Cryo and Social Obligations

I'm about a third of the way through "Debt: The First 5,000 Years" by David Graeber, and am enjoying the feeling of ideas shifting around in my head, arranging themselves into more useful patterns. (The last book I read that put together ideas of similar breadth was "Economix: How and Why Our Economy Works" by Goodwin.) "Debt" goes into the origins of debts, as compared to obligations; and related topics, such as exchanges considered beneath economic notice ("Please pass me the salt"), debts too big or unique to be repaid, peaceful versus violent interactions, the endless minor obligations that form the network of social connections, and even the basis of whole societies.

The reason I'm posting about this book here... is that it's giving me some new perspectives from which to consider the whole cryonics subculture, and, for instance, why it remains just a subculture of a couple of thousand people or so. For example, a standard LessWrong thought experiment is "Is That Your True Rejection?"; and most of the objections people raise to cryonics seem to be off enough that, even if those objections were solved, those particular people still wouldn't sign up - that is, they feel some fundamental antipathy to the whole idea of cryonics, and unconsciously pick some rationalization that happens to sound reasonable to them to explain it.

I still have two-thirds of "Debt" to go... but, at the moment, I have a strong hunch that one extremely strong reason people feel an emotional revulsion to cryo is, simply, that even if they do wake up in the future, they will have been cut off from all their social connections. This may not sound like much - but the part of "Debt" I'm currently reading discusses how one of the more fundamental aspects of slavery is that becoming a slave involves being cut off from one's family and society; and another fundamental aspect is that being a slave is being without honor, and in many senses literally having died (eg, in some societies, when someone was taken as a slave, their will was read and their spouse considered a widow). On a certain emotional level, many people really do seem to think that being probably-permanently cut off from all their loved ones is a fate no better than simply dying outright.

What's even more interesting is that if this idea has any actual basis in reality... then it offers the possibility of coming up with approaches to counter it: promoting the idea that waking up from cryo will involve being enmeshed in a community rightaway. I'm not actually sure how this might be managed. The Venturists seem to be heading in the general direction of that idea - but don't quite seem to be capturing it; maybe its the annual fee, maybe it's the dearth of concrete plans about how to help cryonic revivees, maybe it's something more abstract.

One possible alternative approach might be to take the thought experiment - what if we could revive someone from cryo not next century, or next decade... but tomorrow. What could we do to help them integrate into modern life, instead of merely waking up in a hospital bed with the day's newspaper and being shown the door? Bedford was frozen in 1967; how hard would it be to either collect or assemble a set of yearbooks, describing what's happened since then, and storing a small library of such reference texts at both CI and Alcor? Perhaps the cryonics providers' boards of directors could offer their members a revival fund that could be donated to, specifically targeted to help future revivees to rejoin society? I'm not even scratching the surface of possibilities here, so even if these particular ideas turn out to be wrong, at least they suggest further possibilities.



So: If someone was revived from cryonics tomorrow, would you be willing to at least let them crash on your couch for a few weeks?

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Bedford was frozen in 1967; how hard would it be to either collect or assemble a set of yearbooks, describing what's happened since then, and storing a small library of such reference texts at both CI and Alcor?

I think that, at least, is a solved problem, or at least as near-to-solved as we're likely to get, so no effort need be made on that front.

Wikipedia has encyclopedic overviews of each century - C20th, C21st - with further information available readily. And down to far more detail than a revivee is likely to want, apart from those areas and people that they had a personal/individual interest in. There are significant, well-organised and seemingly-sustainable efforts in place to keep this information up to date, to keep it safe, and to keep it readily available.

I think just giving them a tablet and a couple of minutes' instruction on navigating Wikipedia would work very nicely for that particular job. It'd also get them started with the online world, which is arguably the biggest shift in Westerners' daily lives since 1967.

(And if the process has temporarily impaired their vision or motor skills, happily Wikipedia is readily available in a wide variety of accessible formats.)

I think just giving them a tablet and a couple of minutes' instruction on navigating Wikipedia would work very nicely for that particular job. It'd also get them started with the online world, which is arguably the biggest shift in Westerners' daily lives since 1967.

Errh. I'm not sure it would be that easy. Some members of my family not particularly comfortable with computers took much more than that before they got to the point where they could conduct a google search on a tablet and read news articles, and they were familiar and trained in the use of systems much more modern and similar to tablets than the Hypertext Editing System (which was being developed in 1967).

I think the weirdness of a solid flat piece of material glasslike on one side and rubber-weird on the other with icky pressure plates on the sides where the glassy side somehow partially changes color into arbitrary and unfamiliar images with uncanny precision unlike any other type of light-emitting device ever encountered before and where the lights and images somehow move as if controlled by some intelligence by magically detecting the mere touch of fingers...

...is being slightly underestimated here.

And we haven't reached the browser or Wikipedia yet. I think they might ask for a (physical, paper, bound) book instead.

People are very adaptable.

a solid flat piece of material glasslike on one side and rubber-weird on the other with icky pressure plates on the sides where the glassy side somehow partially changes color into arbitrary and unfamiliar images with uncanny precision unlike any other type of light-emitting device ever encountered before and where the lights and images somehow move as if controlled by some intelligence by magically detecting the mere touch of fingers...

"Oh, it's a small TV that I can touch to move the pictures around. Neat."

People learn all sorts of arcana given the right incentive. My aged parents got broadband for one purpose: to Skype to their children and grandchildren.In the late '90s, a friend's technophobe father got an iMac and a dialup account for the single purpose of using eBay.

"Is there anything Wikipedia can't do?"

(I'm currently trying to arrange my own cryo affairs so that upon my deanimation, a copy of Wikipedia (amongst many other things) goes with me, in case I'm frozen for long enough that having a reference for my era and culture would be handy to have.)

Technically, it will be the executor of my will who will make the final decision; but my instructions are to use long-term archival media, with M-Discs as the main example.

Promoting the idea that waking up from cryo will involve being enmeshed in a community rightaway. I'm not actually sure how this might be managed. (...) If someone was revived from cryonics tomorrow, would you be willing to at least let them crash on your couch for a few weeks?

It's not clear at all that there will be anything remotely resembling "ok, you can crash on my couch" at the point in time when the frozen dead can be reanimated. Will there be a community that would be recognizable to the freshly defrosted?

Cryopreservation advocates should not promote ideas that are based on speculation and wishful thinking ("you'll be enmeshed in a community [... that will fulfill your social needs]"), best not to oversell if you want to appear legitimate.

It's not clear at all that there will be anything remotely resembling "ok, you can crash on my couch" at the point in time when the frozen dead can be reanimated. Will there be a community that would be recognizable to the freshly defrosted?

Enkidu got to crash on Gilgamesh's couch, at least in a sense. As long as people are still people, it seems reasonable to assume something of the sort will continue. And if people aren't people anymore, then we've passed into the realms of the Singularity, where by definition we can't make predictions; so we might as well ignore that set of future-branches to focus on the ones we can at least make educated guesses about.

Cryopreservation advocates should not promote ideas that are based on speculation and wishful thinking ("you'll be enmeshed in a community [... that will fulfill your social needs]"), best not to oversell if you want to appear legitimate.

From what I've seen, even suggesting that there may be somewhere around a 5% chance that someone who's cryo-preserved today will be revived leads to accusations of "overselling" - so if that's going to happen anyway, then that doesn't seem to be a very important factor in making organizational plans. A parallel that occurs to me is that no matter how benign the bus-ad or banner, atheist and secularist groups still get complaints and have their ads defaced and torn down... which doesn't mean that it's a bad idea to continue putting them up.

Enkidu got to crash on Gilgamesh's couch, at least in a sense.

Then let's promote the idea that there will be a community in the sense of "as long as there are multiple agents interacting with each other, they can be seen as part of a community". That, however, may not alleviate the fears of cut-off social connections.

The concern is that when telling someone "you will be enmeshed in a community", you may be including Enkidu and Gilgamesh, while they may be thinking Thanksgiving Dinner.

EDIT:

From what I've seen, even suggesting that there may be somewhere around a 5% chance that someone who's cryo-preserved today will be revived leads to accusations of "overselling" - so if that's going to happen anyway, then that doesn't seem to be a very important factor in making organizational plans.

"We will be accused of making dubious claims whatever we do, so we might as well make dubious claims." The difference is that a 0.05 chance of cryo working can and should be defended, while a "and the society you awaken into will be reminiscient of your Thanksgiving experiences" cannot.

The concern is that when telling someone "you will be enmeshed in a community", you may be including Enkidu and Gilgamesh, while they may be thinking Thanksgiving Dinner.

WIth themselves as the turkey, do you mean?

The most frequent reason humans unfreeze something today is to eat it. If our descentants will resemble humans, this should be our standard expectation.

"Daddytron, I don't want to eat the ancient humans, it just doesn't feel right"

- "Don't worry about it, Alice-ML. It's what was their standard expectation, here, check that ancient electronic papyrus. In fact, the humans climbed into the freezer voluntarily, and they lived long lives before. These ones only fed themselves organic food, too!"

when telling someone "you will be enmeshed in a community", you may be including Enkidu and Gilgamesh

I was more trying to use that pair as an example that humans still behave in many recognizably similar ways as they did five thousand years ago; the more "Thanksgiving Dinner" approach you mention is, in fact, what I'm suggesting may be worth considering trying to add to current cryo culture.

... [I]t remains just a subculture of a couple of thousand people or so.

Is this an accurate estimation?

... [M]ost of the objections people raise to cryonics seem to be off enough that, even if those objections were solved, those particular people still wouldn't sign up - that is, they feel some fundamental antipathy to the whole idea of cryonics, and unconsciously pick some rationalization that happens to sound reasonable to them to explain it.

Id est, "I observe that most people don't have a truly considered rejection to cryonics." Please correct me if I mis-paraphrase.

I have a strong hunch that one extremely strong reason people feel an emotional revulsion to cryo is, simply, that even if they do wake up in the future, they will have been cut off from all their social connections.

Condition one: the above is true. Condition two: the above is most people's true rejection to cryonics. Again, correct me if my breakdown errs.

What could we do to help [revived cryonically preserved persons] integrate into modern life...?

The proposal so far:

  • It is observed that most people do not have a true rejection to cryonics.
  • This observation is an accurate reflection of reality.
  • Most people have an emotion revulsion to permanent separation from all persons in their life especially when the demise of same is a reasonable assumption.
  • This observation is an accurate reflection of reality.
  • The above causes most people's true rejection of cryonics
  • Cryonics might work.

Thus:

  • Brainstorming "[w]hat could we do to help [revived cryonically preserved persons] integrate into modern life..." is worthwhile.

Indeed, the conclusion does sound like a fun activity. In fact, I think a marketing campaign by cryonics companies would, from a Dark Arts perspective, either help the companies or simply pad the wallet of whoever pitches them the idea.

However, I broke down your post into its composite implied assertions and assumptions to illuminate how conditional the argument is. I've noticed in your other posts a tendency to take an idea and run with it, which is a wonderful tendency that often leads to fun ideas, but can also send you down a dead avenue of thought. I urge you to take care when conceiving possible worthwhile courses of action, and to duly consider the accuracy, veracity, and soundness of each observation, assertion, and conclusion in your argument or 'thought matrix' starting from the beginning (anyone have a better word for what I refer to?). Perhaps the thought process doesn't matter so much as the conclusion - then by all means test the conclusion. I just wished to make you aware, if you weren't already, of a tendency that could over time waste many productive hours.

Is this an accurate estimation?

Assuming that you count the subculture as being those people who have a membership with one of the cryo providers: Yep. Reference: http://www.cryonics.org/comparisons.html , as of a few months ago, Alcor has 975 members, and Cryonics Institute has 1033, including those who haven't made full cryo-preservation arrangements.

Please correct me if I mis-paraphrase.

Not at all - it's as accurate a breakdown as I could ask for.

I've noticed in your other posts a tendency to take an idea and run with it

(I'm noticeable! Yay! )

That tendency likely stems from my background with SF and RPG world-building, where much of the fun comes from doing just that with any given premise.

a tendency that could over time waste a lot productive hours.

Depending on how you look at it, I've already wasted a lot of productive hours on just that - I have a pet SF setting I've put together specifically to try thinking up the consequences of a few premises about some minor technological advancements... and to try to find any contradictions in the ideas I end up coming up with. Fortunately, I seem to have a good deal of time compared to the number of ideas I come up with that have any significant potential... so as long as I do keep in mind that any particular idea I try following could end up being a dud, one way to think of the whole exercise is summarized by an entry from my quotefile:

"On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow. "

the conclusion does sound like a fun activity.

Any thoughts? :)

Those figures surprise me.

Any thoughts? :)

Aside from noting smiley faces seem to have the power to compel compliance, I will try to follow my own advice.

Those figures surprise me.

In which direction, and to what degree?

I thought them low, and was mildly surprised. Partly because the cryonics subculture is briefly mentioned in Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and I assumed that the subculture has persisted since at least 1997 (when Stephenson was writing the novel), I concluded that two thousand was a low estimation - simply because a subculture that could not accrue more members is in my eyes a pitiable thing (evoking of pathos). Considering how long Cryonics has been possible, I had thought more than a couple thousand of people would have ever been cryo-preserved. Although I doubt those figures represent all cryo-preserved persons.

Taking my prior advice into account, that's a lot of assumptions, I know. I have not researched cryonics thoroughly, as I'd like to understand enough of the neuroscience to form my own opinion. With my current level of knowledge I have low confidence in cryonics; the degree to which extreme cold destroys brain matter (on a molecular level) is one issue.

I doubt those figures represent all cryo-preserved persons.

I seem to have described my numbers a bit off, so I'll try again to try to make sure the confusion is cleared up:

There are currently around 2,000 living people who are members of cryo organizations.

There are currently around 200 dead (or 'dead') people who have been cryo-preserved.

the degree to which extreme cold destroys brain matter (on a molecular level) is one issue.

I don't disagree with you about that. However, given the range of options currently available on the table, if I have a lethal heart attack this year... there don't seem to really be any other options I /can/ make arrangements for. It's possible that the damage you describe will, one day, eventually be able to be repaired; in which case, no worries. Or, it's possible the damage you describe will never be able to be repaired; in which case, in another sense, no worries.

(Part of my current consultations with my lawyer about my will, is to arrange for as much of my personal writing and similar data to be stored with me - and at least part of the reasoning for my doing that, is to provide another set of data about the way my brain functions in case it might help with future repair efforts. It's even more of a longshot than cryo itself, but since I'd like to have that data with me anyway if I'm revived, it doesn't seem to be a negative.)

I feel like you've hit upon a significant, salient objection with the whole "bereft of community" factor, but

One possible alternative approach might be to take the thought experiment - what if we could revive someone from cryo not next century, or next decade... but tomorrow. What could we do to help them integrate into modern life, instead of merely waking up in a hospital bed with the day's newspaper and being shown the door?

...So: If someone was revived from cryonics tomorrow, would you be willing to at least let them crash on your couch for a few weeks?

I think the "community" that many people are worried about losing is something beyond that which you're addressing here. People want a community that values and relates to them, not just one that accommodates them.

Framing it in terms of debt, as per the opening of your post, what they have is a relationship where others are indebted to them as well as their being indebted to others, and individuals account for themselves within the community and have opportunity to feel valued because of it. What they'd be getting upon arrival is a community which sustained their very existence without receiving compensation from them, for decades, where they're effectively being supported and acculturated into their new environment as an act of charity.

Beyond the issue of debt though, communities tend to be bound together by shared values and norms. Think of the mass immigration to America around the Industrial Revolution; immigrants tended to live in enclaves among other immigrants. Suppose you were an Italian immigrating to America, but there were almost no other Italian immigrants, so few you would probably never meet one. Suppose further that there were also so few Catholics in America that there would be no church groups you could integrate into without outright changing religions. The immigration officials might say "sure, we'll take you," but you wouldn't be able to surround yourself with people you knew you shared cultural norms with. You might find acceptance, and maybe if you're lucky, people who value your contributions to society, but you'd have a damn hard time finding people who relate to you as an Italian Catholic immigrant, and you might have to change yourself in ways you're not necessarily comfortable changing in order to fit in.

You've hit a few nails right on the head.

Re-reading my post, I think part of what I was trying to express with the 'couch crash' question is that, at present, there aren't any preparations to even let a cryonics revivee couch-surf amongst other cryo enthusiasts, let alone try to help them join the more full-fledged sorts of shared-values communities you describe.

So: If someone was revived from cryonics tomorrow, would you be willing to at least let them crash on your couch for a few weeks?

Yep. Anyone in that situation, send me a letter (or ask someone to "E-mail" me - they'll understand).

I don't think that's what prevents cryonics.

For the vast majority of people, cryonics is weird. It's not something they would do, for the same reason that prevents them from moving to Australia, even if they agreed it would be far better for them and they had no strong communal ties.

This explains how, even after LWers are convinced that cryonics is the rational thing to do, there's still a strong alief against doing so.

cryonics is weird

I don't disagree; I /think/ that it's possible that the idea I'm trying to explain here may be a strong factor explaining why people /do/ think that. Eg, "what sort of person would be willing to even try jumping into a future society with no family, no friends, no community? What a weirdo".

I'm making a different point here. I'm saying that most people who dismiss it do so based on an immediate gut reaction of, "Cryonics? That's strange and something from science fiction."

This may be somewhat besides the point of the OP, but "cryonics" + "social obligations" in the context of the old headache about the popularity of cryonics reminded me of this:

The laws of different countries allow potential donors to permit or refuse donation, or give this choice to relatives. The frequency of donations varies among countries.

There are two main methods for determining voluntary consent: "opt in" (only those who have given explicit consent are donors) and "opt out" (anyone who has not refused is a donor). Opt-out legislative systems dramatically increase effective rates of consent for donation.[1] For example, Germany, which uses an opt-in system, has an organ donation consent rate of 12% among its population, while Austria, a country with a very similar culture and economic development, but which uses an opt-out system, has a consent rate of 99.98%.[1][2]

~ Wikipedia on organ donation

most of the objections people raise to cryonics seem to be off enough that, even if those objections were solved, those particular people still wouldn't sign up - that is, they feel some fundamental antipathy to the whole idea of cryonics, and unconsciously pick some rationalization that happens to sound reasonable to them to explain it.

I really would sign up for cryonics if I thought it was at all likely to work. Even at a 1 in 30 chance I'd take it. But there are so many ways for it to fail that I just don't think the odds are good at all.

Interestingly, my own estimation of a 1 in 20 chance puts me right about in the middle of your estimates. Given that I based my estimate primarily to be the median of the estimates I'd gathered at the time I made it, I'm still a little surprised that it's still that with your newer set of estimates.

A society that isn't willing to put energy into reintegrating individual is unlikely to spend resources on reviving cryonics patients.

What's even more interesting is that if this idea has any actual basis in reality... then it offers the possibility of coming up with approaches to counter it: promoting the idea that waking up from cryo will involve being enmeshed in a community rightaway.

Do we expect that to really be the case, though?

With current activities. nope; that's why part of the promotion would have to be the laying of the foundation of that community, trying to help it come into being (or at least make it easier to do so).

I have a strong hunch that one extremely strong reason people feel an emotional revulsion to cryo is, simply, that even if they do wake up in the future, they will have been cut off from all their social connections

[pollid:396]

This is a good point and worth making, but if I can mega-nitpick your writing style for a moment, I think this post overuses ellipses. It's noticeable and distracting, and I don't see how it adds anything to the post.

I also have a tendency to overuse semicolons; in my post, I used even more of those than I did ellipses. I often tend to over-use hyphens, as well - though I don't seem to have suffered that flaw this time. (I also use many more brackets than most people (including nested ones), which some people find a bit off-putting.)

At least a tad more seriously: English only has so many forms of punctuation to transition from one thought to the next, each of which has a somewhat different subjective flavor. I started reading early enough that I sometimes claim that the deep structures of my brain grew to incorporate more textual elements than verbal ones; each time I use an ellipsis instead of a period (or hyphen, or semicolon, or etc), it's generally because the thoughts I'm trying to express feel, to me, as if the transition is more like that of an ellipsis than anything else.

I do try to remember to make at least one sweep through anything I write for editing, after I write the first draft; but, though people have occasionally commented on my textual idiosyncrasies, this is the first time I recall in which they've been described as distracting. I'm certainly willing to adjust my writing style in order to more effectively get across my points... but as I re-read my post, considering each ellipsis, they read to me as inserting something very much like a verbal pause, in order to emphasize the difference between what comes before and after - a pause greater than a comma, but not quite enough to break apart into separate sentence fragments. A semicolon isn't quite appropriate; the sentence still continues, grammatically no more interrupted than with a comma. A hyphen could certainly work, though I tend to think they're better used as minor brackets.

Do you have any particular/concrete suggestions, other than 'use less ellipses'?

My true rejection of ellipses is that I associate overuse of ellipses with conspiracy theory-style writing (e.g. "you might think that Obama isn't a lizard-person... but you'd be wrong!"). It reads to me like overconfidence in the shock value of your insights. You might decide not to care that I think this, but I don't think I'm alone in having this association.

Here are more specific suggestions about how I would replace each of your uses of ellipses.

The reason I'm posting about this book here... is that it's giving me some new perspectives from which to consider the whole cryonics subculture

Delete this ellipsis.

I still have two-thirds of "Debt" to go... but, at the moment

Delete this ellipsis or replace with a period and rewrite the beginning of the next sentence.

What's even more interesting is that if this idea has any actual basis in reality... then it offers the possibility of coming up with approaches to counter it

Replace this ellipsis with a comma.

One possible alternative approach might be to take the thought experiment - what if we could revive someone from cryo not next century, or next decade... but tomorrow

Replace this ellipsis with a comma and italicize "tomorrow."

I don't know to what extent fear of being isolated in an alien culture is a motivation for people opposing cryonics. I don't think it's an irrational fear-- it's a thing that could happen, especially if few people from your own time choose cryonics, and there's been a fair amount of science fiction about being the only one from your time.

On the other hand, I've never been revolted by cryonics and the people who hate the idea don't seem terribly good at explaining their premises.

Whatever is going on, it seems to be on the alief level.

You've got me wondering whether one of the reasons is the opposite, not so much fear of being out of one's social net, but hatred of people who get to default on all their obligations while still being alive.

In any case, one solution would be leaving directives that one should only be revived if particular other people are also revived and/or a certain number of people from one's time are revived. On the other hand, medical directives are routinely ignored these days, so I can understand not having trust in directives.

I don't know of any science fiction which includes people from different time peoples forming sub-cultures after revival, though this seems like a likely outcome.

Whatever is going on, it seems to be on the alief level.

Eeyup.

You've got me wondering whether one of the reasons is the opposite, not so much fear of being out of one's social net, but hatred of people who get to default on all their obligations while still being alive.

Now that's an /interesting/ thought to consider and compare. Eg, if that's more of a factor than my proposed 'wake up community-less' thought, then how might we be able to tell?

I don't know of any science fiction which includes people from different time peoples forming sub-cultures after revival

The closest I can recall is the comic "Transmetropolitan", which had, as a minor sub-plot, cryo revivees experiencing extreme future shock and a tendency to remain together in the dorms provided for them.

Eg, if that's more of a factor than my proposed 'wake up community-less' thought, then how might we be able to tell?

To the extent that I'm motivated by hatred of defaulters, I should prefer a hypothetical cryonics approach in which people continue to accrue debt (and interest on debt) which they have to pay off somehow upon revival.

To the extent that I'm motivated by fear of communitylessness, I should prefer a hypothetical cryonics approach in which people are guaranteed a social community (e.g., reviving cultural cohorts all at once, and precommitting to not reviving people with insufficient cohort).

So by asking people to choose among various hypothetical cryonics approaches with different traits, it seems like I should be able to gather some evidence about people's motivations.

When I was talking about defaulting, I was thinking more about social obligations to people from your own time.

I'm not sure that changes my point.

If what I'm concerned about is current social obligations going unmet, then a hypothetical cryonics approach in which I must arrange for my social obligations to be met in my absence, and I am made to bear the cost of meeting them, means I am no longer able to default on all my obligations by means of cryonic suspension. If resentment at the ability to default in that way is driving my opposition to cryonics, I ought to be less opposed to such a hypothetical cryonics approach.

If I'm correct about this operating on the alief level, then the gut level concern is about people's current social net, not folks in the future they haven't built a connection with.

Furthermore, if my gut is at all typical, if the folks in the future start by imposing an unpayable debt, then they feel like an enemy tribe.

So, if I'm understanding you correctly, then if I have this alief that folks who get cryonically preserved are Traitors (because they're skipping out on their obligations to their current social net), and that alief is what primarily motivates me to reject cryonics (because preservation is a reward and we Don't Reward Traitors), then even if we build the system to somehow ensure that the cryonically preserved make sure their current social obligations are met (now), and to somehow ensure that the cryonically preserved are made to Pay Their Fair Share (eventually) for those obligations, that won't necessarily address the alief (and therefore the associated rejection), because...

That's where I lose the thread.

Yes, I agree that if folks in the future impose an unpayable debt, they feel like enemies, but I'm neither clear on where this unpayable-debt concept is coming from (as distinct from not getting to skip out on paying for alief-relevent obligations). And yes, I agree that the concern is that their current social net be taken care of (which is why it's important to ensure those obligations are met now, in addition to ensuring that the preserved folks don't get to Skip Out).

But I don't see how A connects to B.

What am I missing?

So by asking people to choose among various hypothetical cryonics approaches with different traits, it seems like I should be able to gather some evidence about people's motivations.

Which people are you thinking of asking? Existing cryo enthusiasts, would-be cryo enthusiasts who haven't signed up, random citizenry?

I look at your increasing-debt scenario and wince mightily; that approach would leave me worse off than someone who simply immigrates as a refugee from the worst hellhole on the planet. I look at the latter... and wince again; that last clause implies that if insufficient other people enter cryonics near the same time as me, then my odds of being woken up at all decrease significantly, which would defeat the whole point of the exercise. I'm fairly sure that I would rather be alive and monetarily poor than not alive, so I prefer the former... though I can, of course, think of many other scenarios I'd prefer even more. And, of course, I'm about as un-typical a surveyee as you're likely to find.

(shrug) Whichever people I'm interested in the motivations of. I would expect to get different answers for different subsets of the population. That said, surveying cryo enthusiasts to find out about their motives for rejecting cryonics would be more challenging.

That's certainly the first time I've heard of such a rationalization for people avoiding cryo. I usually just assumed it was because of lack of public knowledge (most people I've talked to assume that once you're dead, you're dead, and there's no way to bring you back) and a abhorrence of being stuck in a refrigerator at the mercy of anyone who happens to be passing by (something I can certainly understand - I wouldn't sign up for cryonics if I didn't have some assurance that my body will not be messed with until the revival time comes).

Well, it's not exactly in a refrigerator, but completely surrounded by (immersed in?) liquid nitrogen. Messing around with you would be anything but a casual occurrence, even if there weren't any additional security.

I have to admit, I'm still at the stage in my development as a rationalist that coming up with an actual, honest-to-goodness original idea - especially one that's actually true and useful - makes my day. (Or month.) /If/ this idea is true, and /if/ it actually helps point the direction to help improve cryo providers... who just might manage to attract at least one additional member, and/or acquire enough extra funding to lead to something approaching immortality... then that just might make my millennium. (Hello there, anyone reading this more than a century from now!)

Of course, that's a pretty big 'if'. And if it's not true, I still want to know that, so I can avoid wasting too much of my all-too-finite time on an unproductive path.

Does Haldeman's "The Forever War" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Forever_War ) cover enough similar ground, or does "Return" take a different approach?

Return makes more of an effort to be surreal. It's not very long, and Lem is wildly entertaining IMO.

The Forever War is kind of a major argument against a particular case of cryo. Repeated future shock so severe you don't even bother acculturating before going in again. Whee.

Context, please - we're talking about using fiction to prime peoples' imaginations.

This social isolation is definitely a part of why I'm not signed up. I've heard it suggested that females are more prone to this reasoning, thus the lower rate of sign up.

Beyond personal relationships, if you are resurrected all f your knowledge and skills will be obsolete. For most people their identity is strongly tied to what they know about the world and what they are good at, having to start again is dispiriting. At best you have decades of retraining, more likely you'r a glorified historical artefact.

If at some point a working cryonics technology is invented (eg. instant vitrification), it makes financial sense to create a new company, without enormous potential liabilities from hundreds (thousands?) of damaged frozen bodies. After a successful demonstration, existing companies without this technology are going to become bankrupt. The old bodies are useless - reviving somebody after a year of being frozen has roughly the same value as reviving somebody after a hundred - it proves to the public that it's possible. Media coverage is going to be roughly equivalent. Even if existing cryonics company were to invent this, it makes sense to create a new one, sell the technology to it for all attainable money, and dump the indebted corpse. It's standard business practice when the market changes drastically.

The year a working cryonics technology is proven to work is the year in which old frozen bodies are burned in an incinerator. Living relatives of frozen people may try to stop this, but it's going to be an exception, especially because people with close relatives probably aren't going to freeze themselves and because of time requirement. Also, while the bodies probably aren't, the freezing equipment is company property. So the relatives wouldn't have to pay for revival only, they would have to pay an arbitrary price for, effectively, a frozen body, as a body without equipment is completely dead. It's a sellers market :)

Remember: frozen people are legally dead. The don't have assets. They can't pay for their revival. They're a liability, they're literally worthless for a cryonics company.

These are the reasons why I wouldn't pay for cryonics for me, as the only possibility of revival is suicidal insanity of company's management. However, company with insane management won't last long. So the probability of being revived is basically zero. It's better to spend the money before death on fun things, or give it to someone I care about.

for Alcor at least, the board of directors is stipulated to require being signed up and also to have a relative or loved one in storage.

It's better to spend the money before death on fun things, or give it to someone I care about.

Or work towards that cryonics killer, please.

I don't think you understand the cryonics model at all.

If at some point a working cryonics technology is invented (eg. instant vitrification), it makes financial sense to create a new company, without enormous potential liabilities from hundreds (thousands?) of damaged frozen bodies. After a successful demonstration, existing companies without this technology are going to become bankrupt.

What existing companies?

Have you read Transmetropolitan? This is actually a major sub-plot. There is a significant quantity of people who had cryonics, were thawed, were released under their own recognizance in to an unrecognizably bizarre future, and promptly became homeless, desperate vagrants.

edit: ignore this comment, redundant with discussion from DataPacRat

even if they do wake up in the future, they will have been cut off from all their social connections. This may not sound like much

Not much? If I don't get to interact with my friends etc., how is being revived as a cryo patient any better than being revived as a Boltzmann brain or something?

Well, you can make new friends.

Sill, this makes it sound like a really good idea to get couples and families and even larger groups to sign up together, with 'thaw us together' instructions.

Well, you can make new friends.

In a totally different culture? (Cue EY mentioning how humans from a 1960 movie feel like aliens to him.) Well, in principle I could, but...

People are fully capable of making friends in wildly different cultures - consider the children of military personnel, who move around a lot, or other people who move far from their birth culture for a job.

I expect the future to have a lot more people in it, thanks to uploads. That might translate to a greater variety of culture, which will make it easier to find a place to fit in.

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