Modern advocacy for engineered longevity and methods of preventing permanent death (such as cryonics) began in earnest in the 1970s, give or take, and has thus been around for long enough to establish a distinct and fascinating cultural past that most younger people are unaware of. The last decades of the last century are being buried rapidly indeed. The more thoughtful older folk who lived through that past there are sponsoring a growing range of initiatives to help ensure the continuation and growth of this present community of advocates, supporters, writers, and researchers. It is in everyone's interest for there to be more people working on human life extension, talking about it, and advocating for longer, healthier lives.
In this sense, the future is something that is constructed, not something that just unfolds without any effort on anyone's part - and that includes the future of communities. If there is growth it is because people planned carefully and worked hard to create that growth. Following this theme, in recent posts over at Depressed Metabolism you'll find both a little of the past and a little of the present work to build the future of the cryonics community:
Gerald Feinberg, a Columbia university physicist who, among other things, hypothesized the existence of the muon neutrino, had a strong interest in the future of science and life extension. In 1966 he published the article "Physics and Life Prolongation" in Physics Today in which he reviews cryobiology research ... Feinberg recognized that it might be possible for people dying today to benefit from future advances in science in the absence of perfected techniques.
On the evening of Thursday, May 19 and on Friday, May 20, I attended the 2011 (2nd annual) Teens & Twenties young cryonicists gathering which preceded the Suspended Animation, Inc. conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Many members of this group were impressively highly educated, mostly in computer technologies, and secondarily in biotechnologies. There were six Russians: five from KrioRus, and one from CryoFreedom. KrioRus is located near Moscow, whereas CryoFreedom is further south in Russia, closer to Ukraine. Dr. Yuri Pichugin (formerly the Cryonics Institute's cryobiologist), is associated with CryoFreedom. CryoFreedom advertises neuropreservation for $7,500. Although it currently has no human patients, two pets are in liquid nitrogen. I also learned that there is a man named Eugen Shumilov who is working to start a new cryonics company in St. Petersburg, Russia, but there was no representation of Shumilov's organization at this event.
There are two overlapping goals of the Teens & Twenties event. One is the opportunity for members of the Asset Presevation Group to meet the young cryonicists. The other is the opportunity for the widely dispersed young cryonicists to become acquainted with each other, and to build lasting networks (community building).
A little more on efforts to help build the next generation of cryonics supporters, advocates, and engineers can be found back in the Fight Aging! archives: