Set-up: In a world that’s otherwise the same, an anthropomorphic God comes to you with a gun and a check, and offers you the following deal, should you accept it. (God can perfectly see the future and is honest.)
Dilemma: God will give you a check of X USD if you accept to be immediately and instantly killed iff the current cryonics protocole is sufficient to preserve identity.
Alternative: God kills you iff the following is true: If you were signed up for cryonics and died this year, you would get reanimated at some point in the future.
Question: What’s the minimum X for which you would accept this deal? What probability of dying are you trading this for?
Say 100,000 USD and 5%. This means this deal would give you:
- 100% earning 100k USD
- 5% of dying (right now, instead of ~0%)
If you die and get cryopreserved:
- 100% losing 100k USD (i.e. a typical cost for state of the art cryonics)
- 5% of living (instead of 0%)
If you die and don’t get cyropreserved:
- 100% of saving 100k USD (by not paying for cryonics)
- 5% more chance of dying (100% instead of 95%)
In this sense, taking the deal is similar to not getting cryopreserved (and vice versa).
There are significant disanologies of course:
- The type of life you would live
- How long you life would be if you didn’t die
- The social cost of signing up for cryonics
I still think this might be a useful thought experiment to bring this dilemma to a more near mode way of thinking. It also reverses the default option.
For anyone who thinks that cryonics is Pascal's mugging, this thought experiment amounts to "if you don't want to accept Pascal's mugging, how about I construct an opposite Pascal's mugging. I gotcha now--if you reject the first Pascal's mugging, you have to accept this one!" Cryonics is a Pascal's mugging with a small chance of a large benefit and a large chance of a smaller loss. This version is a small chance of a large harm and a large chance of a smaller benefit.
Pascal's mugging is a bad deal either way. I won't accept a very small X in this version merely because I think that the chance of success of cryonics is small, even if the calculation works out that way--the proper response to Pascal's mugging is to not calculate.
This is a very complicated and hard (for me) to internalize setup, meaning it doesn't evoke new framings, and doesn't serve any purpose (again, for me) as a thought experiment. That it's stated with multiple levels of if and iff makes it harder, but I don't have any suggestions (except maybe a flowchart or decision matrix) to improve.
It also doesn't help that it mixes dollars and life, asking for a dollar value against the possibility (even if infinitesimal) of death. Nor that it supposes an omniscient god, which if I had sufficient evidence to believe in the first place SERIOUSLY changes my expectations and probabilities.
And my underlying probability IS infinitesimal that I will die in a way that current cryopreservation systems (tech, legal, and social) will actually lead to my future resurrection.