IsaacKing avatar
closes Jan 1, 2200
Is cryonic reanimation possible?
85%
chance

If any human who has been cryonically-preserved prior to market creation is successfully revived, this resolves to YES. (This means that the revived person must behave nearly identically to the person they were before the preservation, with the same memories, personality, etc. Minor changes such as having forgotten the short-term memories created right before their death are fine. What matters is whether people who knew them before their death would reasonably say "yup, that's Bob". Philosophical arguments that they're not the "same person" due to the cessation of brain activity or being made out of different molecules are irrelevant.)

If the state of science and technology advances to the point where we can state without any doubt whatsoever that there is not enough information left in those preserved brains to revive someone who could reasonably be called the same person, or that the information does exist but fundamental laws of physics prevent us from accessing it or using it to recreate the person, this market resolves to NO.

If all preserved brains that exist as of market creation in the top 10% of preservation quality are destroyed, this resolves N/A. (Preseveration quality determined by factors like how long they spent at room tempurature before being frozen, how damaged the brain was by physical trauma, the state of vitrification technology used on them, etc.)

For the question of whether the preserved brains will last that long, see here:

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GG avatar

(This means that the revived person must behave nearly identically to the person they were before the preservation, with the same memories, personality, etc.)

This would definition would seem to preclude people who develop mental illnesses over the course of a few years. It's not uncommon for dementia patients to lose recall over almost all of their memories, sometimes forgetting their own name. Personality changes are also common, with some patients becoming violent and hypersexual while others lose their initiative to get out of bed.

If a cryopreserved patient was revived, but presented with the symptoms of stage 5+ dementia, I'd guess that most people would consider this a "reanimation failure". In this sense there is a bias against cryopreservation, verses the regular "preservation" technique of just not dying until you're 80.

Zardoru avatar
Zardoru
bought Ṁ10 of NO

The burden of the proof should to be on the impossibility side. I put 10M on NO, expecting a quasi certainty of N/A in 2200.

Yev avatar
Yev ✔️
bought Ṁ15 of YES

I think you are more likely to be around to resolve this market if the answer is YES.

IsaacKing avatar

@Yev It should still resolve even if I'm not around. Manifold admins or someone else.

IsaacKing avatar

If all preserved brains are destroyed, this resolves N/A.

I just realized a problem with this criterion; if all brains except the worst-preserved one are destroyed, and that one proves impossible to revive, this would resolve to NO, which isn't really fair since some of the other brains may have still been viable before destruction.

The best solution I can think of is to make it a little more subjective and say something like "if all brains in the top 10% of preservation quality are destroyed, this resolves N/A". Does that seem reasonable to everyone?

DanielKilian avatar
Daniel Kilian
is predicting NO at 30%

@IsaacKing At some point, we would have to resolve what is considered a quality preservation. But I like it!

IsaacKing avatar

@DanielKilian I'd probably defer to the cryonics organizations at the time.

MartinRandall avatar

@IsaacKing If all preserved brains are destroyed I'd personally regard that as cryonics not working. Similarly, if I lose the keys to my crypto then my crypto investments didn't work.

IsaacKing avatar

@MartinRandall The logistical challenges of keeping brains preserved for that long are not the interesting question. It's the technological and philosophical problems that cause people to not sign up, and the lack of money and will to keep cryonics organizations running for long periods of time is downstream of those issues.

MartinRandall avatar

@IsaacKing You are probably right about what causes other people not to sign up, and I expect my reasons to not be widely shared. Still, I'm curious if you have any citations. I did a very brief internet search and found this: https://www.jetpress.org/volume3/badger.htm

This includes:
> Q24. Cryonics doesn't interest me because I just don't think it will work. (3.11 = Not Sure)

But this doesn't specify whether the respondent thinks it won't work because of technological, philosophical, or logistical reasons. It's also not the most agreed with negative reason.


Regardless, the technical question of cryo-preservation is an interesting one to ask about, whatever my semantic quibbles with the market title.

IsaacKing avatar

@MartinRandall I don't have a citation, and I've certainly seen many people say that their personal concern is the company going bankrupt. But that's a collective action problem that would easily be solved if people weren't afraid of the other issues; if there were public support for the concept, the government could just regulate adequate support for cryonics as a matter of public health.

I've edited the title, is that better?

MartinRandall avatar
Martin Randall
bought Ṁ10 of YES

@IsaacKing Good title.

There are definitely plenty of logistical challenges in public health, so I don't think public support is sufficient. Politicians are incented to make things look good, but also to accept thinly disguised bribes.

AndrewHartman avatar
Andrew Hartman
bought Ṁ10 of NO

In the sense that it serves as a sort of secular religion for the tech-optimist, and in the best traditions of such religions, fleeces them for worldly wealth in exchange for warm and improbable assurances about the afterlife - yes, it works fairly well.

Given that I regard star trek teleporters as suicide booths, I'm not persuaded the current vogue in cryonics (reconstruction of brain information to assemble a new copy, whether organic or digital) works even in theory, much less the tremendous practical challenges. The old school cryonics argument (essentially, hibernate you in a death-like state until technology exists to revive you) has a better philosophical grounding, at least, but so far none of those companies have managed to stay solvent for even a paltry few decades, much less the time scales required to actually thaw their charges as anything more than expensive and disappointing popsicles.

I will happily put any amount of money on the premise that nobody frozen before this date will be revived in any meaningful sense. I don't think the option 2 cryonics is definitionally impossible, but I do think that probably nobody is going to invest much effort in figuring out how to rescue those folks. Probably a more sensible cryonics approach would include not only a well-defended trust to keep them 'safely' frozen, but also to devote resources to researching how to revive them. But that would be a monumentally expensive undertaking, and it's much easier to sell somebody a service to preserve their frozen head for a few grand than actually make a real effort to solve the problem.

DanielKilian avatar
Daniel Kilian
bought Ṁ30 of NO

@AndrewHartman I think that, over time, people would want to re-animate cryogenic frozen individuals as a charitable means. Like a way of saying, "thank you for believing in a better future."

AndrewHartman avatar
Andrew Hartman
is predicting NO at 28%

@DanielKilian Okay, but consider how charity works. You must either be a sympathetic recipient useful for tax breaks and good PR, or if you're lucky EA will look at you and find you cost effective. Nobody is going to be sympathetic to old frozen rich dudes from a time before the future's current ethical norms existed (norms they have doubtless transgressed against), and it is virtually certain that reviving them will not be cost-competitive with dispensing goats and malaria medicine to the third world. Unless they made their own arrangements pre-freezing for a trust to research how to get them out, I am fairly certain they're not going to be on the future's radar.

DanielKilian avatar
Daniel Kilian
is predicting NO at 30%

@AndrewHartman You say 'nobody is going to be sympathetic', but I would be. And we have a lot of time until this market closes. To give you some background, I believe we will have a cure for aging relatively soon.

IsaacKing avatar

@AndrewHartman For the purposes of this market, the revived person must behave nearly identically to the person they were before the preservation, with the same memories, personality, etc.

I would love to have a market on whether that is actually "the same person", but such a claim seems to me to be about our definition of the word "person" rather than about anything in the physical world, and as such there'd be no way for me to ever resove it.

DanielKilian avatar

Thank you for making this market!!