Re: Cryonics Thoughts

Terry Donaghe (
Sat, 5 Dec 1998 14:03:01 -0800 (PST)

Ok, given all of that, is there a point in going forward with cryonics considering that I live in North Carolina? Are there any facilities anywhere nearby? wrote:
> In a message dated 98-12-01 13:15:06 EST, (Terry
> wrote:
> > I know that most (all?) transhumanists and Extropians believe that
> > Cryonics is a "good thing" and are either already signed up for
it or
> > will as soon as they gather the moola.
> An initial note: Compared to many other things you can spend your
money on,
> getting cryonics arrangements funded can be very affordable,
especially if you
> lock in your life insurance premiums when you're young.
Furthermore, there
> are scaling effects for cryonics: The more people that do it, the more
> affordable and realistic the whole enterprise becomes. Creating
such a
> structure through the voluntary choice of participants seems to me
to be a
> VERY extropian activity.
> > I haven't been convinced yet that it's a "good thing." I
> > the basic arguments for it, and yes, I want to live a long, long
> > just like the next transhuman. However, I have concerns and
> >
> > 1) How long can I be legally dead and still retain my brain state
> > (identity)? I live in North Carolina and I doubt there's any
> > centers nearby. If I'm gonna be suspended then dammit, I better be
> > there when I'm thawed out, not some brain damaged version of me.
> I'm no technical expert, so I only have personal, subjective
opinions and
> value judgments to offer. My ultimate opinion on this question is
based on
> observations of my own changing identity over time, both in the
short run and
> the long run. I find that my "brain state" varies so much even over
the short
> period of a few days -- yet with a continuing sense of identity --
that I
> would want to be "revived" even if the entity thus created shared
only a small
> fraction of its identity with "me" (now). When I consider how
different I am
> from the "me" I was even a few years ago -- much less the "me" of my
> -- my opinion on the subject becomes even stronger.
> > 2) I'm almost 30 now. I fully expect to live at least to 2040 and
> > hopefully 2050. What are the chances we won't have developed
> > nanotechnology by then?
> If by "mature nanotechnology" you mean things like "utility fog", I
think the
> chances are far less than 50%. (I do think the chances are MUCH
better that
> we'll have very potent "early nanotech" by then, though. I think
we're likely
> to see the earliest "nanotech" -- diamondoid thread and ribbon -- in
c. 5
> years, for what it's worth.)
> More important than "mature nanotech" per se will be the many
> developments in molecular biology which, by 2010 even will have
added a decade
> to your life span, IMHO. However, such a realization shouldn't
> commitment to cryonics now. First, you can't be sure you won't
contract some
> kind of disease or develop some kind of condition for which a cure
is just
> over your personal horizon and second, you may well be involved in
some sort
> of accident for which cryonics will be a necessary safety net.
> > 3) If I name a Cryonics organization as a beneficiary of life
> > insurance in order to secure financing for freezing and I expire in
> > such a way that I'm not salvageable (explosion, acid, eaten,
> > spontaneous combustion, alien abduction, lost at sea, etc.) is
there a
> > clause to divert the money to my family?
> From a technical legal standpoint, you COULD have such a clause in
> insurance policy. As a practical matter, though, I think it is
unlikely that
> you could get this into a policy you could actually buy. The
problem would be
> crafting language for a contingent beneficiary clause that would
define a
> certain enough condition to trigger the payment to the contingent
> beneficiaries. Language to the effect "in case my brain is so
damaged that
> cryonic suspension is not practical, then pay my kids" keys off of a
> that would be determined by reference to 1) a changing state of the
art and 2)
> potentially differing expert opinion about what would be a
> damaged brain state. We're lucky enough that a few financially
solid life
> insurers are willing to write cryonics insurance (most won't);
inserting this
> added uncertainty into the claims process is something the very
> life insurance industry simply won't tolerate.
> Consider that the insurance benefit that will fund a neuro
suspension --
> $50,000 -- is really a VERY small amount of life insurance. If you
have a
> real need for life insurance for economic dependants who will still
be in that
> state at the time of your death, $50,000 is not very helpful.
> cryonics arrangements stand in lieu of traditional burial, so one
gets at
> least some offsetting cost savings there. Thus for most people, the
> "misdirected benefit" issue in the case of an impossible suspension
is a
> negligible economic issue.
> Finally, consider the actual dollar present cost of cryonics
arrangements. I
> made my arrangements when I was 39, and locked my premium in at just
> $1,200 per year (and I have a sub-optimal underwriting profile).
The annual
> dues for Alcor are $360 (if I recall correctly). The less than
$1,500 per
> year I pay for my cryonics arrangements is one of the better values
I buy, in
> my opinion. In a recent case of a friend who is 28 and healthy, I
saw an
> annual premium of about $400 for a whole body suspension ($125,000
> benefit). That means that the total cost is under $800 per year.
My guess is
> that the total neuro cost would be under $500 per year for a healthy
person in
> their 20s.
> > 4) Is life insurance even Transhuman? I'm betting I'll die
before my
> > family does. The whole point of being transhuman is that I DON'T
> >
> > I'd almost rather spend the money on staying healthy -
supplements, etc.
> I don't want to die either, but I wear a seat belt in my car and see
that it
> is equipped with airbags, being willing to pay the cost and take the
time to
> use these safety devices. Investing in a cryonics contract is
simply an
> action of the same kind: devoting current resources to a safety
device; it is
> a species of risk-shifting, all of which involves some current costs.
> Greg Burch <>----<>
> Attorney ::: Director, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide
> -or-
> "Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must
> be driven into practice with courageous impatience."
> -- Admiral Hyman G. Rickover


Terry Donaghe:
Individual, Anarcho-Capitalist, Environmentalist, Transhumanist, Mensan

The Millennium Bookshelf: <>

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