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By KENNETH D. MILLER, a professor of neuroscience at Columbia and a co-director of the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience.

* * *

SOME hominid along the evolutionary path to humans was probably the first animal with the cognitive ability to understand that it would someday die. To be human is to cope with this knowledge. Many have been consoled by the religious promise of life beyond this world, but some have been seduced by the hope that they can escape death in this world. Such hopes, from Ponce de León’s quest to find a fountain of youth to the present vogue for cryogenic preservation, inevitably prove false.

In recent times it has become appealing to believe that your dead brain might be preserved sufficiently by freezing so that some future civilization could bring your mind back to life. Assuming that no future scientists will reverse death, the hope is that they could analyze your brain’s structure and use this to recreate a functioning mind, whether in engineered living tissue or in a computer with a robotic body. By functioning, I mean thinking, feeling, talking, seeing, hearing, learning, remembering, acting. Your mind would wake up, much as it wakes up after a night’s sleep, with your own memories, feelings and patterns of thought, and continue on into the world.
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So, with that complexity of the human brain, it looks like it should be far easier to create an accurate model/simulation of our Milky Way galaxy with all its stars and their planets and their rings and satellites. Because there are much fewer of them, than synapses in the human brain, and they interact in a far simpler way...

The professor, being obviously a smart guy, captures the exact basic cause of all this cryonics/uploading idiocy. Namely, the fear of death, same source as all religions have. Fine, how he kind of puts his whole article in brackets with this problem, providing the simplest and the only reasonable solution to it in the end.
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"We knew that the product had a great potential, but I can hardly say that any of us, at the beginning, realized the extent to which the automobile would transform the United States and the world, reshape the entire economy, call new industries into being, and alter the pace and style of everyday life."
- Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr.

"I got where I am through the grace of God, a little talent, hard work, a lot of luck, and because I lived in the land of opportunity."

"I spent my life in the auto industry, and you can make a good argument that the auto industry created the middle class. Henry Ford took the first step."

"The middle class keeps the economy rolling. As long as a family is making enough to meet its mortgage payments, eat fairly well, have two cars in the garage, send a kid to college, go out once a week for dinner and a movie, and have a little extra left over, they’re fairly content."
- Lee Iacocca.


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August 2017



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