AndyMcKenzie

Posts

Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions

Comments

Why are some EAs into cryonics?

I'm surprised that you find that persuasive. 

It suggests that humans are fungible: if some people die, it's no matter, because more can simply be created. This strongly goes against my intuition. 

I also think that human fungibility is flawed from a hedonistic quality of life perspective. Much, perhaps most, of human angst is due to involuntary death. There has been a lot of philosophic work on this. One famous book is Ernest Becker's: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Denial_of_Death/. 

Involuntary death is one of the great harms of life. Decreasing the probability and inevitability of involuntary death seems to have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of human lives. 

It is also not clear that future civilizations will want to create as many people as they can. It is quite plausible that the future civilizations will be reticent to do this. For one, those people have not consented to be born and the quality of their lives ay still be unpredictable. Whereas people who have opted for cryonics/biostasis are consenting to live longer lives. 

Is there a hedonistic utilitarian case for Cryonics? (Discuss)

That's actually not what I am saying; rather, I am questioning your claim that human life is exchangeable. Because most people intensely dislike the prospect of death and it makes life a lot more difficult in many ways, it seems much better (to me) to have one person live for 100 years than to have two people live for 50, given the same healthspan.

Separately, I expect that any increased expected chance of an increased lifespan, including cryonics, would increase the average person's propensity to make long-term investments in themselves and in their communities.

Is there a hedonistic utilitarian case for Cryonics? (Discuss)

Important link that hasn't been mentioned yet: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2010/07/cryonics-as-charity.html

The argument is that social reasons are a contributor to people not signing up for or being interested in brain preservation/cryonics, and that doing so yourself helps decrease that.

Is there a hedonistic utilitarian case for Cryonics? (Discuss)

Really agree with this style of reasoning.

It's worth pointing out your case is weakened by the cases of Kim Suozzi and Aaron Drake, both of whom had their suspensions paid for by the community within the last few years.

It's also worth pointing out that there has been at least one attempt to give away an Alcor membership to a random person (chosen by lottery). The person who won it ended up not going through with the sign-up process. This was discussed on Mike Darwin's blog (I can't easily find the link right now, but lmk if you're curious).

Also, some in the cryonics/brain preservation community have donated to research and logistical investments that would certainly not benefit themselves only.

ETA: Another point here is that because of the tricky informed consent and possible negative outcomes following brain preservation, it's much more difficult to choose for other people to be preserved rather than choosing to preserve oneself.

Is there a hedonistic utilitarian case for Cryonics? (Discuss)

It seems to me (as a utilitarian) that allowing people to effectively die and then be brought back to life later is approximately morally equivalent to allowing people to die and then creating entirely new people later.

Could you please flesh out your reasoning for this a little bit more?

It seems to me that there is a large difference between your two scenarios, with much larger utility going to extending existing people's life rather than creating new ones.

This is because an extremely large cause of disutility for current people is the fact that they will inevitably die. This prevents them from making long-term investments in their own happiness, their local communities, and the world at large. Evidence for this abounds, and includes strong rationalizing behavior towards death. Atul Gawande also discusses it in his book Being Mortal.