[FoRK] Extreme Life Extension: Investing in Cryonics for the Long, Long Term

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Mon Jun 21 19:56:21 PDT 2010

On Jun 21, 2010, at 9:15 PM, Jebadiah Moore <jebdm at jebdm.net> wrote:

> I guess so, but since you hopefully have been reconsidering the cost of
> freezing throughout your life, there should be a relatively small gap
> between when you last gave the freeze order and when you kicked the bucket.
> I'm assuming here that the brunt of the cost is payed at freeze-time, which
> might not actually be the case.  If that's the case, then we can approximate
> the calculation as being made immediately before death, so that there's no
> way that you as an actor can affect your odds in the intermediate time.
> If you have to pay well in advance, then that does muck up the computation a
> bit (for instance if you personally are a researcher in this area, or if you
> plan to invest significantly in research beyond the simple cost of
> freezing).  But since we were talking about the idea that cryonics should be
> considered in the same category as defibrillation, and most people aren't
> cryonics researchers or major investors, I think it's safe to ignore the
> factor.

Generally the process is funded by acquiring sufficient term life insurance to pay for the process, and making the suspension organization the benefactor of that policy.  The cost is then dominated by the premiums, which are generally usually low.  (As in, less than most coffee aficionados spend on coffee on an ongoing basis.) There are some de minimus ongoing costs and some small up-front costs, too.  Maintenance, etc.

And the research and the organizations have been, to date, too closely coupled.  Sign up and you *are* funding the research.  Probably too lightly. This may be part of what Eugen was implying when he said that the costs today are too low.

> Of course.  But I think that the vast majority of the people on Earth would
> consider it expensive.  If you're a fairly typical multimillionaire, you
> probably wouldn't consider it especially high.

I think you should check into the costs, and in particular the premiums normally used to fund, and see how this compares to other thing you spend your money on.  This is easily in the reach of the mid-middle class in the US today.

> No--"rationality is restored" only if the cost is sufficiently low relative
> to the the expected utility of the investment (assuming fixed monetary cost
> in every situation, the sum for each possible outcome X of [expected utility
> of X * probability of X]).  My argument is that the expected utility of the
> investment is not obviously greater than the expected utility of other
> investments in the $100k range, due to the very low probabilities involved,

Neither is it obviously less...

> and the cancelling of infinite utilities.  

There are no infinities, involved or otherwise.

> Well, even if you don't accept the potential positive/negative infinite
> utility of living forever,

Not forever.  Just very, very long.  If that's what you want.  In any case, it's about making it a choice; eliminating a very pernicious but ubiquitous externality.

Absent some Tipler-esque eschatological hocus-pocus, there's no reason to believe you can avoid the heat death or the big crunch.  Not assuming any "magic happens here.". (I imagine that assertion probably amuses some folks... ;-)

>> Yeah.  If we have the tech to revive, we probably have other significantly
> advanced tech as well.  I don't think it would be incomparable, although
> possibly there would be much higher utility payoffs *if judged by today's
> standards*.  But given results showing that people judge their status
> relative to their situation and others, I'd guess that (after an adjustment
> period) the utilities would actually be pretty similar.

Talk to somebody that grew up with oil lamps and outhouses.  They're still around, though not many of em.  Those I know who have relatively modest means and lives relative to those around them are nonetheless profoundly aware and appreciative of the increases they have enjoyed due to technology.

At least, the non-curmudgeonly ones are. ;-)

> I didn't mean situations in which you'd be disallowed.  I meant that you
> might not be able to cope with everyone being gone, you're not able to be
> nearly as competitive due to your outmoded habits/knowledge/beliefs (thus
> putting you in a very low status job, which you might resent),  you dying or
> getting sick from new diseases, you being handicapped in some way due to an
> error in the cryo process (or a fundamental flaw thereof), possible
> persecution of past people, etc. etc.

Do you think it likely that anyone would choose to revive somebody if these kinds of adjustment problems were not anticipated and effective methods for dealing with the available?

> I just don't know enough neurobiology yet to make this call.  

In the case of Penrose, not required.  His process requires structures that nobody's seen despite looking.  Quantum consciousness, unicorns, and UFOs... yee haw!


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