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Sigivald comments on You Only Live Twice - Less Wrong

86 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 December 2008 07:14PM

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Comment author: Sigivald 12 December 2008 08:47:08PM 8 points [-]

But if the drive falls into the hands of a specialist with a scanning tunneling microscope, they can tell the difference between "this was a 0, overwritten by a 0" and "this was a 1, overwritten by a 0".

Not really true.

They can tell that there were various 1s and 0s - but telling what order they were in is impossible ("data written to the disk prior to the data whose recovery is sought will interfere with recovery just as must as data written after - the STM microscope can't tell the order in which which magnetic moments are created").

Not to mention that reading bits with a STEM takes so long as to be pointless ("it would take more than a year to scan a single platter with recent MFM technology, and tens of terabytes of image data would have to be processed") - and that's pretty "secure", in combination, for any plausible meaning of the term.


However, more on topic, you said Pumping someone full of cryoprotectant and gradually lowering their temperature until they can be stored in liquid nitrogen is not a secure way to erase a person".

Not at the deepest theoretical level, perhaps (though perhaps not - I don't see any reason to assume that the cryonics process might not in fact be destroying the patterns enough to make there be no information to recover by any means that turns out to actually be possible in the future; remember we know only that it preserves "remarkable fidelity" in the fine structure... we have no idea if that's sufficient fidelity).

However, Iit's secure enough a way to "delete" them if for whatever reason they never get thawed out other than to throw their bodies away.

What about the possibility (probability?) of a sufficient economic downturn or failure of the company before the technology exists to "restore" the preserved "dead", even if we ignore the possibility that current cryopreservation might simply not be preserving well enough?

Alcor is honest about previous thawing events (at other projects), and is also honest enough to promise only that their investments are the most sound they can make. A future great depression sounds a lot like a great time for a thaw, to me - if the bonds tank, nobody's buying liquid nitrogen by the truckfull.

The conclusion that the calculus must come out in favor of cryogenic preservation (rather than, say, investing one's money in either one's living family or some productive trust, if one cares about "the future") seems unsupportable.

I agree that one can honestly and rationally make a choice in its favor, but this post reads more like an attempt at religious conversion to cryo-mania than anything else.

Call me back when a creature has been cyropreserved and then fully restored, and we can use the language of certainty, and talk in terms of "believing in the future".