A Few Cryonics Posts

I've been meaning to point out a few posts on cryonics from elsewhere in the community, but it keeps slipping my mind. So here they are while I remember, starting with some areas ripe for improvement in the current practice of cryonics identified over at Depressed Metabolism:

Evidence Based Cryonics

There is an urgent need [for cryonics providers such as Alcor] to move from extrapolation based cryonics to evidence based cryonics. This will require a comprehensive research program aimed at creating realistic cryonics research models. It will also require vast improvements in the monitoring and evaluation of cryonics cases. The current debate should no longer be between advocates and opponents of standby and stabilization but about what stabilization procedures should be used by cryonics organizations given our current knowledge.

Microvasculature perfusion failure in cryonics

Under ideal circumstances cryonics patients are stabilized immediately after pronouncement of legal death by restoring blood flow to the brain, lowering temperature, and administering medications. In most cryonics cases, however, there is a delay between pronouncement of legal death and start of cryonics procedures. In some cases there are no stabilization interventions at all. Provided that these periods of warm and cold ischemia are not too long, such patients can still be perfused with a vitrification agent. But how thorough cryoprotectant perfusion (and thus vitrification) in these cases can be remains an unresolved issue.

The cryonics industry is still small, which means that despite the sterling efforts of those involved on the research and development side, little work has been done in the grand scheme of things, in comparison to the technology involved in any larger industry. Cryonics is still a good sight better than the alternative, but we shouldn't overlook the spacious room for improvement.

On that note, I see that Robin Hanson is offering to debate anyone for an hour on the topic of cryonics, and provides another of his examinations as to just how rational it is to be signed up for cryosuspension:

More precisely, if folks are reasonably smart about when to try to revive you, your total revival chance is something like a sum across all future times of such calculations, each one given no destructive failed prior attempt.

If you make 50K$/yr now, and value life-years at twice your income, and discount future years at 2% from the moment you are revived for a long life, but only discount that future life based on the chance it will happen, times a factor of 1/2 because you only half identify with this future creature, then the present value of a 5% chance of revival is $125,000, which is about the most expensive cryonics price now.

So cryonics might be an economically sound choice - based on the way in which people tend to value predictions about the future, and under Hanson's model - even when that prediction is for a low chance of success. This has similarities to the structure of Pascal's Wager, though I'm sure someone will be by to tell me why that's an inaccurate comparison.


If you follow the link you will see I did NOT offer to "debate anyone for an hour."

Posted by: Robin Hanson at March 24th, 2009 8:52 AM

You might be the ONLY cryonicist doing regular updates on the overviews of the industry right now-- are you aware of that?

DeWolf does ok too-- so I would say between you, him and Maxim, you three might be the best current news sites on what's going on in cryonics. Aside from Alcor blog, Yahoo Venturists, etc who are NOT doing overviews of the industry--

Posted by: Philossifur at April 3rd, 2009 6:27 AM

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