[ExI] [ZS] [cryo] Nick Bostrom, Anders Sandberg, Stuart Armstrong to be frozen after death

Florent Berthet florent.berthet at gmail.com
Mon Jun 10 10:12:52 UTC 2013

What is their rationale behind spending all that money on themselves versus
using it to save dozens of lives via an effective charity (or potentially
saving billions of lives through x-risk research)?

2013/6/10 Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org>

> http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2338434/Three-senior-Oxford-University-academics-pay-deep-frozen-die-day-brought-life.html
> Three senior Oxford University academics will pay to be deep frozen when
> they
> die so they could one day be 'brought back to life'
> Nick Bostrom, Anders Sandberg, Stuart Armstrong to be frozen after death
> Two will just have heads frozen and one will have whole body preserved
> The after-death procedure costs anything up to £50,000 By TOM LEONARD
> PUBLISHED: 16:28 GMT, 9 June 2013 | UPDATED: 06:47 GMT, 10 June 2013
> Stuart Armstrong, with his wife Miriam, and Anders Sandberg have signed up
> to
> be frozen after their death
> They were a shattered world’s last hope — three great minds from the past
> who
> might be able to avert a catastrophe that threatened to extinguish mankind.
> In a medical storage facility in the Arizona desert, digital screens that
> had
> been dark for centuries suddenly flickered into life as the remains of
> three
> beings stirred into life after aeons of slumber.
> It’s difficult to say whether this sort of Hollywood sci-fi scenario ever
> occurred to three Oxford University dons when they signed up to be frozen
> after death.
> But what they cannot deny is that along with thousands of others they are
> putting their faith in a future — known as cryonics — that is more science
> fiction than science fact.
> It was revealed yesterday that the trio — Nick Bostrom, professor of
> philosophy at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, and his fellow lead
> researchers, Anders Sandberg and Stuart Armstrong — have agreed to pay a
> U.S.
> company anything up to £50,000 to have their remains frozen at death. The
> hope is a future society will have the technology to restore them to life.
> Armstrong has arranged for his entire body to be frozen by the
> Michigan-based
> Cryonics Institute. His wife is expecting their first baby and he is so
> enthused by the idea that he wants to sign the child up, too.
> His two colleagues have opted for the less glamorous but cheaper and
> supposedly more reliable option of having just their heads frozen when they
> are declared dead, by the Alcor Life Extension Foundation outside Phoenix,
> Arizona. Their heads will be perfused with a cocktail of antifreeze
> chemicals
> and preserved in liquid nitrogen at -196c.
> Professor of philosophy Nick Bostrom (right), and fellow researcher Anders
> Sandberg (left) have signed up to pay an American company up to £50,000 to
> have their heads stored in liquid nitrogen after death
> Previous acolytes of cryonics have often been dismissed as
> head-in-the-clouds
> cranks, sci-fi buffs who have watched too much TV or victims of vanity.
> Britney Spears and Paris Hilton have both waxed lyrical about being frozen.
> Simon Cowell is believed to be among several dozen Britons who have joined
> a
> cryonics programme, although several hundred have reportedly shown
> interest.
> But most of them are ordinary people — usually retirees who are thinking
> about defeating death. The science may be sketchy but the principle is
> simple: nothing ventured, nothing gained.
> But Prof Bostrom and his colleagues are young, highly educated specialists
> who have devoted their careers to humanity. If they are signing up for
> cryonics, one might think, perhaps we should all pay attention.
> Stuart Armstrong, a colleague at the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI),
> part
> of the prestigious Oxford Martin School, has opted to have his whole body
> frozen
> And while scientists generally dismiss cryonics for human beings, saying it
> is far beyond our capabilities, it is interesting that Prof Bostrom has a
> science background that includes physics and neuroscience.
> The 40-year-old Swede is on Foreign Policy magazine’s list of 100 Global
> Thinkers.
> His institute is part of the Oxford Martin School, where 300 academics
> tackle
> issues such as population growth, inequality and climate change. It’s
> encouraging that, in the midst of so much doom-mongering about the future,
> he
> is keen to come back again.
> ‘Look back at what has happened over the past 100 years, and how many
> features of today’s world somebody from 1913 would have failed to
> anticipate,’ he told a newspaper. ‘The more uncertain you are about the
> future, the more it makes sense to keep your options alive — for example,
> by
> trying to preserve as much as possible of the information content in your
> brain, rather than throwing it away.’
> On his internet home page, Sandberg, 41, also Swedish, describes himself as
> ‘questing’ and ‘always very happy’.
> He says it will be ‘very exciting’ to wake up in a new world. Admittedly,
> his
> life would be limited as a disembodied head but, in the future, he predicts
> people will be able to make ‘real connections’ to computers. He hopes his
> memories and personality could be downloaded.
> He and Bostrom may not even have to put up with living with just their
> heads:
> some cryonics devotees insist future science will be able to clone human
> bodies so the defrosted, severed head can be attached to a new body.
> Their colleague, Stuart Armstrong, says it costs him £25 a month in
> premiums
> to cover the cost of having his body cryopreserved — far cheaper, he says,
> than the popular alternative of prolonging life, which is to join a gym.
> Like his colleagues, he seems one of life’s optimists: ‘If you picture the
> world in, say, 200 years, when reanimation is possible, it will probably
> be a
> wonderful place.’
> By the time they are rushed down to the liquid nitrogen tanks of Alcor, the
> Oxford academics will be in illustrious company. Alcor has 117 patients
> already in cryopreservation and 985 members waiting to join them.
> Those already lying in state include Ted Williams, one of the greatest
> stars
> of baseball, who died in 2002. And Dick Clair, a U.S. TV sitcom writer, has
> been there since 1988 following his death from AIDS.
> Prof Bostrom and Dr Sandberg have agreed to be frozen with the help of
> Alcor,
> which is based near Phoenix, in Arizona
> Williams became the focus of a family row over how he wanted his body
> disposed of which focused on the authenticity of a note in which he
> supposedly chose cryonics. It was later claimed that a technician at Alcor
> took baseball-style swings at Williams’ severed head with a monkey wrench.
> As for those still alive but already committed to Alcor, the list includes
> film director Charles Matthau and British thinkers Aubrey de Grey and Max
> More. Recognisable by a silver bracelet they usually wear to specify their
> wishes to be frozen when they die, believers in Britain even have a support
> group: Cryonics UK. Alan Sinclair, 75, a retired electronics expert from
> West
> Sussex, has been a leading light in British cryonics since the
> mid-Eighties.
> A few weeks ago his wife, Sylvia, became the first Briton to be properly
> cryonically preserved. She died of lung cancer after an illness of just
> three
> weeks, and was rushed to the Cryonics Institute in America.
> With the possibility on his mind of a reunion with his beloved wife of 40
> years, he tells me scientific progress has led British interest in cryonics
> to ‘mushroom’ in the past five years.
> But he says: ‘There wouldn’t be any point bringing back a 90-year-old.’
> Who wouldn’t be interested in having a good few years added to their
> lives, I
> observe. Isn’t the difference that most people want them now when their
> loved
> ones are still with them?
> Dr. Jerry Lemler, president and CEO of Alcor Life Extension Foundation,
> stands in the Patient Care Bay area where the heads and bodies of 49
> individuals are being held in cold storage suspension
> ‘I don’t see that as a problem,’ says Sinclair. ‘What happens when you
> leave
> school and move to Australia. We move to completely alien environments all
> the time.’
> But will a future world want to bring back people who have opted to be
> frozen?
> When Simon Cowell dropped his cryonics plan bombshell at a Downing Street
> party, his host, Gordon Brown, reportedly pointed out he wasn’t sure if his
> reanimation would be so popular.
> Prof Bostrom is already a regular on TV and in the media. A future society
> would doubtless be intrigued to know what an academic of his standing has
> to
> say about its world. But what about an ex-housewife or former electrical
> technician?
> ‘That’s the biggest problem,’ says Sinclair. ‘Why would anyone bring me
> back?’ Cryonics patients won’t have much novelty value when there are
> millions of them.
> Indeed, the cryonics companies don’t really guarantee much. Success depends
> on the body first getting to them in the U.S. as quickly as possible.
> And although their freezing fee — which varies between £16,500 and
> £125,000 —
> is supposed to cover an indefinite period, who is to know the company will
> stay in business?
> It is a ‘leap of faith, but a leap of faith in science’, Sinclair insists.
> ‘Unless we want to go into oblivion, this is the only scientific means I
> know
> of to avoid it.’
> For people like him and his fellow death-defiers at Oxford, there can be no
> possible concession to the idea that oblivion may be something to be
> embraced.
> Read more:
> http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2338434/Three-senior-Oxford-University-academics-pay-deep-frozen-die-day-brought-life.html#ixzz2Vnwy6psL
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