If we are “nothing more than the signals flitting through our brain” it might just about make sense that this little mashy blob of signal-facilitating could be cryonically preserved – frozen for the dubious benefit of some posterity that might thaw it out – and then the zippity-zap of signalling could again begin. Assuming that so far as this, the science works, it still leaves things unproven either way that this re-ignited signalling motor is “a brain”, and still less that it is the brain it was once understood to be. As to the potential for re-creating on this biological platform the mind that previously enjoyed its pre-cryonic leasehold there: how can we doubt this? Let us count the ways . . .
Without getting into the psychology of multiple personalities and the philosophies of extended or embodied cognition, we can only be amazed at recent media reports of the relationship between the brain and the lymphatic system, or the brain and the gut (providing a scientific rationale for the old saying that we are what we eat). And then we get into our selves as we are perceived by others, amidst the infinite relativities of their biases and misapprehensions, and the stage is set wonderfully for a modest thought experiment:
Let’s imagine it is 1980 and middle-aged Joe is relieved of his mid-life crisis by a heart attack so severe he decides to have his brain cryonically preserved when, too soon and so sadly for the children he leaves behind, his mortal coil is shuffled off. Half a century later and, thanks to the wonders of science, he is defrosted and reconstituted. He meets his children, grown beyond their sighing like furnaces at their father’s Lolita complex but still piping and whistling their dismay at the other pursuits to which this younger guy turns his mind. But then they ask: what mind?
Lively Stuff from Planet BAM!
- From science fiction to nanotech reality: “neural lace” into injectable mesh electronics
A wireless brain-computer interface is now on the horizon, connecting us to the Net
- Reflections on Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics in Engineering & Technology Magazine
containing a useful ethical balancing of the cases for, and against, killer robots
- Peter Diamandis charts the journey of “6Ds of Exponentials” to global democracy
signalling an end to global inequality when the primary currency becomes information