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

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Mon Jun 10 19:19:47 UTC 2013

On 2013-06-10 15:54, Florent Berthet wrote:
> Guys, I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm asking for answers because I want 
> to know how it's the best way to spend money, on an utilitarian point 
> of view. If our main goal is to mitigate x-risks (as explained in 
> Bostrom's astronomical waste argument), it would seem to me that any 
> amount of money would be better spent directly on research rather than 
> on cryopreservation. The articles says that it costs between £16,500 
> and £125,000 to be cryopreserved. That could pay a researcher full 
> time. If I had that much money, wouldn't you prefer me to give it to 
> the FHI rather than on my own cryopreservation?

Well, we do not have that money either *as a lump sum*, so we pay using 
life insurances. Which is about 15 quid per month for me, about one 
dinner's worth. In fact, stocks and flows are very different things: the 
cost of a cryopreservation is actually not enough to pay for a postdoc 
for very long.

> Sure I can do whatever I want with my money, but that doesn't mean any 
> decision is equally good.

Yup. I think your question might have sounded shrill, but it is a good 
one. We have Peter Singer dropping by the neighbourhood from time to 
time, and we share office with the effective altruists, so these issues 
are on our minds.

My answer is something like this: I am a friendly, selfish guy who 
doesn't follow a consistent ethical system (I just work in the 
department!) I like to maximize my enjoyment long-term, and that means 
that I want to extend and enhance myself, avoid dying, and avoid xrisk. 
I also somewhat agree with the Parfitian view about the fragility of the 
self, so I also try to ensure that a lot of the other minds in the world 
get the same benefit - but I give some preference to minds like my own. 
The end result of these considerations is that I

(1) spend a fairly modest amount of money for "care of the self" - nice 
food, beetles, cryonics.

(2) Another fraction of my income is used for travel and other 
activities linked to transhumanism, xrisk and academic pursuits - 
ensuring that the right memes and research get done. Basically I am 
using my salary to do more work.

(3) I am uncertain about where charity does the best good: while we have 
reasonable arguments for maximizing QUALYs, it is not clear how to 
compare that with (say) reducing xrisk or promoting enhancement. Hence I 
think it is rational to actually save and invest money for the future 
where I will have a better idea. Since I think we should not regard 
temporal separation as different for spatial separation morally 
speaking, helping in the future is almost as good as helping in the 
present (minus issues of uncertainty and that some things affect the 
amount of future - again xrisk and GCRs rear their ugly heads and likely 
get extra priority this way, if we knew effective ways of reducing them 
by paying).

That is roughly my approach.

One thing I like to point out to cryonics sceptics is that I have a 
strong motivation to be the kind of person the future would want to have 
around. And I am motivated to help ensure that the future does happen 
and is reasonably nice.

(I have been interviewed about cryonics 7 times today by different BBC 
channels, personal best!)

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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