Created: 2020-10-07 | Updated: 2020-10-07
Help / Quality: I’m publishing this post slightly unfinished because a friend of a friend might need this information today (or in the next few days) to (micro-)cryopreserved their grandmother. If you have knowledge on how to use online gambling platforms in the ways described in this post (see section “How to” and “Replacing credences with frequencies”, your input would be appreciated.
Warning: This article talks about gambling. I think gambling is almost always a bad idea, and gamblers are often irrational and/or addicted. This article discusses an exception where I think gambling is rational.
Summary: If you need to buy cryonics very soon, and don’t have enough money, you can gamble the money you have for a chance of being able to afford getting cryopreserved.
Important note: Other options for people in an ermgency situation with a low budget not discussed in this post include low-cost preservations and fundraising. Lifelogging can also be considered as a complementary option.
If the cheapeast biostasis option available to you is more expensive than the amount of money you have, you can gamble your money to buy a probability of getting cryopreserved, which itself is a probability of living longer.
Cryonics is already a gamble: you bet money that it might allow you to live longer. Gambling money that might allow you to get enough money to get cryopreserved is not qualitatively different.
Even if what you’re buying is just hope, buying a probability of having the hope for a fraction of the money should generally still be worth it.
It seems to me like this is true for any expense that is:
- larger than your total disposable assets: otherwise you can just pay directly for it
- note: it could be that you keep separate budget for separate values, in which case you might want to gamble your budget to save a loved one, and keep the rest of your assets separately
- time sensitive: otherwise you can accumulate more resources to pay for it
- more valuable than what you could otherwise do with money: otherwise you should but those other things
- where borrowing money isn’t an option: otherwise you should borrow money to make sure you can buy it
The only example I can think that fits those criterias is for an emergency life saving technology. Given current medicine is generally pretty ineffective, the main example is cryonics.
Note that this is a desparate measure. If you want to get cryopreserved, I recommend having a solid plan on how to pay for it. Probably by either buying a whole life insurance, or by buying a term life insurance while you put enough money aside, or by buying it out-of-pocket. Gambling your money to save a loved one with cryonics will also mean you won’t be able to use that money to save other loved ones with cryonics.
That being said, you could find yourself in a situation where this is the correct move. In which case I think it will require a very rational person to be able to go through with this.
It will require:
- Fully accepting that cryonics is a good thing, and you might have failed to acquire enough resources to saved a loved one
- Having the agency to learn how to use the required technology for the first time, in what might be a pretty stressful situation
- Potentially not be properly acknowledged for your heroic effort
- Do something even weirder than normal-cryonics
- Gamble money, which is usually seen as low-status
I imagine someone sitting alone, not just physically, but emotionally, in silence, in front of their computer. Without any loved ones knowing or understanding what they are about to do. With all their assets transformed in a crypto-currency. Looking at a low-quality HTML page. Rechecking yet again that all the numbers were entered correctly. The second they click that button, they will know their faith. A few pixels representing a death, or a possibility at a second life. A hearth crushed, or a heart filled with hope.
If you find the courage to do this, I’d be delighted to meet you.
See next section for how to do this.
Warning: I have not tested Just Dice. Please make your due diligence, and test it with a small amount of money.
Fortunately, the blockchain community has brought us provably fair gambling platforms at low fees. They seem like an excellent tool for this purpose.
I’ll use Just Dice as an example. I might review others at a later point. If you want to review them, please leave a comment or let me know if you want to make a post.
Just Dice (https://just-dice.com/) takes a 1% fee.
Let’s say the cheapeast preservation available to you cost 50,000 USD, and that you have only 5,000 USD.
First, you need to buy the crypto-currency used by the website, in this case Clams. See: How to Buy Clams. To simplify this example, let’s say the exchange rate is 1 Clam = 1 USD.
Then for your bet size you would put the money you have, so 5000 Clams. And for the profit you would put the cost of cryonics minus the money you have, so 50,000 Clams minus 5,000 Clams. If the website didn’t take a fee, that would give you a 10% to win: 90% * -5000 + 10% * +45,000 = 0. However, the website takes a 1% cut, so your chance to win becomes 99%*10% = 9.9% instead of 10%. This represents an expected cost of 1%.
Two ways of calculating it:
- 90.1% * -5000 Clams + 9.9% * + 45,000 Clams = -50 Clams
- 1% * -5000 Clams = -50 Clams
- bet size: your total budget
- profit: the total amount of money you need minus your total budget
Once you’ve entered those values, you can click on “deposit” to deposit money. Then once you’ve done the bet, you can click on “withdraw” to withdraw the money.
Replacing credences with frequencies
The website Random Numbers (http://www.randomnumbers.info/) claims to have a quantum origin.
I’m not positive on whether that means when you generate a number from, say, 1 to 10, there will be versions of you seeing each number. And I’m even less confident that each number gets roughly a similar fraction of the quantum measure.
- something like the many-world interpretation of quantum mechanics is true,
- gambling doesn’t naturally have this property
- we value being in a fraction of worlds more than a probability of being in all worlds (ex.: because of quantum immortality)
Then it seems like replacing credences (“epistemic probabiliities”) with frequencies (“physical probabilities”) would be valuable.
I expect most people to agree with (1), some people agreeing with (2), and most people disagreeing with (3). I personally think this doesn’t seem entirely unlikely. And it seems more unlikely that it would be worse. So assuming it’s either neutral or positive, then it seems worth doing even if the probability of being positive is low.
Although I haven’t investigated how to use the Random Number generator along with one of the betting websites exactly, but I think it should be doable. If anyone knows how, please let me know.
Trading among different forms of preservation
Let’s consider various preservation options:
- DNA storage (218 USD with the Cryonics Insitute)
- Neuropreservation (100,000 USD with Alcor)
- Whole-body preservation (220,000 USD with Alcor)
Note: Cheaper options exist, this is meant as an illustrative example.
Note: Alcor charges surcharges for last-minute sign up and thrid-party sign up (see: Required cost and cryopreservation fund minimums).
Let’s say we have 218 USD, and are about to die.
This would mean we’d have the following options.
- 100% of preserving our DNA
- (218*99%)/100,000 = ~1/463 chance of a neuropreservation
- (218*99%)/220,000 = ~1/1019 chance of a whole-body preservation
I think the case for the DNA is hard. In many ways, this is the equivalent of learning you had an unknown biological twin which was living in another country. Not that much of a consolation as far as I’m concerned. But maybe if you combine DNA with extensive lifelogging, then that brings a lot of value. But otherwise, I think I’d prefer a shot at a neuropreservation. If you have more money, then the trade-off becomes even more favorable — with 1000 USD, it becomes: 100% DNA preservation vs 1% neuropreservation.
As for whole-body preservation vs neuropreservation, I would take a 100% chance of a neuropreservation over a 45% chance of a whole-body preservation. I might actually take a 100% chance of a neuropreservation over a 100% chance of a whole-body preservation because the field cryoprotection protocole Alcor uses is more advanced for neuropreservations given they are less complex.
Another trade-off I might consider is lowering the probability in exchange for being able to afford moving near the cryonics service provider.
Note on terminology
I coined the term micro-biostasis in a similar vein of ideas to the term micromort which means “a unit of risk defined as one-in-a-million chance of death” — a micro-biostasis meaning “a unit of risk defined as one-in-a-million chance of being put in stasis”.