“A great science fiction detective story” - Ian Watson, author of The Universal Machine
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Most posts on Homo Artificialis have to do with current science and its potential application in the future.
We explore scientific precursors to the development of artificial persons, homo artificialis. That means looking at the possibility of homo-analogous artificial intelligence and the potential creation of synthetic humanoid bodies (inhabitable by either natural or artificial intelligences).
As an important adjunct to that, we look at technologies that might allow humans who are alive now or in the near future to survive into the far future so that they can avail themselves of functional synthetic bodies. These technologies include various forms of radical life extension and physical preservation (such as cryopreservation).
In other words, we don’t normally look at immediate applications.
Once in a while, though, it’s good to take stock of where we are right now in relation to all these technologies and nothing gives that issue more urgency than someone whose life depends on it.
Kim Suozzi is a young woman with Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a very aggressive type of brain cancer. Her life expectancy is somewhere between three and six months.
Like me — and maybe you — Kim’s a Reddit user. A few months ago, on her 23rd birthday, she went on Reddit to solicit bucket-list-type suggestions for her last few months of life. Her post was straightforward and informative, it was heartfelt without being maudlin, and it got a lot of responses.
But the suggestion that really caught her attention had nothing to do with last-minute thrills: have yourself cryopreserved so that maybe, just maybe, you can be revived one day when there are better treatment options availalbe for your cancer.
Kim wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with the idea of long-term physical preservation. She’d read Ray Kurzweil’s The Age Of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity Is Near. In fact, before her diagnosis she’d decided to make plans for her own preservation, to be paid for using an insurance policy, but being in her 20s she’d assumed she had a while to act on the idea.
“I had always planned on establishing cryopreservation plans through life insurance, I was caught off guard when I was suddenly diagnosed during my last month and a half of college.”
Then came the diagnosis, the comment on Reddit, and she went into action.
Less than a month ago Kim was back on Reddit. She’d investigated the existing options for cryopreservation and was asking for help in raising the $30-35,000 it would take to have herself preserved. The Society for Venturism had established a charity for her — you can find it here if you want to contribute.
The most recent entry on Kim’s WorPress blog indicates that the charity has raised about $7,000, although that was as of August 24 so the figure may have changed in the meantime.
I’ll be posting soon about cryopreservation — an approach to physical preservation that’s been much derided, but which has benefitted from scientific advances in the last couple of decades.
In the meantime, check out Kim’s video, below, and consider supporting her campaign.