I Will Pay $500 To Anyone Who Can Convince Me To Cancel My Cryonics Subscription


On the most re­cent LessWrong read­er­ship sur­vey, I as­signed a prob­a­bil­ity of 0.30 on the cry­on­ics ques­tion. I had pre­vi­ously been per­suaded to sign up for cry­on­ics by read­ing the se­quences, but this thread and par­tic­u­larly this com­ment low­ered my es­ti­mate of the chances of cry­on­ics work­ing con­sid­er­ably. Also rele­vant from the same thread was ci­pher­goth’s com­ment:

By and large cry­on­ics crit­ics don’t make clear ex­actly what part of the cry­on­ics ar­gu­ment they mean to tar­get, so it’s hard to say ex­actly whether it cov­ers an area of their ex­per­tise, but it’s at least plau­si­ble to read them as as­sert­ing that cry­op­re­served peo­ple are in­for­ma­tion-the­o­ret­i­cally dead, which is not guess­work about fu­ture tech­nol­ogy and would fall un­der their area of ex­per­tise.

Based on this, I think there’s a sub­stan­tial chance that there’s in­for­ma­tion out there that would con­vince me that the folks who dis­miss cry­on­ics as pseu­do­science are es­sen­tially cor­rect, that the right an­swer to the sur­vey ques­tion was ep­silon. I’ve seen what seem like con­vinc­ing ob­jec­tions to cry­on­ics, and it seems pos­si­ble that an ex­panded ver­sion of those ar­gu­ments, with full refer­ences and replies to pro-cry­on­ics ar­gu­ments, would con­vince me. Or some­one could just go to the trou­ble of show­ing that a large ma­jor­ity of cry­obiol­o­gists re­ally do think cry­op­re­served peo­ple are in­for­ma­tion-the­o­ret­i­cally dead.

How­ever, it’s not clear to me how well worth my time it is to seek out such in­for­ma­tion. It seems com­ing up with de­ci­sive in­for­ma­tion would be hard, es­pe­cially since e.g. ci­pher­goth has put a lot of en­ergy into try­ing to figure out what the ex­perts think about cry­on­ics and come away with­out a clear an­swer. And part of the rea­son I signed up for cry­on­ics in the first place is be­cause it doesn’t cost me much: the largest com­po­nent is the life in­surance for fund­ing, only $50 /​ month.

So I’ve de­cided to put a bounty on be­ing per­suaded to can­cel my cry­on­ics sub­scrip­tion. If no one suc­ceeds in con­vinc­ing me, it costs me noth­ing, and if some­one does suc­ceed in con­vinc­ing me the cost is less than the cost of be­ing signed up for cry­on­ics for a year. And yes, I’m aware that pro­vid­ing one-sided fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives like this re­quires me to take the fact that I’ve done this into ac­count when eval­u­at­ing anti-cry­on­ics ar­gu­ments, and ap­ply ex­tra scrutiny to them.

Note that there are sev­eral is­sues that ul­ti­mately go in to whether you should sign up for cry­on­ics (the neu­ro­science /​ eval­u­a­tion of cur­rent tech­nol­ogy, es­ti­mate of the prob­a­bil­ity of a “good” fu­ture, var­i­ous philo­soph­i­cal is­sues), I an­ti­ci­pate the great­est chance of be­ing per­suaded from sci­en­tific ar­gu­ments. In par­tic­u­lar, I find ques­tions about per­sonal iden­tity and con­scious­ness of up­loads made from pre­served brains con­fus­ing, but think there are very few peo­ple in the world, if any, who are likely to have much chance of get­ting me un-con­fused about those is­sues. The offer is blind to the ex­act na­ture of the ar­gu­ments given, but I mostly fore­see be­ing per­suaded by the neu­ro­science ar­gu­ments.

And of course, I’m happy to listen to peo­ple tell me why the anti-cry­on­ics ar­gu­ments are wrong and I should stay signed up for cry­on­ics. There’s just no prize for do­ing so.