I’m hoping to sign up for cryonics when I can afford it, and I’m not sure which agency and treatment plan to get.

As of this Cryonics institute document, whole-body suspension with Alcor costs $200,000. Neurosuspension costs $80,000. With the cheaper but possibly lower quality Cryonics Institute, whole-body suspension costs $28,000 and they don’t do neurosuspension. American Cryonics Society is in between, costing $155,000 (again, no neurosuspension option).

What are the upsides and downsides of these options, in the eyes of people who are signed up, considering signing up, or know a lot about the subject? Also, I know there are some people here who have looked at cryonics and found it a bad decision. Input from them is also welcome.

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18 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 11:49 PM

I looked at both before I signed up, and chose Alcor. Both organizations have similar numbers of members and corpsicles, but I bet the average wealth of their members is quite different. Alcor's higher dues are reflected in their staffing, research, and legal battles. CI is much more low-key.

The biggest difference between Alcor and CI is that Alcor does standby and transport. If you're very ill, they'll send a team to your deathbed so you can be cryopreserved as soon as possible. If you go with CI, you have to contract with Suspended Animation to get that treatment.

I signed up for CI but not for thoroughly researched reasons. I knew I wasn't going to be able to motivate myself to do in depth research, so I just made the decision on superficial grounds:

  • EY was signed up through CI
  • I knew Rudi Hoffman would help with the process for CI (I think he does both, but that was not my impression before I had talked to him)
  • whole body suspension didn't seem to be obviously better and was significantly cheaper

I'd be interested in helping to sponsor a prize to create a post that summarizes the scientific literature and arguments relevant to cryonics decisions. I am currently trying to figure out what works and what doesn't for getting projects like this one done. I'm starting small (i.e. the Anki prize), but I eventually hope to get to more difficult topics like this one.

I will second John here. I have also signed up with CI for pretty much the same reasons (cheaper + EY). Rudi Hoffman is a fantastic insurance salesman and a pleasure to work with.

From what I heard from an Alcor representative: you essentially get a bit more security from them, than you would from CI. (Ben Best didn't seem to disagree.) CI is really committed to keeping the costs down, but from their presentation I gathered that they don't really cut the important corners, so they seem like a very good choice.

Rudi Hoffman is ... a pleasure to work with.

YMMV. I found him so unpleasant that I used a different insurance guy rather than continue interacting with him.

It may be helpful to others if you describe what you found unpleasant about him.

He was very sales-y, trying to build up a personal rapport with me, and he was bad at it. (Example: I told him that I worked for Singinst, and then later he was talking about Singularity University like the fact that he knew to mention it was a point in his favor, when it in fact had nothing to do with me.)

He also reacted in a way I found suspicious when I received third-party information to the effect that his proposed insurance rates weren't any good and I wanted to wait and do more research.

Who did you end up going through? Was their service satisfying?

I have insurance through New York Life, who oblige me by conducting business without any recourse to telephones. I'm not actually sure I'm getting a particularly good price, but it's within my means and I only have to think about it once annually.

Thank for the info! I want a cheap policy mostly so I can tell my relatives it's cheap, but not if that means getting inferior preservation. Also, I'm glad to know there's an insurance agent who can help me set things up.

Thanks for the info!

I had a bit of a look around and couldn't find anything that moved me to think that Alcor's service was worth the extra money, so went with CI.

I think the only major difference is that Alcor's greater endowment presumably makes them more resilient against future collapse.

I'm curious about something - does anyone know if cryonics organizations donate to existential risk-reduction causes? And under what circumstances would it make economic sense for them to do so?

For a business, it only begins to make sense to make charitable donations when the business starts to make more money than it needs to stay in business. To donate before that point would be to judge that the business is a less valuable use of its resources than donating them to charity; but the owners, being in that business, have already decided otherwise.

I doubt if any cryonics organisation has reached that point. There is no mass market for cryonics yet, but there is competition, so the organisations aren't in a position to charge any more than it takes to cover their costs.

I can't see how their business model is any more dependent on the existence of humanity than most other businesses.

If the Earth was going to be destroyed by an asteroid in 10 years and everybody knew it, people would still buy McDonald's food this week--but nobody would sign up for cryonics.

Hmm, thinking some more...

If the ROI on the x-risk reduction project was great enough and they had a large enough client base, then donating to that project might benefit their clients but it would benefit their competitors' clients the same amount. So they wouldn't bother.

Joint action by competitors to expand or maintain their customer base is not unheard of. Trade associations often advertise..