X-Message-Number: 16400
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2001 10:13:24 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #16394 - #16399

Hi everyone!

A bit of commentary on the discussion between Mike Perry and Epstein:
once more the issue may turn out to be matters of definition rather
than fundamental issues.

If we are going to modify ourselves then the issue of just how becomes
prominent. A little thought suggests to me that (other than changes
to live in a quite different enviroment, such as the planet Jupiter
or an asteroid) our physical shape may not change much. However the
problem of accessing more and more memory may cause some brain changes;
whether those changes require changes of materials isn't clear.
But clearly we won't want to carry ALL our memories around with us
ALL THE TIME. So we might choose to have many different memories,
to be used when we need them. This is likely to need some changes 
in our brain anatomy, though many brain features would remain the
same and we most certainly do not want to turn ourselves into 
computers in the present sense of the word "computer". 

In terms of physical modifications ie. increases in the number of 
limbs, etc, I would suggest that the variety of changes is so great
and the variety of cases in which individual changes become more
useful than our current bodies runs into the same problem: sure,
4 arms can be useful in some situations, but it can also become
a burden in others. We have so far dealt that that problem by 
TOOLS: detachable parts which give us those features when we want
them and allow us to put them aside when we DON'T want them.

I see no reason why such a system cannot continue, and remain 
superior to actual physical modifications. Yes, our tools might
connect more with our brains, but they will remain tools. It's
not even clear that we'll need more brain connections than those
given us already by our hands. 

In one sense my suggestion about how we might modify our brains
can be seen as just as extension of the use of tools. Now they are
intellectual tools, but even that isn't totally unprecedented
even now. But we may well want to modify ourselves so that we
can use our brain with such intellectual tools much better than
we can now.

Question to Mike Perry and to Louis Epstein: would someone modified
as I have just describe become nonhuman, or not? Imagine that 
we can do all this with biochemistry, and the materials remain
those of human beings, though the design does not. Does this make
such a person more or less human?

		Best wishes and long long life for all,

			Thomas Donaldson

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