.

    In such communication venues, ideas will build, projects will be conceived and work will begin, on paving the way to a full-Matrix VR devoid of the contradictions of Matrix, Thirteenth Floor, etc., etc. It will be a world of such wonder that many biohumans will sooner or later find it an irresistable temptation to join it by taking whatever level of identity they can with them, dumping their biological bodies so as to be rid of the burdensomeness of them, even if they cannot afford to have their brains preserved (and perhaps by that time brain preservation will be so well established that even those who are relatively impoverished will be able to afford that, as they 'say goodbye to biology!)

    Again, Valkyrie Ice, your discussions (comments) above were (are) great. Since there is somewhat of a tie in with a posting made on the Cryonics Institute Discussion Board a short time ago, which is not generally accessible and ties in with this blog, I'll cross-post that in a follow-on comment below!

    Boundless Life,

    boundlesslife (AKA Fred Chamberlain)

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. OK, here's that cross-post from the CI Discussion Board (It's long enough that it's going to be in three parts; this is Part 1. The 'deleted' post you see noted above was the same as you'll see now, but with corrections.)


    --- In,
    ettinger@... wrote:
    > Glad to hear from you, Fred. However,
    > I don't think the shortcoming of the
    > uploading thesis is merely that its falsity
    > is possible--I think its falsity is highly
    > probable, and that I have demonstrated
    > this in Youniverse and elsewhere. There
    > are several separate reasons for this each
    > a respectable stand-alone. I won't repeat
    > them all here, but just a reminder of one
    > or two.

    Glad to hear from you too, Bob. Perhaps the largest gap in the level of discomfort some feel with respect to uploading is the question of what it would take in the way of reanimation repair to satisfy an individual that the outcome would "really be me" vs. "something that 'thinks' it's me", without reflecting for a while on the fact that in the final analysis, all any of us are, are biological things that "think we are who we think we are"!

    If an amnesia victim wakes up and seems to have no recollection of who he or she is, we still (by continuity of knowledge of where their physical person was during whatever period of 'being unconscious' might have occurred) attribute the identity of 'who they were' to them and help them to adjust, to resume their role in family and society. In like manner, if we were to do our best to biologically repair a brain in a reanimation process and the outcome were no better than to produce a "reanimated" patient who was otherwise much like an amnesia victim, and assuming that some social connectivity existed (family and friends), we would no doubt attribute identity to the reanimated person and attempt to help them regain a detailed perception of who they were, as well as attempting to help them adjust to whatever changes might have taken place during their period of cryonic suspension.

    Now, by extension of this to the situation of "uploading", the limiting case is that we achieve the capability to produce an undeniably self-conscious personality, even with characteristics that are a close match with that of a formerly living person, by means not only of mindfiles but by reference to genome imputed biochemistries and their equivalent in the "simulation" (if we wish to call such a being a mere "simulation"). But, at the outset, let us assume that otherwise, this cyber-person has no recollection of a "past life" (based on the genome involved). Would, or would not, the community into which such a person emerged attribute to such a person the 'identity' from which that person was derived?

    I submit that in such a case, the outcome would be as much a matter of the 'community' that brought such a cyber-person to consciousness as any opinion that might be held by an outsider who might disclaim that the cyberperson was a reasonable facsimile of the "original". Assuming that we are talking about an era when cyberconscious people have acquired "rights" that make their existence on non-biological substrates as acceptable to society as those still enjoying biological substrates, the acceptability of such an "uploading" outcome would be as much a matter of the discretion of the community as any opinions from outside, as to the validity of such a person "carrying on" for the earlier biological personality from which 'it' was derived.

    (END OF PART 1)


    Now, why might even a person who was strictly convinced that only a purist "biological" reanimation would be "them" want to have any such "emulation" of them brought to consciousness? Here we are close to an issue that could be critical to the wishes of those who, above all, feel that anything non-biological "would not be them"! The issue has to do with "patient advocacy".

    Suppose that it came to be that many biological-substrate persons, in a future era of high technology, elected to "immigrate" to the state of cyberconsciousness we've described above? Suppose it became so commonplace to declare that biological brains were "obsolete" that most would cast aside their biological bodies and take whatever sense of "self-ness" could be imparted to them into cyberspace, rather than to remain in a state of "pre-cybernetic consciousness"?

    Then, who would speak on behalf of the cryonicist who had stoutly maintained that "only biological reanimation was acceptable?" Who would be the "patient advocates" for such suspendees, unflinchingly defending their positions that nothing but bioreanimation would 'really be them'? Would it be the patients' families? Perhaps not! Many signed up for cryonics have families who are ready to stand in the way of their being frozen in the first place. Even if a family member had vowed to be an advocate, defending the specific wishes of the patient, they themselves might be in suspension, when their support would be most essential.

    Perhaps an important safeguard to having a staunch advocate for one's position, if one were set on strictly biological reanimation, would be to permit an "emulation" of oneself to be brought to consciousness, based on one's own ideas about reanimation, one's own writings about these matters, that (in one's opinion) soundly defended one's own point of view. Where else could one expect to find such a patient advocate, than in a cyberperson based on one's self, who would protest, in defiance of all who might challenge this, by saying, "I am *not* a 'reanimation' of my biological 'twin', and insist, "Don't you dare call me a 'reanimation' of that person. In fact, I am here to defend my biological twin's right to remain frozen forever, if need be, rather than to be 'emulated' and be told that he or she had been 'reanimated'!"



    Many people on both sides of the uploading issue have strong feelings about their own preferences, and it is important that these preferences be honored. The above ideas are not simply a response to a posting on the Discussion Board of the Cryonics Institute, but are the essence of a talk given on Terasem Island in Second Life on December 10, 2009 by myself, of a paper co-authored with Linda Chamberlain, titled "Empowerment of Cybertwins as Trustees, Surrogates for Reanimation Decision Making, and Guardians of Cryonauts, Prior to Personality Interface Implementation by Mutual Consent."

    A Power Point video is online at: - and,

    The paper itself is online at:

    Linda and I are still firmly committed to being suspended, prepaid in cash with CI, for the reason that at present, this is the only feasible way to assure that our brains are not merely consigned to disintegrate if we were to die. That, in our opinion, would constitute the loss of a great deal of association path information, which whether or not it could ever be the basis for biological reanimation, might be the basis for either an independent 'reanimation' by uploading from a brain map, or even (as suggested in the above talk) be coupled into the 'cybertwin' to form the same sort of 'bilateral' personality that is presently represented by the bio-coupling of our right and left brains.

    My anticipation is that the 'uploading' thesis will not by any means 'replace' cryonics, but will greatly expand the demand for it, by persons who anticipate that they will not only want to have extensive mindfiles, but a brain that might be added to this, the association paths in which cannot by any stretch of the imagination be simply 'digitized' at present, or in the near future. Without cryonics, the brain is lost at death, unless it is preserved by some kind of chemopreservation, and presently that is not offered by either CI or Alcor, so, it is not presently something we can choose.

    This has been far too long (or far too short) a message, depending on whether you are an "anti-uploader" or an "uploader". In either case, I hope it adds something constructive to the conversations on mindfile emulation and other topics related to transhumanism, which seem to be on the rise, not only in many other places on the Internet, but in discussions by CI Members, among whom there are sure to many differences of opinion.

    boundlesslife (AKA Fred Chamberlain, with substantial 'over the shoulder review' and editorial assistance by Linda Chamberlain, prior to posting).


    (Minor editing to the original posting was done for the purpose of correcting errors and better visibility as to the source of the cross-posted material, and to better define the venue in which the cited talk on Cybertwins was originally given.)

  14. Thanks for the thoughtful comments Fred.

    I am persuaded that our destiny as a specie is leaving biology behind, uploading and becoming multi-substrate software, within the next couple of centuries (barring catastrophic events, etc. etc.)

    I don't think operational uploading will be available to persons older than 25 within their natural lifetime, so the problem for us is how to preserve ourselves, here, to get there.

    Cryonics, including novel techniques like chemical brain preservation, seems our best bet. We can be revived in a few decades or a century, and then upload. Martine has an alternative approach based on CybeRev and Lifenaut mindfiles. As engineers we believe in redundancy and backup strategies, so why not both.