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Mallette

If you think AVs and space travel are weird...

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I don't have the expertise to say when, but we will fact that issue in the less than distant future.  I did work in the cell phone industry in 1990.  Nobody but the rich, doctors, and such had a cell phone then and they were the bag phones.  I'd tell people they'd all have them in a few years and they thought I was nutzoid about that and it would be decades.  It wasn't...and what phones do now is totally out of my wildest thoughts at the time.

 

Same is true of flat TVs and many other things.  The speed of change is not only breathtaking it is speeding up exponentially.  OLED screens sold by the yard are not too far off.  No new technology needed for that, just economies of scale.  Those things can, and will be, printed.

 

Forget about brands...they will be just a commodity and all the same, performance wise.

 

Dave

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The very thought of this doesn't seem right on so many different levels....just downright weird.

Rationally, how would it differ from any other organ transplant?

Dave

I don't think rationality is going to be the inquiry. It will be ethics, specifically in the medical context one one side and philosophy/religion, including the mind-body question, on the other side.

We just had a lung transplant in the national media a couple of years ago that had to be decided by a federal judge. The medical community was sort of split over whether the 10 year old girl should get a set of adult lungs based on a rational tranplant priority list. Rationality turned out to have nothing to do with it, emotions did.

I agree with the opinion in the Popular Science article, we won't see it in this country for a long time, I am guessing not even in this century. They will at least need to demonstrate that the spinal cord can be appropriately fused. One of our top guys in spinal cord injuries at Purdue says it can't happen yet in two years.

Now if a drug company can figure out a way to make money off it, like they did with heart transplants, they will create an accelerated path to mainstream. The problem is that it apparently takes stem cell research to do that. We are not, historically, very rational in this county when it comes to stem cell research. Not saying that is right or wrong, just saying it will not be looked at here rationally.

It for sure will not be inovated here as the heart transplant was, too much controversy here. I wonder where he plans on doing it? He is from Italy, but if the Vatican issued a pronouncement on it I would think it is not going to happen there. Maybe he picked a Russian patient because he hopes to do it there?

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The very thought of this doesn't seem right on so many different levels....just downright weird.

Rationally, how would it differ from any other organ transplant?

Dave

Well here is just one difference that will make it political, not medical, like abortion, sex assignment surgery, and euthanasia.

They routinely but organs from a body of one sex into the body of the opposite sex. It is not a factor they look at, they are only interested in the best possible match.

So, will matching still be the major concern, or is the first concern that body be same sex?

The body is relatively healthy, it is capable of repoduction, whose kids aren they? Genetically they are the family of the body donor, but they came from the body controlled by the brain of a different person. So do you sterilize the body before the transplant to prevent this from happening?

Here is a major problem that doesn't happen with other transplant procedures. At what point do you cut off the head of the donor body? In many states if you cut the head off while there was brain wave activity it would be murder.

Transplanting just the brain makes the ethical issues a 1000 times more complex, plus it is at least 100,000 times more complex than a head transplannt (hearing, sight, smell, taste, speech are all implicated with a brain transplant, not, presumably with a whole head).

That is 3 differences off the top of my head. :)

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That is 3 differences off the top of my head.

 

Yep.  And that is only a SINGLE emerging technology we will have to deal with.  Consider that download of consciousness is considered plausible at some point in the NTD future now.  Is the box that contains it now a "person" and if you pull the plug is it homicide? 

 

The 21rst century will present a LOT of vexing issues, and mistakes will be made.

 

Dave

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Consider that download of consciousness is considered plausible at some point in the NTD future now.

If you haven't delved into any Cordwainer Smith stories yet, you should read "The Dead Lady of Clown Town", a synopsis of which is here.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dead_Lady_of_Clown_Town

 

The 'dead lady', had a personality recording, which reads more like your consciousness download.

 

Bruce

Edited by Marvel

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Read all the golden age guys, including CS, but now it's been half a century.  Perhaps time to revisit.  Two things about the golden age scifi writers worth mentioning given the skepticism of many here regarding the speed of science and technology:

 

1. Their prophecies included cell phones, ubiquitous computer access for all, miniature color displays, and a wide variety of things now common and did so in an age these things were totally unimaginable. 

 

2. With all their extraordinary futurist abilities, they uniformly placed all these technologies centuries and sometimes millennia in the future. 

 

Even incredible intellects like Cordwainer Smith, Isaac Asimov, Paul Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlien, and the like could not imagine hard enough to see the speed of change.

 

I have begun to wonder if people's ability to adapt to constant change, a world with new disruptive, transformative technology coming on line faster, faster, faster, isn't the biggest concern rather than the technology itself.  Some of these guys wrote epic tales of revolts against technology.  The response of many here makes me understand why. 

 

Dave

Edited by Mallette

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Read all the golden age guys, including CS, but now it's been half a century...

I don't think so, as you made the post below within the past two months. BTW, CS philosophically and morally understood the problems when science can accomplish these things. That was the whole point when you tied all of his stories together over a 20,000 year time span they cover.

 

 

 

Hard to believe I read what I thought was every golden age writer in my teens and never ran across him. Have to plug in one of the anthologies for sometime in the NTD future. As with so many of the golden age visionaries, he appears to have gotten the "what" correct in many ways but grossly underestimated the speed of technological advance.

 

Your humble brother,

Bruce

Edited by Marvel

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I do recall that, Bruce, but when you brought up the clown lady I had a dim memory.  I devoured that stuff back then and sometimes didn't digest it all properly.  I had to go back to "A Stitch in Time" about 10 years ago as I was fascinated but not really able to follow it in my teens.

 

Granted, I came away this time still not able to understand a 2 dimensional intelligence but at least a bit farther along.

 

At 65 I am getting a bit blurry on lots of things.  I've found some pictures made in the '50s that I cannot for the life of me remember being there.  OTOH, other things I remember but think they only happened a few years ago.  I was amazed to hear today that it's the 15th anniversary of the Okla Federal bombing.  Crikey, seems like yesterday except I was in Shekou, PRC at the time it happened.

 

If you'll forgive my faulty circuits I'll be fine with your photographic memory...

 

Dave

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OK, busted...

 

I think. 

 

I am not sure.  Have to look up my birth certificate.

 

Dave

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Medicine doesn't flow the way technology does, first, because it is constrained by medical ethics, religion, and politics. Second, technology is ancillary to medicine, it supports the profession, it does not replace it. There is no real technology involved in the head transplant. The two keys are cooling the body and head and using a chemical, to try and allow forba spinal cord fusion. It is chemistry primarily whick I consider to be scientific/medical advancement as opposed to technology. Major surgery is still done by the human hand. The head transplant announcement was quick to point out that it would take a team of 150 to do. Doesn't sound very technological to me, on the contrary, it requires a mass of highly skilled professionals.

Human cloning, reproductive or therapeutic, is essentially at a stand still, because of medical ethics, religion and politics. It could have been achieved by now, but there is no public funding for it, and it has been banned in many countries, so it is on the back burner.

Pretty much any surgeon you ask what the greatest advancement in surgery is to date, and they will tell you anesthesia.

Technology helps to give a diagnosis, or monitor a patient during surgery, but you still need that guy or gal to go in and repair, remove or replace whatever the problem is.

I think the most telling thing about how medicine is inextricably intertwined with religion and ethics is our organ donor system. There is always a shortfall in the number of organs available compared to the number who need them. We have an opt in system, a donor signed donor card. Why don't we have an opt out system? You are automatically a donor unless you opt out. Technology has nothing to do with it, the ability to successfully perform these procedures is well established.

Robotic assisted surgery is where our most advanced technology is at today. That will continue to be our horizon for decades. Some day JC will be able to do prostate surgery from his home or office, Paul will be able to do a hysterectomy from a hotel room in Hope, but do we really want them to?

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I'm all for it if possible. It could be the fountain of youth- or double lifespans: Body fails, upgrade to a new one. Eventually the brain dies. But the body is just an input/output for the brain- your brain is who you are.

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All good points, and issue to ponder. 

 

On another point...how can one accept a robotic surgeon who fears a robotic automobile? 

 

Fascinating issue on which I have a lot more questions than answers at this point.  I thoroughly enjoy all POVs.

 

Dave

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I think the real question is whose body would you choose?

 

Probably not a good idea to say what I really think given my status as a moderator. :P

 

Dave

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Puts a whole new spin of abusing yourself...

 

Dave

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If you'll forgive my faulty circuits I'll be fine with your photographic memory...
It's all good, Dave. At 65, I am very far from having a photographic memory.

 

Bruce

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Well, now that I think about it I am pretty sure that the "memories" of CS's historical timeline and characters came from that conversation, which I had forgotten.  Pays to try to sort out such things.

 

Anyway, as you mentioned, his technology timeline was WAY too long as a prophesy.

 

Dave

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