I'm starting a contest for the best essay describing why a rational person of a not particularly selfish nature might consider cryonics an exceptionally worthwhile place to allocate resources. There are three distinct questions relating to this, and you can pick any one of them to focus on, or answer all three.
- Essay Topic: Cryonics and Effective Altruism
- Answers at least one of the following questions:
- Why might a utilitarian seeking to do the most good consider contributing time and/or money towards cryonics (as opposed to other causes)?
- What is the most optimal way (or at least, some highly optimal, perhaps counterintuitive way) to contribute to cryonics?
- What reasons might a utilitarian have for actually signing up for cryonics services, as opposed to just making a charitable donation towards cryonics (or vice versa)?
- Length: 800-1200 words
- Target audience: Utilitarians, Consequentialists, Effective Altruists, etc.
- Prize: 1 BTC (around $350, at the moment)
- Deadline: Sunday 11/17/2013, at 8:00PM PST
To enter, post your essay as a comment in this thread. Feel free to edit your submission up until the deadline. If it is a repost of something old, a link to the original would be appreciated. I will judge the essays partly based on upvotes/downvotes, but also based on how well it meets the criteria and makes its points. Essays that do not directly answer any of the three questions will not be considered for the prize. If there are multiple entries that are too close to call, I will flip a coin to determine the winner.
Terminology clarification: I realise that for some individuals there is confusion about the term 'utilitarian' because historically it has been represented using very simple, humanly unrealistic utility functions such as pure hedonism. For the purposes of this contest, I mean to include anyone whose utility function is well defined and self-consistent -- it is not meant to imply a particular utility function. You may wish to clarify in your essay the kind of utilitarian you are describing.
Regarding the prize: If you win the contest and prefer to receive cash equivalent via paypal, this wll be an option, although I consider bitcoin to be more convenient (and there is no guarantee how many dollars it will come out to due to the volatility of bitcoin).