Economics of cryonic suspension (was: Re: Acceptance of death)

From: Sebastian Hagen (
Date: Tue Dec 07 2004 - 10:46:23 MST

Keith Henson wrote:
> It is still strange and uncomfortable enough that only a minority of
> those who consider themselves "transhumans" have taken steps to have it
> apply to themselves or their family.
I'm a transhumanist (calling myself a transhuman would simply be
unrealistic) who hasn't signed up for cryopreservation because of the
financial issues. Unless you assign different (intrinsic) values to
different human lives (a distinction that may be justifiable, but which
I'm definitely not willing to make with my current biases), saving one
human life is equivalent to stopping dieing in general (e.g. with a
Friendly Singularity) less than one second earlier than it would happen

Considering the current prices for cryopreservation of a single person,
a donation of the same amount of money to a promising (and not already
overfunded) Friendly Singularity researching organization is in my
opinion likely to cut their research time by at least one second without
compromising Friendliness.
Considering that reaching a Friendly Singularity earlier also
(everything else being equal) decreases the chance of an existential
disaster happening in the meantime makes the second alternative look
like an even better option.

Which of the actions you assign a higher expected utility to depends
among other things on your estimation of the involved probabilities
(e.g. that cryopreservation saves sufficient information, that the
cryopreservation team will get to the body in time, that any of the (not
overfunded) organizations you are aware of is likely to be able to
trigger a Friendly Singularity, etc.).
And, obviously, if you really value the life/identity of certain persons
over that of a bunch of (probably) total strangers it makes sense to try
to save the former at the cost of the latter.

Sebastian Hagen

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