2 innovative life extension approaches using cryonics technology

by Mati_Roy2 min read2nd Apr 20217 comments

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CryonicsLife ExtensionWorld Optimization
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Edit: This was posted on April's fool :) (note: for some timezones, this was posted on April 2nd; oops) While the core ideas are not entirely unfounded, they were presented as stronger than they really are.

  • While it's true that we can cool down mammals to near 0 °C without apparent damages, damages would very likely start becoming apparent after multiple surgeries; plus, the risk of surgical complications would presumably become significant (I posted about this on February 14th)
  • There's not really a "big dilemma" in the cryonics community about whether healthy people should get cryopreserved now or later.
  • While I haven't researched hemispherectomy much, I suspect they are much more dangerous, complicated, and damaging than how I presented it here.

Perpetual cooldown

Acknowledgement: Hunter Glenn came up with the general idea in a discussion with Mati ; written by Mati Roy (edit: Aschwin de Wolf informed me that Robert Prehoda proposed this idea in zir book Suspended Animation in 1969)

We already have the technological capability to cool down mammals to near 0 °C temperature for multiple hours and bring them back without any damages (reference: https://timelines.issarice.com/wiki/Timeline_of_brain_preservation).

While this was originally developed to improve critical care medicine as well as initial cryonics cooldown, there’s another way in which we could use that technology.

We could spend 6 hours at that temperature each day. Of course, that would mean days would be 6 hours longer as metabolism is stopped at that temperature, and the normal sleep functions are not operating. That means for each 4 subjective days, 5 objective days would pass. Waking hours would cycle like this:

  • Day 1: 6:00 to 22:00
  • Day 2: 12:00 to 4:00
  • Day 3: 18:00 to 10:00
  • Day 4: 00:00 to 16:00

This would delay the moment of your death by up to 25% given metabolism is slower at lower temperature, which means you would likely reach a time when anti-aging and cryonics technology has been improved, hence increasing your chance of living radically longer.

The cost includes:

  • monetary cost for the surgeries
  • how you feel after surgeries
  • losing opportunities for work that require a regular schedule
  • generally makes it harder to coordinate with people, especially other people into perpetual cooldown
  • makes it harder to work 40 hours per week

Split brain preservation

Acknowledgement: Matthew Barnett came up with the general idea ; written by Mati Roy

A big dilemma in the biostasis community is whether one should get cryopreserved now or later. On one hand, getting preserved now has the advantage of stopping any further identity degradation (ex.: memory distortion, value change, etc.). On the other hand, cryonics technology will be more advanced in the future, and so it might be worth waiting for that before getting cryopreserved.

The other big dilemma in the biostasis community is whether one should get their brain plastified or cryopreserved. One one hand, plastification provides a more fidel preservation of the brain ultrastructure. On the other hand, cryopreservation maintains a higher biological viability of the cells.

Well, with hemispherectomy, those problems are no more. Hemispherectomy is a procedure where half of the brain is removed. It has been performed multiple times without any apparent complications (example).

With hemispherectomy, you can now choose to be preserved both now and in the future. We suggest considering the year leading to puberty for your first preservation as puberty is a good candidate for an identity altering event, responsible for a high number of microdeaths. If you’re already passed puberty, then we suggest considering getting half your brain preserved immediately.

Although there’s still the dilemma of deciding whether to preserve half now and half later OR preserve both halves using different technologies. We unfortunately haven’t yet found a way to split the brain in 4.

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One big advantage of getting a hemispherectomy for life extension is that, if you don't tell the Metaculus community before you do it, you can predict much higher than the community median of 16% - I would have 71 Metaculus points to gain from this, for example, much greater than the 21 in expectation I would get if the community median was otherwise accurate.

Aschwin de Wolf commented on my post in the cryonics Facebook group with interesting information before knowing it was posted in the spirit of April's Fool ^ _ ^ :

Idea 1 was already proposed by Robert Prehoda in his book Suspended Animation in 1969. Practicalities aside, this is guaranteed to lead to significant cognitive damage after several sessions because it will only require one botched hypothermic circulatory arrest procedure to render the person a vegetable. In addition, the kind of broad recovery shown in animals falls short of the finer cognitive recovery that is a condition for this approach to even make sense at a technical level. Just dive a little deeper into the literature about profound hypothermic and ultra-profound hypothermic circulatory arrest.

Idea 2 is probably meant seriously but will just invite ridicule by mainstream observers and scientists by combining extreme reductionism about the nature of identity and looking really, really, desperate. You may gain two "rationalist" advocates but alienate a lot more.

Idea 2 also start off with: "A big dilemma in the biostasis community is whether one should get cryopreserved now or later." I am not aware of any of my colleagues considering this a "big dilemma" unless in cases of an early dementia diagnosis.

This is utterly deranged and I'm not sure if it was meant as a joke or not, but fuck I enjoyed it, and holy shit that WebMD link is absolutely crazy. Thanks for posting.

In all seriousness: I suspect we should explore such crazy ideas at least intellectually, just because we never know where the mind could turn after having considered them.

I like my comment on the Effective Altruism & Life Extension post ^ _ ^

the reason I posted this article here yesterday is because of the problem that once cryonics will be adopted globally, people will want to get pre-emptively cryopreserved to avoid any further identity degradation. however, if everyone does that, it becomes an existential risk (because no one will be around to keep improving our tech). it's a massive ultimate group prisoner dilemma. it's in anyone's best interest to do it themselves, but we would rather no one (else) does it. and it's a hard coordination problem. split brain preservation solves this by allowing the whole population to preserve half of their brain while using their other half to keep working towards the goal of reanimating the preserved half. oh, also, happy April Fools day!

Well, with hemispherectomy, those problems are no more. Hemispherectomy is a procedure where half of the brain is removed. It has been performed multiple times without any apparent complications (example).

I was skeptical until I read the example. Now I am convinced!

Props for writing up these out-of-the-box ideas. Hemispherectomies especially. I wonder how risky the procedure is.