This is from Wikipedia and doesn't really explain the full context. Cryonics in the 1960s/early 1970s was an absolute failure, but within the US, they learned hard lessons since then. Alcor and Cryonics Institute are both non-profits and seem like pretty stable organizations. If you disagree about that please let me know why.
FWIW I actually recently updated Wikipedia to reflect this fact (that Alcor has been in continuous operation since the 70s).
A relevant data point is that, as of a few years ago, I believe Mike Darwin wrote that he was still signed up with Alcor. As he pointed out, despite the problems with existing organizations, cryonics is the only game in town for avoiding death.
Thank you for all of your work on doing this. I really appreciate it.
Sure there is plenty of evidence.
Here is a good starting point: http://chronopause.com/chronopause.com/index.php/2011/02/23/does-personal-identity-survive-cryopreservation/index.html
I think nanotech is "magic" in the same way that uploading is "magic". Neither exists but there's no good reason to think that either wouldn't be possible imo.
What am I missing about this?
Sadly, Bederson’s evidence is mostly anecdotal and therefore not very trustworthy.
However, several of the parameters would be likely to be unaffected by increased funding:
- Cryonics is continuously legal
- Cryonic revival is permitted
On the contrary, I very much expect that more funding would help with these factors. The success of cryonics is limited by sociopolitical factors, and the more people who have buy-in, the more likely people are to be protected when in long-term cryopreservation.
The intention of my post was not to encourage reductions in funding into cryonics; rather, to increase awareness among LessWrongers readers about anti-aging.
This is an admirable goal. =)
I strongly support anti-aging research. I'm not clear on what your criticism is of cryonics. Perhaps I missed where you explained why you think that cryonics will not work? For example, where in the Drake equation does your probability differ from Steve Harris's or Mike Perry's?
Also, you point out the large number of organizations and companies involved in aging research. Surely the fact that there are way fewer in cryonics means that it is has merit from an underfunding perspective?
You might get better responses at New Cryonet or r/cryonics. The cryonics community doesn't seem to be very active here.
It's a tricky question and depends a lot on your circumstances.
First, there are often cheaper options available. For example, CI is cheaper than Alcor. See https://www.reddit.com/r/cryonics/comments/8ymikj/oc_how_much_does_is_cost_to_preserve_a_brain/
If you have a terminal illness and don't have enough money for even cheaper options like CI, you can try to get in touch with the Venturists, who might be able to vouch for ...
Upvoted -- I agree that the probability is higher if you do cryonics.
However, a lot of the framing of this discussion is that "if you choose cryonics, you are opening up Pandora's box because of the possibility of worse-than-death outcomes." This triggers all sort of catastrophic cognitions and causes people to have even more of an ugh field around cryonics. So I wanted to point out that worse than death outcomes are certainly still possible even if you don't do cryonics.
Well, this is certainly a reasonable response. But if there is a mechanism to decrease the probability that a worse-than-death outcome would occur so that people who had expressed these concerns are more likely to want to do brain preservation and more people could be a part of the future, that seems like an easy win. I don't think people are particularly fungible.
I think I did not explain my proposal clearly enough. What I'm claiming is if that you could see intermediate steps suggesting that a worst-type future is imminent, or merely crosses your probability threshold as "too likely", then you could enumerate those and request to be removed from biostasis then. Before those who are resuscitating you would have a chance to do so.
I responded to this as a post here: http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/lrf/can_we_decrease_the_risk_of_worsethandeath/
it is very likely that my ticket out will be Alzheimer's or another neurodegenerative disease. In that case, cryopreservation will only make sense if I commit suicide at the very onset of the disease and am frozen right away which may not be possible. If I get Alzheimer's I may as well donate all my money to SIAI or Africa.
Consider two possibilities:
1) Alzheimers breaks long-distance communication more than it does actual information such as memories. Cf moments of lucidity. It's not clear how true this is, though.
2) It may in fact be possible to under...
Can you describe the reasons are that make you think it is not likely enough to work? Totally understandable if you can't articulate such reasons, but I'm just curious about what the benchmarks are that you might find useful in informing your probability estimate.
That is to say, it's unlikely that actual reversible cryopreservation would be possible; if it were, the technique probably wouldn't be called cryonics anymore. So, other more intermediate steps that'd you'd find informative might be good to know about.
"Brain degradation after death" is the key point in this list that I'd be interested in learning about. I'm not sure if it's proper to ask this in a comment now or should I be studying diligently around the issue, but I think it's also an interesting subject so excuse me.
Yes, good intuition. This is what Mike Darwin considers the largest problem in cryonics: http://chronopause.com/index.php/2011/02/23/does-personal-identity-survive-cryopreservation/
simply long-term structural changes in the brain to seeing memories as the products of "continuous enzymatic activity"
Long-term structural maintenance requires continuous enzymatic activity. For example, the average AMPA receptor lasts only around one day: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18320299. The actin cytoskeleton, made up of molecules which largely specify the structure of synapses, also requires continuous remodeling. If a structure is visibly the same after vitrification (not trivial), that means the molecules specifying it are likely to not have changed much.
but another large part of it is mediated by hormones going to and from the rest of your body
Upvoted the post. Worthy thing to discuss.
A reply to kalla724 that you did not mention is here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/d4a/brief_response_to_kalla724_on_preserving_personal/
Kalla724 claims that it is not possible to upload a C. elegans with particular memories and/or behaviors. I think that this is a testable claim and should shed light on kalla724's views on preserving personal identity with vitrification. I also think it is likely wrong.
There is an experiment testing something similar to this in rats. They retain their ability to navigate a maze following hypothermia. Andjus, 1956:
The differences in retention of the maze habit among experimental and control groups were very small and in no instance were they statistically significant, although there was a consistent trend towards poorer retention following hypothermia. These small differences may be functions of the technique used to reduce deep body temperature rather than of the effects of hypothermia per se.
These results are based u
I think it would teach us whether freezing and reviving with learning preserved was actually possible or not. This strikes me as important and useful information. That C.elegans has some inbuilt ability to survive freezing would confound it slightly, but I still think it's a necessary thing to at least look at.
I agree it would be useful. My wording was less charitable than it should have been. Still, the second test seems more definitive.
I really doubt the scientific exploitation of C.elegans is as hard as that would imply, compared to the numbers of
the experiment to do is obvious
a) Teach a bunch of C. elegans the tap-withdrawal reflex, freeze them, thaw them, and see if they still know it. This is what I'm assuming you were referring to. I actually don't think this is all that useful for testing the preservation abilities of cryonics. C. elegans have vastly different life cycles from humans and the ability to freeze them isn't that generalizable. See Casio's comment above: http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/d4a/brief_response_to_kalla724_on_preserving_personal/6u7e
b) Teach a bun...
I actually don't think this is all that useful for testing the preservation abilities of cryonics. C. elegans have vastly different life cycles from humans and the ability to freeze them isn't that generalizable. See Casio's comment above: http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/d4a/brief_response_to_kalla724_on_preserving_personal/6u7e
On the contrary, I think that given Casio's comment, such an experiment constitutes powerful evidence if it finds that nematodes don't remember after freezing - evidence for falsifying cryonics.
If it finds that nematodes do...
Do you have a link to the video?
As for p=10^-22, that's an unserious number
I agree. It's not my number. It's kalla724's. It would be difficult for me to assign a precise numerical probability.
I am pleased to see that you agree that these ideas are testable.
This is a good point. However, the post only discusses the substrates of personal identity in C. elegans.
Post-translational modification of proteins is involved in some types of memory. Sustained post-translational modifications are likely to involve changes in gene expression. Otherwise, the system would not be very robust.
Changes in gene expression are likely to involve changes in the cell's epigenome.
Even if the post-translational modifications are gone after you replace water with cryoprotectant, the epigenome might be still stable. This would allow you to see what the changes in gene expression were. So, you might be able to tell what the memory was.
It's useful to distinguish between types of skepticism, something lsparrish has discussed: http://lesswrong.com/lw/cbe/two_kinds_of_cryonics/.
kalla724 assigns a probability estimate of p = 10^-22 to any kind of cryonics preserving personal identity. On the other hand, Darwin, Seung, and Hayworth are skeptical of current protocols, for good reasons. But they are also trying to test and improve the protocols (reducing ischemic time) and expect that alternatives might work.
From my perspective you are overweighting credentials. The reason you need to pay att...
There are skeptics, such as Kenneth Storey, http://www4.carleton.ca/jmc/catalyst/2004/sf/km/km-cryonics.html
Wow. Now there's a data point for you. This guy's an expert in cryobiology and he still gets it completely wrong. Look at this:
Storey says the cells must cool “at 1,000 degrees a minute,” or as he describes it somewhat less scientifically, “really, really, really fast.” The rapid temperature reduction causes the water to become a glass, rather than ice.
Rapid temperature reduction? No! Cryonics patients are cooled VERY SLOWLY. Vitrification is...
Ken Hayworth: http://www.brainpreservation.org/
Rafal Smigrodzki: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/New_Cryonet/message/2522
Mike Darwin: http://chronopause.com/
It is critically important, especially for the engineers, information technology, and computer scientists who are reading this to understand that the brain is not a computer, but rather, it is a massive, 3-dimensional hard-wired circuit.
Aubrey de Grey: http://www.evidencebasedcryonics.org/tag/aubrey-de-grey/
Ravin Jain: http://www.alcor.org/AboutAlcor/meetdirectors.html#ravin
But are they less probable than the positive high-payoff scenarios (in just, happy societies that value freedom, comfort, and the pursuit of knowledge)? Evidence? Are you keeping in mind optimism bias?
Adele_L in a comment in this thread:
based on the general trend that societies with higher levels of technology tend to be better ones to live in
This has been discussed here. Enoosti:
Yes, the paper clip reference wasn't the only point I was trying to make; it was just a (failed) cherry on top. I mainly took issue with being revived in the common dystopian vision: constant states of warfare, violence, and so on. It simply isn't possible, given that you need to keep refilling dewars with LN2 and so much more; in other words, the chain of care would be disrupted, and you would be dead long before they found a way to resuscitate you. And that leaves basically only a sudden "I Have No Mouth"
Do you have any information about the relative level of detail both groups went into in their arguments? There is little to go on here.
Marginal costs could go down with scale, but there is a lot of evidence that it is difficult to scale up, and costs would need to fall a lot.
Would you mind going into details?
Plastination is a route that has been discussed but has had in my understanding zero research devoted to actually understanding whether it would work in humans for preserving personal identity. Ken Hayworth says that it could cost just a few thousand dollars.
Right now it may seem like there is no cheap route for effective brain preservation, but it is also clear that we as a spec...
Would you mind going into details?
I was referring to the difficulty cryonics organizations have had in recruiting customers, and their slow growth. I was contrasting this to the rapid growth of cost-effectiveness oriented efforts in private charity in aid, and the sophistication and money moved of groups like GiveWell (with increasing billionaire support), Giving What We Can, Life You Can Save, etc.
Right now it may seem like there is no cheap route for effective brain preservation, but it is also clear that we as a species have not tried very hard to
Thank you for the clarification of your stance. The best counterargument seems to be that brain preservation has the potential to save many more lives than are lost due to malaria, if properly implemented, and yet receives very little if no funding. For example, malaria research received 1.5 billion in funding in 2007, whereas one of the only studies explicitly designed as relevant to cryonics is still struggling to reach its modest goal of $3000 as I write this.
they have a nontrivial chance of living to see a positive singularity/radical life extension
This was the quote I was referring to:
So, I often have a nagging worry that what I’m working on only seems like it’s reducing existential risk after the best analysis I can do right now, but actually it’s increasing existential risk. That’s not a pleasant feeling, but it’s the kind of uncertainty you have to live with when working on these kinds of problems. All you can do is try really hard, and then try harder.
I was referencing how it is difficult to effectively lead an organization that is so focused on the distant future and which must make so many difficult decisions.
I should have been clearer.
And you are talking as if Jobs's moral stances do not hold especially more weight than other's do, as if his opinions were just the opinions of another guy, not something special. That is, when Steve Jobs says "don't mind death, it's ultimately a good thing," people listen.
If he had said "when people develop dementia, they are no longer able to contribute to society and thus we should accept their passing," I would still disagree, but at least his (near mode) actions would not be inconsistent with his (far mode) words.
But no, he makes...
One funny thing is that "cryogenics" and the singularity are so often lumped together, even though interest in them is for many people inversely correlated--if you believe in a near singularity (and are relatively young), you don't need cryonics for personal survival, and if you don't believe in a near singularity, you do need cryonics.
The patients have heart rate monitors with GPS signalers that signal the cryonics company as soon as the patient flatlines. This is just obviously the way things should be and it is regrettable that the market is not yet broad enough for 'obvious' to have been translated into common practice.
"For over fifteen years I have been hearing that the kinds of systems cryonicists would want for vital signs alarm systems will be commercially available within a year or two. In that sense, December 2010 is not ...
The relevant question seems to be Alcor vs CI. Form what I can tell, ACS is expensive and does its storage with CI anyway.
Alcor costs (http://www.alcor.org/BecomeMember/scheduleA.html):
$200,000.00 Whole Body Cryopreservation ($110,000 to the Patient Care Trust, $60,000 for cryopreservation, $30,000.00 to the Comprehensive Member Standby (CMS) Fund),
OR $80,000.00 Neurocryopreservation ($25,000 to the Patient Care Trust, $30,000 for cryopreservation, $25,000.00 to the CMS Fund).
CI + SA costs (http://www.cryonics.org/comparisons.html, and http://www.cryonic...
Yes, I agree both of these matter. I wonder which one is more important?
I'll upvote if you can explain to me how reading one line of this post is like being chased by a velociraptor.
First, I think this post was a good idea, and thanks for taking the time to write it and for putting yourself out there.
Consider reading about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral_therapy, and see whether that was the strategy which your therapist used. If not you might want to broach the topic with your parents and see whether they'll find you a therapist who will use CBT. Worth a shot, although it's [not necessarily efficacious in depression].
On the other hand CBT does not work for all people. I'd really suggest for you to have and/or &quo...
It is also illegal in France. See http://www.depressedmetabolism.com/2010/10/11/october-2010-cryonics-symposium-in-germany/ : "In the late 1960s the Cryonics Society of France was the largest cryonics organization outside of the United States. Roland was the President and Anatole Dolinoff was Vice-President. Roland showed me a list of officers and directors of the organization, pointing-out who had been fighting with whom, and the fact that virtually all were dead without having been cryopreserved. Dolinoff believed that cryonics was illegal in France...
OK, I update my "surprise" based on this info that you donate so much to charity. Good stuff.
I was using that as an example of how 1) donations to well-meaning and efficacious current charities can have unintended negative consequences in the long run (i.e., make people dependent), and 2) investments in scientific research (including the societal infrastructure to support it) tend to pay off great dividends in the long run.
I agree that $300, with no concomitant time investment, would probably not be enough.
I guess I'm just surprised that a (smart) person could read all of this information about a potentially hugely transformative technology, assign such a low probability (20%) to the likelihood that "not all of what makes you you is encoded in the physical state of the brain," and still just generally not care much and prefer to go play music instead. I just don't get it. Maybe I'm weird.
Similarly, does it take more than an additional $300/year to double my chances of revival?
I don't know, what do you think? It seems to me that if you can figure out some way to help the brain preservation foundation (http://www.brainpreservation.org/) develop a non-cryogenic (i.e., room temp) method of preservation, it could much more than double your chances.
Unfortunately for cryonics, it has tough competition as a charity. I don't think it comes anywhere close to givewell's top charity.
Looking back on it, which activity has had more benefit over ...
I think it is going to have to be a slow process.
First, you should try to convince him on the intellectual level that cryonics is feasible. If he is willing to read and likes science, this might be a good post to send him a link of: http://chronopause.com/index.php/2011/02/23/does-personal-identity-survive-cryopreservation/. I also might send him a link to the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryonics, which is pretty balanced. Frame it is an academic exercise. Who knows, maybe he can poke some holes in it? (And if he does, please report them ...
I upvoted because this is a good effort to make your probabilities explicit.
One meta point: A lot of this seems a bit too nihilistic. Cryonics is small, very small. If you, Jeff Kaufman, decide (and actually go through with the process) of signing up, that act non-trivially decreases the probability that cryonics will be outlawed. If you decide to contribute even in some small way to the (non-profit) org, that act decreases the probability that the org will fail, scaled (enormously) by how actively you engage. If you move closer to the org you sign up wit...
Putting aside the specifics about Alcor for a moment, what about this would this make you want to drop out of Cryonics entirely? There are other options.