Why did I decide to pursue cryonics?

I received an e-Mail by someone claiming to be a reporter. Below is a trimmed version (to retain anonymity):

Hi Alexander […] I was wondering if you’d be willing to answer a couple of questions for me about cryonics. I’m working on a story […] Why did you decide to pursue cryonics? […]

Here is what I replied:

Hi ******. I am not signed up for cryonics and I am not particularly interested in doing so. Besides, it is not available where I live.

One of the reasons for my disinterest is that I am risk averse regarding the possibility of “hell worlds”, i.e. possible futures in which resurrection is strongly undesirable.

To which the alleged reporter in turn replied:

Ok, that makes sense. So basically you are concerned about coming back to a society where things have disintegrated greatly?  The unknown?

Which I answered in the following way:

In a disintegrated society the probability of being resurrected is small. I rather worry about such scenarios where the technologies underlying whole brain emulations proceeded quickly and caused considerable changes to how society works. I’ll call it moral anarchy. Where the rich and powerful can do everything they want and where sadistic tendencies are being amplified by the potential of those technologies.

I just want to avoid a scenario where someone e.g. buys the property rights of my frozen body to emulate me and to create a huge amount of copies that they can then sell. In a society where emulated human descendants have virtually unlimited power, and possibly mess around with their own minds for the worse, that seems like a surefire recipe to end up in circumstances worse than death.

I could have said more but was too lazy.

Generally I believe this time to be the most interesting time to live in. If anything like a technological singularity happens then a lot of what I value now, activities such as reading science fiction or learning a new language, will be much less valuable afterwards.

If such a singularity would turn out positive, which seems very unlikely given human nature, then I could do such things as exploring great virtual landscapes. But such possibilities don’t seem to outweigh the dangers. Especially since I believe that after a relatively short period of time all that will be left to do will be to explore ever more obscure mathematics, a dead universe full of uninteresting dead planets or the incomprehensible craziness of posthuman minds and their hairsplitting arguments concerning irrelevant metaphysics. I already don’t like standard humans very much… 🙂

Don’t get a wrong impression though, I am generally happy and not at all depressed. The above are just the most interesting reasons for not pursuing cryonics, not necessarily the most important or decisive ones. I am just too lazy, I don’t care enough, and trying to survive by all means seems to be a great way to go insane. In other words, if it becomes cheap and easy to preserve one’s body somehow, I might go for it after all.

Related: Why you should be afraid of friendly AI

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  • Lukasz Stafiniak

    One of arguments in favor of cryonics that I find strong is along the lines that letting the brain decay is wasteful. This argument is weakened by considerations of how much of our lives gets recorded these days and that we can remember to drive the areas of our potential insights to their communicable conclusions, and “now” is when that information has biggest leverage. The argument is strengthened by considering that future diversity might be enriched by injecting into it our unique conglomerates of experiences. (But as Mark Waser remarks, injecting too much might stifle the diversity.)

  • ralph w

    I guess that the previous views could be summed up as optimism vs pessimism. You could use the same argument for or against diet , exercise, and emergency medicine. If you are too lazy and the world sucks then eat what ever, lay around, and blow off the doctor. If you love live and want more of it give cryonics.org a chance.

  • Torsten Nahm

    You write: “[Cryonics] it is not available where I live.” That is a
    misunderstanding. While there are no cryonics service providers based in Germany, all three providers (Alcor, Cryonics Institute and Kriorus) offer their services to international members, and there have been several cryonic suspensions in Europe in the last years.

    You might want to check out the website of the German association for cryonics at http://www.biostase.de, which provides information on the current state of cryonics in Germany.

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  • You weren’t lazy. You were sensible, in choosing not to say anything further. If you aren’t pursuing a career in cryonics, it is best not to talk to strangers claiming to be reporters, wanting to interview you about your supposed career interest in cryonics (it could have been phishing).

  • Mathieu Roy

    “In other words, if it becomes cheap and easy to preserve one’s body somehow, I might go for it after all.”

    At least the true rejection came out at the end.