People around me often sign up for cryonics, and say that it is very important. My guess is that this argument for it, heavily inspired by Waitbutwhy’s much longer piece, as well as years of talking to people around me and reading their blogs, is correct:
1. One day people will probably live much longer than they do now.
Probably we will work out how to beat the diseases of aging, as we have many of the infectious diseases. Eventually dying at age 90 of heart disease will seem as much of a needless tragedy as dying of an infection at age 45 does to us now.
2. One day we will probably be able to ‘freeze’ and usefully thaw organs like brains using vitrification.
We can already do this with other organs. For instance a rabbit kidney can apparently already be vitrified then warmed up and put back in a rabbit and work.
3. People can start to successfully evade the diseases of aging as soon as science reaches the freezing part of 2, even if it hasn’t got to the thawing part or to 1 yet.
Because once you are vitrified, you can wait quite a long time for further developments.
There is a decent chance that we are already at the freezing part of 2. For instance, a defrosted vitrified rabbit brain apparently appeared to be in good order, though I assume we don’t know how to reattach brains to rabbits, alas.
The chance that we are there on the freezing is high enough that people dying soon (by our current standards of irrevivability) should generally be vitrified instead of burned or buried, if the chance to survive longer is worth the price to them.
You can sign up for something like this at the cost of a not-super-expensive life insurance policy, though I think the more promising techniques at the moment aren’t available yet to purchase.
I haven’t actually signed up for this, but I might, and if I thought there was a higher chance of me dying sooner, I would get around to figuring it out more urgently. So I thought I’d point it out to others older than me, who might want to think about it more promptly.
I found Waitbutwhy’s essay on these topics pretty good.