Buying micro-biostasis

Author: Mati Roy | Created: 2020-10-07 | Updated: 2020-10-07

x-post: Buying micro-biostasis – LessWrong

Help / Quality: I’m publishing this post slightly unfinished because a friend of a friend might need this information today (or in the next few days) to (micro-)cryopreserved their grandmother. If you have knowledge on how to use online gambling platforms in the ways described in this post (see section “How to” and “Replacing credences with frequencies”, your input would be appreciated.

Warning: This article talks about gambling. I think gambling is almost always a bad idea, and gamblers are often irrational and/or addicted. This article discusses an exception where I think gambling is rational.


Summary: If you need to buy cryonics very soon, and don’t have enough money, you can gamble the money you have for a chance of being able to afford getting cryopreserved.

Important note: Other options for people in an ermgency situation with a low budget not discussed in this post include low-cost preservations and fundraising. Lifelogging can also be considered as a complementary option.

Related: Meme

Table of content:

General idea

If the cheapeast biostasis option available to you is more expensive than the amount of money you have, you can gamble your money to buy a probability of getting cryopreserved, which itself is a probability of living longer.

Cryonics is already a gamble: you bet money that it might allow you to live longer. Gambling money that might allow you to get enough money to get cryopreserved is not qualitatively different.

Even if what you’re buying is just hope, buying a probability of having the hope for a fraction of the money should generally still be worth it.

It seems to me like this is true for any expense that is:

  • larger than your total disposable assets: otherwise you can just pay directly for it
    • note: it could be that you keep separate budget for separate values, in which case you might want to gamble your budget to save a loved one, and keep the rest of your assets separately
  • time sensitive: otherwise you can accumulate more resources to pay for it
  • more valuable than what you could otherwise do with money: otherwise you should but those other things
  • where borrowing money isn’t an option: otherwise you should borrow money to make sure you can buy it

The only example I can think that fits those criterias is for an emergency life saving technology. Given current medicine is generally pretty ineffective, the main example is cryonics.

Note that this is a desparate measure. If you want to get cryopreserved, I recommend having a solid plan on how to pay for it. Probably by either buying a whole life insurance, or by buying a term life insurance while you put enough money aside, or by buying it out-of-pocket. Gambling your money to save a loved one with cryonics will also mean you won’t be able to use that money to save other loved ones with cryonics.

That being said, you could find yourself in a situation where this is the correct move. In which case I think it will require a very rational person to be able to go through with this.

It will require:

  • Fully accepting that cryonics is a good thing, and you might have failed to acquire enough resources to saved a loved one
  • Having the agency to learn how to use the required technology for the first time, in what might be a pretty stressful situation
  • Potentially not be properly acknowledged for your heroic effort
  • Do something even weirder than normal-cryonics
  • Gamble money, which is usually seen as low-status

I imagine someone sitting alone, not just physically, but emotionally, in silence, in front of their computer. Without any loved ones knowing or understanding what they are about to do.  With all their assets transformed in a crypto-currency. Looking at a low-quality HTML page. Rechecking yet again that all the numbers were entered correctly. The second they click that button, they will know their faith. A few pixels representing a death, or a possibility at a second life. A hearth crushed, or a heart filled with hope.

If you find the courage to do this, I’d be delighted to meet you.

See next section for how to do this.

How to

Warning: I have not tested Just Dice. Please make your due diligence, and test it with a small amount of money. 

Fortunately, the blockchain community has brought us provably fair gambling platforms at low fees. They seem like an excellent tool for this purpose.

I’ll use Just Dice as an example. I might review others at a later point. If you want to review them, please leave a comment or let me know if you want to make a post.

Just Dice (https://just-dice.com/) takes a 1% fee.

Let’s say the cheapeast preservation available to you cost 50,000 USD, and that you have only 5,000 USD.

First, you need to buy the crypto-currency used by the website, in this case Clams. See: How to Buy Clams. To simplify this example, let’s say the exchange rate is 1 Clam = 1 USD.

Then for your bet size you would put the money you have, so 5000 Clams. And for the profit you would put the cost of cryonics minus the money you have, so 50,000 Clams minus 5,000 Clams. If the website didn’t take a fee, that would give you a 10% to win: 90% * -5000 + 10% * +45,000 = 0. However, the website takes a 1% cut, so your chance to win becomes 99%*10% = 9.9% instead of 10%. This represents an expected cost of 1%.

Two ways of calculating it:

  • 90.1% * -5000 Clams + 9.9% * + 45,000 Clams = -50 Clams
  • 1% * -5000 Clams = -50 Clams

In summary:

  • bet size: your total budget
  • profit: the total amount of money you need minus your total budget

Once you’ve entered those values, you can click on “deposit” to deposit money. Then once you’ve done the bet, you can click on “withdraw” to withdraw the money.

Replacing credences with frequencies

The website Random Numbers (http://www.randomnumbers.info/) claims to have a quantum origin.

I’m not positive on whether that means when you generate a number from, say, 1 to 10, there will be versions of you seeing each number. And I’m even less confident that each number gets roughly a similar fraction of the quantum measure.

Assuming:

  1. something like the many-world interpretation of quantum mechanics is true
  2. gambling doesn’t naturally have this property
  3. we value being in a fraction of worlds more than a probability of being in all worlds (ex.: because of quantum immortality)

Then it seems like replacing credences (“epistemic probabiliities”) with frequencies (“physical probabilities”) would be valuable.

I expect most people to agree with (1), some people agreeing with (2), and most people disagreeing with (3). I personally think this doesn’t seem entirely unlikely. And it seems more unlikely that it would be worse. So assuming it’s either neutral or positive, then it seems worth doing even if the probability of being positive is low.

Although I haven’t investigated how to use the Random Number generator along with one of the betting websites exactly, but I think it should be doable. If anyone knows how, please let me know.

Trading among different forms of preservation

Let’s consider various preservation options:

Note: Cheaper options exist, this is meant as an illustrative example.

Note: Alcor charges surcharges for last-minute sign up and thrid-party sign up (see: Required cost and cryopreservation fund minimums).

Let’s say we have 218 USD, and are about to die.

This would mean we’d have the following options.

  • 100% of preserving our DNA
  • (218*99%)/100,000 = ~1/463 chance of a neuropreservation
  • (218*99%)/220,000 = ~1/1019 chance of a whole-body preservation

I think the case for the DNA is hard. In many ways, this is the equivalent of learning you had an unknown biological twin which was living in another country. Not that much of a consolation as far as I’m concerned. But maybe if you combine DNA with extensive lifelogging, then that brings a lot of value. But otherwise, I think I’d prefer a shot at a neuropreservation. If you have more money, then the trade-off becomes even more favorable — with 1000 USD, it becomes: 100% DNA preservation vs 1% neuropreservation.

As for whole-body preservation vs neuropreservation, I would take a 100% chance of a neuropreservation over a 45% chance of a whole-body preservation. I might actually take a 100% chance of a neuropreservation over a 100% chance of a whole-body preservation because the field cryoprotection protocole Alcor uses is more advanced for neuropreservations given they are less complex.

Another trade-off I might consider is lowering the probability in exchange for being able to afford moving near the cryonics service provider.

Note on terminology

I coined the term micro-biostasis in a similar vein of ideas to the term micromort which means “a unit of risk defined as one-in-a-million chance of death” — a micro-biostasis meaning “a unit of risk defined as one-in-a-million chance of being put in stasis”.

Tell your (grand)parents about cryonics

Author: Mati Roy | Creation: 2020-03-19 | Updated: 2020-06-09 | Version: English clean version | Other versions: original version, French clean version

If you know older people, now might be a good time to talk to them about cryonics.

I will present the main objections I hear from my friends to justify not talking about it to their (grand)-parents (and/or elderly friends) as well as my answers. My answers are not generalized to everyone, but I do think they are applicable to many. I know it’s difficult to broach this subject: it can be embarrassing and harm your image. But, generally, I think these are trivialities in the face of the issue. Please allow me to challenge your view 🙂

Objection 1) Surely they will not want to register

My answer: This excuse bothers me. It is often the same people who say that elderly people do not adapt quickly enough. It doesn’t help if we stop sharing this kind of information with them. I find it condescending to make such an important decision on their behalf. And even if they don’t register, at least they will have been in control of their destiny.

Objection 2) I want to work less / buy more things with their inheritance

My answer: They love you enough to bequeath their wealth to you, so it seems to me like the least you could do in return is to give them this chance for a “second” life.

Objection 3) It will harm my relationship with them

My answer: You can bring it up indirectly; like, “Hey, I read that some people froze their bodies when they died hoping to be reanimated in the future.” Stay cooperative and support their choice. Aim to inform, not persuade. Consider starting with those who are most open to new ideas.

Objection 4) It is too improbable that cryonics will work

My answer: They potentially have not many years left. Let them decide if they prefer to be “buried with their money” or take this chance.

Objection 5) I don’t think it’s good for humanity

My answer: The more people register for cryonics, the more affordable cryonics will become for everyone because of economies of scale (see: Cryonics as Charity). There are more effective ways of being selfless than letting your (grand)-parents die.

Also more generally, as I often say: Good friends tell each other about cryonics.

The safest would be to move near a cryonics facility to reduce response delay, and to use assisted suicide before a neurodegenerative disease destroys their brain; but that’s a much more delicate topic.

How many humans will have their brain preserved? Forecasts and trends

Created: 2020-02-02 | Updated: 2020-05-07

Premise: If It’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing With Made-up Statistic

Metaculus:

Summary

Doubling time for the number of people that got cryopreserved has been pretty consistently 9 years since the beginning.

Operationalization

If a body is disposed of because it was proven to not have been properly preserved, it still counts in the total number. If a body is disposed / destroyed for another reason, it doesn’t count in the total. A preserved brain counts as 1 even if only part of the brain / identity is preserved.

Brains accidentally preserved such as those for scientific studies unrelated to cryonics don’t count.

People preserved digitally, but without having their brain preserved doesn’t count for the purpose of this text.

If a patient has been revived / uploaded, they still count in the total patient count.

Non-human animals don’t count for the purpose of this text.

On January 1st, 2030

Simple extrapolation would give us 1009 patients.

The raw data for the above graph comes from the list of cryonics patients.

Average absolute deviation from trend has been 4.18, but this seems very low, so I’ll just go with 50 from intuition.

To improve this prediction, I also made predictions of patient count for various organizations (see graph below). I think the trend for the “Other” category actually significantly undershoot what will actually happen as new organizations tend to bring more growth, and there will be two new organizations very soon (ie. the European Biostasis Foundation and Southern Cryonics). I also think the projection for Yinfeng Biological Group is much more uncertain (given they are new), and probably more modest (given they are still private; ie. not everyone can become a member).

I have a larger uncertainty for the patient count of specific organizations than for the total count given my uncertainty over the number of cryonics members that will switch to another organization. I combined this prediction with the probability of a disaster to update the initial simple extrapolation. Disasters can include: misreporting of number of patients, insolvency, natural catastrophe, voluntary attack, change of law, or error. I also made predictions for take-off caused by the Yinfeng Biological Group and the European Biostasis Foundation which are two new promising organizations. You can see the model here: https://www.getguesstimate.com/models/15142 (or in the image below).

Details from where the numbers come from:

  • Alcor: 3.31-0.994*x+0.0709*x^2-5.44*10^-4*x^3+1.21*10^-5*x^4 where x=63.76 = 287 (WolframAlpha)
  • Cryonics Institute: 10.7-4.17*x+0.261*x^2-4.99*10^-3*x^3+4.94*10^-5*x^4 where x=63.76 = 329 (WolframAlpha)
  • KrioRus: 6.01*x-261 where x=63.76 = 122 (WolframAlpha)
  • Yinfeng Biological Group take-off: sum of 1.25^x for x from 1 to 10 = 42 (WolframAlpha)
  • Other: -1.47+0.567*x-0.0327*x^2+5.72*10^-4*x^3 where x=63.76 = 50 (WolframAlpha)
  • Everything else comes mostly from my intuition

Sanity check: checking whether the sum of the predicted number of patients for each organization is the samed as the number of patients predicted from the overall trend.

290+330+51+81+120+25+15+6.6+12+12+67=1009

The sum of the organization’s patient count forecast is exactly the same as the total patient count forecast. When I initially made it, it summed to something like 995, but I then adjusted the “Other” part both to make it match and also because I thought it made sense.

My final probability distribution for the number of patients on January 1st 2030 is in the “Forecasted number of patients” box on the Guesstimate model.

In the next centuries

The doubling time is 8 years if we don’t count thawed patients (WolframAlpha), and 9 years if we do count them (WolframAlpha). The latter trend has been followed more precisely since the beginning of cryonics.

A naive extrapolation of the current trend would put the following milestones (patient: year if 8-year doubling time – year if 9-year doubling time) (WolframAlpha):

  • 1: 1967 – 1966
  • 10: 1987 – 1969
  • 100: 2001 – 1998
  • 1k: 2029 – 2030
  • 10k: 2056 – 2061
  • 100k: 2083 – 2091
  • 1M : 2110 – 2122
  • 10M: 2136 – 2152
  • 100M: 2163 – 2183
  • 1B: 2190 – 2213
  • 10B: 2216 – 2243
  • 100B: 2243 – 2274
  • 1T: 2270 – 2304

Following are some reasons I can imagine the future count would deviate from the current trend, although a lot of those could also just be part of the trend — I think the sections ‘extinction’, ‘change in rate of change’, and ‘underlying population’ are the most likely to make the trend deviate, although I would only put medium probability mass on the trend continuing long term in the first place. The list below is not exhaustive.

Extinction

  • [time: next few decades to centuries; probability: medium; severity: high]
    If human went extinct, this could obviously affect the number of cryonics patients; it’s not impossible that we would preserve them indefinitely, until another intelligent species arose on Earth or an alien civilization discovered us, but that’s really hard and a long shot in any case

Probability of working

  • [time: next few decades; probability: low; severity: high]
    An “early” failure from a major cryonics provider could reduce the trust in the whole field, and push back the growth of cryonics for a while

Accessibility

  • [time: next few decades; probability: low; severity: medium]
    The Cryonics Institute could offer a neuro option, which would increase the accessibility, and thus membership
    • although CI has been arguing than this would tarnish the image of cryonics
    • also, remote patients without a cryonics SST team are probably generally poorly preserved, and the relative price difference wouldn’t be as important for those with a SST contract: stabilization and transport cost 30,000 USD, and standby at least 7,500 USD, so even if the cryopreservation went from 28,000 USD to 13,000 USD (similar ratio to Alcor), then the total cost would only go from at least 65,500 USD to at least 50,500 USD. but maybe a significant portion of people would be ready to relocate near CI if a 13k$ neuro option was available. More on this here: Should there be more affordable cryonics options?
  • [time: next few decades; probability: medium; severity: low-medium]
    An SST team could offer services internationally for the Cryonics Institute, hence making cheaper cryonics accessible internationally (currently, only Alcor offers worldwise SST services
  • [time: decades to centuries; probability: low; severity: high]
    A change of law in a country where cryonics is popular could make it harder to perform
  • [time: decades to centuries; probability: low-medium; severity: high]
    The Chinese government could support / approve or block / disapprove of cryonics.

Cultural fit

  • [time: next few decades; probability: low-medium; severity: low-high]
    Cryonics could turn out to be more popular in countries that don’t currently have a cryonics service provider; for example, the exponential growth could be faster in China
  • [time: many decades – centuries; probability: medium?; severity: medium?]
    Update in belief that cryonics isn’t necessary because of an increased belief that an atlernative path to longevity is likely, whether credible or not, such as: increased belief in a religious afterlife, in soon solving aging, in digital reconstruction, etc.

Change in rate of change

Underlying population

  • [time: many decades – centuries; probability: initially low; severity: high]
    The mortality rate could change, which would reduce the fraction of people that could use cryopreservation; also see: number of deaths per year
  • [time: centuries; severity: beside the point]
    The world population (also fertility rate) could change, which would affect how many people can ultimately become cryonics patients

Parting remark

In December 1964, after two years of promoting the concept of cryonics, Evan Cooper fumed in exasperation: “Are we shouting in the abyss? How could 110 million go to their deaths without one, at least trying for a life in the future via freezing? Where is the individualism, scientific curiosity, and even eccentricity we hear so much about?”

As of Jan 2019, I estimated that 2.9 billion have died unpreserved since the first effort to cryopreserve people. I predict many more will suffer the same faith. But I work towards reducing that number.

Cryonics 2019 Annual Update

Details

Timeline of brain preservation

You can see the changes to the timeline of brain preservation since its creation last year here.

New patients

Total known: 31 new patients
Alcor: 11
Cryonics Institute: 9 (based on November 2019’s data)
KrioRus: 5
Yinfeng Group: 4
OregonCryo: 1
Osiris: 1
Neural Archive Foundation: undisclosed (but at least 1)
TransTime, Cecryon: no reply Private: 0 (?)

2019 was the 2nd year with the most new patients in absolute terms. This represents a 7.9% increase. The average yearly change in the last 20 years was +8.4%.

New members sign up for cryonics

Alcor: 51
Yinfeng Group: 29
Cryonics Institute: undiscolsed (23 with Suspended Animation between Dec. 2018 and Nov. 2019)
Southern Cryonics: 8
Neural Archive Foundation: undisclosed
KrioRus, OregonCryo, Osiris, Cecryon: no reply
TransTime: N/A

2019 was the 4th year with the most new members in absolute terms. This represents a 3.6% increase. The average yearly change in the last 20 years was +4.7%.

Notable events

On April 2019, The Brain Preservation Foundation launched the Aspirational Neuroscience Prize with the commitment to give 4 prizes of 25,000 USD every year for the next 10 years for breakthroughs in the neuroscience of memory, brain preservation, and connectomics.

Wikipedia views spikes

Here’s the pageview graph. On 2019-10-10/11, the Wikipedia article received 25,252* more views than usual; 11 times more. From a Google Search, this seems to be caused by the Chicago Med episode S05E03 “In the Valley of the Shadows” on cryonics released on 2019-10-09; see recap. This TV show is watched by ~10M people (source: Chicago Med – Wikipedia), so maybe about 1 person went to the Wikipedia page for every 400 people that watched the show.

I’m not sure what the peak of 2019-08-10/11 of 4,542/3,304 views was about.

The one on 2019-11-28 of 3,087 views might have been from the article Frozen Dead Guy Days Is the Weirdest Winter Festival in the U.S..

* ( 21191 views on 2019-10-10 + 6559  views on 2019-10-101 ) - ( 2 * 1249 average views per day ) 

Did I miss anything?

Please let me know in the comments.

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