THE TRANSHUMANIST SCRAPBOOK: HUMAN SUSPENDED ANIMATION TRIALSApril 11, 2014
Here's yet another development to put in your transhumanist scrapbook, courtesy of Mr. V.T. who shared it. This weeks scrap for the scrapbook? Suspended animation trials on humans are slated to begin at a Pittsburgh hospital:
If all this sounds a little too much like crazed Dr. Walter Bishop from the popular TV series, Fringe, that's probably because it is. As the article notes, the central driving force here is that suspended animation has already been successfully performed, on a pig:
"The technique of suspended animation (or “emergency preservation and resuscitation” as non-sci-fi doctors prefer to call it) was first trialed on pigs in 2002. Hasan Alam, working with his colleagues at the University of Michigan Hospital, drugged up a pig, created a massive hemorrhage to simulate the effect of a massive gunshot wound, and then replaced its blood with a cold saline solution, cooling the pig’s cells to just 10 Celsius (50F). After the injury was treated, the pig was gradually warmed back up by replacing the saline with blood. Usually the pig’s heart started beating on its own, and despite the pig being dead for a few hours, there was no physical or cognitive impairment. Now, it’s time to try it out on humans. [Research paper: dx.doi.org/10.1067/msy.2002.125787 - "Learning and memory is preserved after induced asanguineous hyperkalemic hypothermic arrest in a swine model of traumatic exsanguination"]"
As the article indicates, current hopes for human trials are in a time frame of two hours, at most, but one can already envision a dramatic extension of this time frame, again as the article itself notes, to weeks, months, perhaps even years. The real success will be indicated, as the above paragraph suggests, not simply by "resuscitation", but by whether or not an individual's memory and cognitive ability remain... or, perhaps, even enhanced.
At this juncture, we can indulge in some high octane speculation, for let us suppose that such trials are successful, and that memory and cognitive abilities remain as they were before. One can imagine the adaptation of such techniques to the transhumanist agenda, with its stated desires to "download" and "upload" a persons memories. One can imagine the use of technologies while an individual is in a state of "suspended animation" to enhance, or otherwise modify, a person's memories, cognitive abilities, or even behavior patterns. Or even more horrifically, "downloading" one individual and uploading another, whether by deliberate action, or, perhaps, as an unintended consequence of phenomena we do not even understand.
See you on the flip side.