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View Full Version : The whole nervous system in a vat, not just the brain?



WaxRubiks
2018-Mar-12, 09:03 AM
If there were such a substance that would disintegrate non-nervous tissue and just leave the nervous system in a liquid that could provide nutrients, do you think that this could be a possible way for people to extend their lives one day?

Bit of a gruesome idea maybe.

Perhaps the whole nervous system in a kind of jelly to provide support.

The nerves could all be nano-wired into a virtual reality system.

This could also be a way for people to travel between the stars, ie because they'd be using a lower resource life support system, and take up less room, plus they would have unlimited living quarters in a powerful VR system.

I don't know much about the nervous system. I gather that some nerves don't replace their parts..? How much of the brain system needs structural support?

It could become a way to survive cancer as well, if the cancer were terminal..?

profloater
2018-Mar-12, 09:42 AM
If there were such a substance that would disintegrate non-nervous tissue and just leave the nervous system in a liquid that could provide nutrients, do you think that this could be a possible way for people to extend their lives one day?

Bit of a gruesome idea maybe.

Perhaps the whole nervous system in a kind of jelly to provide support.

The nerves could all be nano-wired into a virtual reality system.

This could also be a way for people to travel between the stars, ie because they'd be using a lower resource life support system, and take up less room, plus they would have unlimited living quarters in a powerful VR system.

I don't know much about the nervous system. I gather that some nerves don't replace their parts..? How much of the brain system needs structural support?

It could become a way to survive cancer as well, if the cancer were terminal..?

first observation: there was a science fiction story about that to explore the possibilities. As I recall one individual used the jelly to form muscles on an arm while the other developed a bony shell, so I guess the author felt the nervous system and brain would retain the psychological weaknesses of the original animal. Maybe someone remembers the story name?
Second observation the body brain interface makes visceral feed back essential to the mind so the brain in a VAT would need an artificial virtual body to retain any sense of being alive.
Third observation: a successful life is one where death seems natural and welcome.

WaxRubiks
2018-Mar-12, 09:47 AM
first observation: there was a science fiction story about that to explore the possibilities. As I recall one individual used the jelly to form muscles on an arm while the other developed a bony shell, so I guess the author felt the nervous system and brain would retain the psychological weaknesses of the original animal. Maybe someone remembers the story name?
Second observation the body brain interface makes visceral feed back essential to the mind so the brain in a VAT would need an artificial virtual body to retain any sense of being alive.
Third observation: a successful life is one where death seems natural and welcome.
yes it would have a virtual body in the virtual reality to provide visceral feedback....it would need a powerful computer it's true.

profloater
2018-Mar-12, 09:56 AM
yes it would have a virtual body in the virtual reality to provide visceral feedback....it would need a powerful computer it's true.

so i guess the futurist question is: "Is there anything in it for the computer?" If so it will happen for real.

grant hutchison
2018-Mar-12, 01:45 PM
I can't see the point. If you can wire the nerves into a virtual reality system, then you can wire the stumps of the spinal cord and cranial nerves into the same system.

Grant Hutchison

John Mendenhall
2018-Mar-12, 04:44 PM
Why would you want to extend your life by one day? :doh:

profloater
2018-Mar-12, 05:41 PM
Why would you want to extend your life by one day? :doh:

I suppose that depends on the day, you know that Charles l quote about focussing, or was it clarifying, the mind?

grant hutchison
2018-Mar-12, 06:01 PM
I suppose that depends on the day, you know that Charles l quote about focussing, or was it clarifying, the mind?"Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."?

Grant Hutchison

BigDon
2018-Mar-12, 06:03 PM
One of my favorite roleplaying games to referee was Shadowrun. Did it for decades and bought and read a stack of rule books eight feet tall.

Tech-wise the pre-event horizon break through was the invention of ASSIST technology. This converted computer signals into nerve impulses and vice versa.

BigDon
2018-Mar-12, 06:53 PM
"Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."?

Grant Hutchison

Whoa, you snuck this one in while I was typing.

Boy do I have a uniquely "BigDon" story about this.

One of the most colorful people I ever had the pleasure of serving with was a man named Chuck Fritsch. He had enlisted in Navel Aviation in 1942 and was a tail gunner on dive bombers. Being as how his position was open to the air he likened it to being "the worst carnival ride you could imagine. Picture a Ferris wheel that suddenly dives several thousand feet while people with autocannon try really, really hard to kill you with them. "

Chuck had seven and a half kills by wars end. Each downing a half kill shared with the wingman's tail gunner. That means he had to do that a lot! And that, all told, he had a lot of encounter's with hostile Japanese zeros in an LST* of an aircraft and survived!

And that isn't even what I'm going to talk about!

He was in the field team that developed the first anti-radiation missiles used against the North Vietnamese SAM sights. And by field team I mean they did most of the work in-country and their test bed aircraft went up against actual hostile SAM sites with each new iteration and countermove. With the development team members on board the target aircraft!**

Being a callow youth of 20 at the time, (1980) I said to him after he relayed the story about a particularly challenging day;

"Boy, I bet THAT kept the slide rulers clicking until the wee hours of the morning!"

And he gave me this narrow eyed look and said; "Yes...it did."

Might be why we have such marvelous anti-radiation missiles nowadays. Just saying.



*LST, Large Slow Target.
**Removed about five paragraphs of absolutely harrowing but probably still confidential stuff in a self edit.

WaxRubiks
2018-Mar-12, 10:22 PM
Why would you want to extend your life by one day? :doh:

I thought I might like to see the end of the universe. The prophet Adams said there might be a restaurant there. Sitting around on a virtual beach might end up like watching paint dry after the first billion years, but maybe I'll have gone mad by then so it won't matter.

SkepticJ
2018-Mar-12, 11:02 PM
You'd have to extend your life by one day about 3.65 x 10^16 times to see "the end"* of the universe.

*Not really the end (the universe probably will never have one, in the sense that it ceases to exist), but after that time it starts to get depressing, the stars burning out for good, that sort of thing.

DaveC426913
2018-Mar-12, 11:06 PM
...do you think that this could be a possible way for people to extend their lives one day?

Why would you want to extend your life by one day? :doh:

Whoosh! Right over yer head. :)
Maybe you'll catch it on the second pass? :D

grant hutchison
2018-Mar-12, 11:49 PM
Living proof that we still need commas. In the right places.
And that some bits of sentences are best kept next to the phrases they refer to, and not left to languish at the end.

Grant Hutchison

Jens
2018-Mar-12, 11:54 PM
If there were such a substance that would disintegrate non-nervous tissue and just leave the nervous system in a liquid that could provide nutrients, do you think that this could be a possible way for people to extend their lives one day?


I think you would need both the neurons and glial cells, and they are made up of the same substances as other cells, so I don't think you could make a substance that disintegrates other cells but leaves them unscathed. I guess you could do it surgically, however.