Volume 2, Issue 3 
3rd Quarter, 2007

The Geoethics of Self-Replicating Biomedical Nanotechnology for Cryonic Revival

Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D.

Page 3 of 3

3. Practical Application of Geoethics to Self-Replicating Medical Nanotechnology for Cryonic Revival

Medical nanotechnologists should proceed with self-replicating medical nanobots for therapeutic purposes only after they demonstrate to regulatory authorities (Geoethical Consent Principle) that their procedures are fail-safe, provide medical surveillance and healthcare technology to populations lacking the same (Geoethical Equipoise Principle), and empower under a long-term, non-cancelable contract a qualified third party to audit, monitor and enforce compliance with its undertakings to regulators and to at-risk populations (Geoethical Assurance Principle).  In practice this will require developing self-replicating medical nanobots that can only survive within a therapeutic operating suite, as well as bio-surveillance techniques that can monitor medical nanobot presence outside of such an operating suite.   In addition, a long-term auditing contract will need to be funded under an annuity structure to ensure its financial independence.

There are at least two ways that self-replicating medical nanobots can be confined to a therapeutic operating suite.  First, they can all be equipped with RF capability that triggers a shut-down upon receiving a signal at the boundaries of the operating theatre.  Alternatively, they can all be equipped with RF capability the constancy of which is essential to their continued operation.  Such a “heartbeat” signal could be transmitted only within the operating theatre.  Double boundaries could further enhance the fail-safe nature of these techniques, as well as more intense scans for the bodies of revived and released cryonauts.   All medical nanobots could also be programmed with a limited lifetime to yet further ensure they would not survive long outside of the operating suite.
Global nanobot surveillance is important so that society does not repeat the unprecedented horror of the AIDS pandemic. [1] This pandemic spread because world society lacks a bio-surveillance system for novel viruses, especially ones characterized by high latency such as HIV. [2]   Matters were gravely aggravated by ignoring even gross clinical manifestations of the disease due to irrational societal prejudices against imagined disease vectors such as gay men, intravenous drug users and, in the very early days, people from Haiti.   The pandemic is today accelerating because the world lacks a fundamental health care system empowered to treat the illness and provide prophylaxis [3] against its further spread.  These errors should all be made impossible to repeat via the Equipoise Principle of Geoethics.

To achieve Equipoise for self-replicating medical nanobots the sponsoring organization must be obligated to establish bio-surveillance stations capable of monitoring rogue medical nanobots throughout the world.  This need not be an unduly expensive undertaking, for the surveillance equipment will probably cost not more than $100 per station.    At an average density of 10,000 persons per hospital, and six billion persons in the world, this amounts to a financial obligation on the order of $60 million. 

In poorer countries, where people do not routinely visit hospitals for elective or required operations, it will be necessary to establish sentinel health stations, and to staff them with personnel trained to provide medical assistance, in order to provide rural residents with an incentive to visit such stations and to participate in bio-surveillance for rogue medical nanobots.  Roughly one billion persons are currently believed to be without any meaningful health care.  To establish 100,000 sentinel bio-surveillance and basic health care stations as an outreach to such persons might cost in the neighborhood of one billion dollars annually, allocating $10,000 per station to cover the costs of a local allied health professional (an actual MD would not be necessary), basic medications, and a pre-fab solar-powered and telemed-equipped structure.

An auditing firm with competency in the area of medical nanotechnology would today charge on the order of $200,000 per year, per professional working full-time.  Assuming ten full-time people would be needed to monitor a medical nanotechnology facility, the annual costs would be $2 million.  This implies a need to establish a prepaid contract in the amount of $40 million so that at 5% interest the consultancy’s fees could be assuredly paid even if there were disagreements between the two organizations.

In summary, the costs of Equipoise dominate the geoethics of self-replicating medical nanotechnology.  Nevertheless, the total geoethical costs of approximately $1.1 billion are a reasonably attainable start-up cost for a firm with the intellectual property to commercialize self-replicating medical nanobots.  Amounts several times higher than this are routinely paid by cellular telephone companies simply for the right to use a portion of the airwaves for their communications service. 


1. AIDS pandemic - Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has led to the deaths of more than 25 million people since it was first recognized in 1981, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIDS_pandemic  August 17, 2007 3:15PM EST

2. HIV - Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS, a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV  August 17, 2007 3:17PM EST

3. Prophylaxis-(Greek to guard or prevent beforehand) is any medical or public health procedure whose purpose is to prevent, rather than treat or cure, disease.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophylaxis  August 17, 2007 3:21PM EST


bio pic Martine Rothblatt, J.D. Ph.D. started the satellite vehicle tracking and satellite radio industries and is the Chairman of United Therapeutics, a biotechnology company headquartered in Silver Springs, MD. Dr. Rothblatt is also the Founder/President of Terasem Movement, Inc.  



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