Survey: What’s the most negative*plausible cryonics-works story that you know?

Warning: people will be trying to be pessimistic here. Don’t read this if you don’t want to be reminded of scary outcomes.

Request: if you get an idea that you think might be too scary to post publicly even under the above warning, but you are willing to send it to me in a private message to aid in my personal decision-making, then please do :)


I like cryonics. According to my parents and grandmother, I started talking about building an AI to help with medical research to revive frozen dead people when I was about 10 years old, and my memory agrees. I began experimenting with freeing and unfreezing insects, and figured based on some positive results that it was physically possible to preserve life in a frozen state. Cool!

But now that I’m in middle of convincing some folks I know to sign up for cryonics, I want to do due-diligence on some of the vague, hard-to-verbalize aversions they have to doing it. This way, I can help them plan contingencies for /​ hedges against those aversions if possible, thereby making cryonics more viable for them, and maybe avoid accidentally persuading people do cryonics when it really isn’t right for them (yes, I think that can actually happen).

There’s already been a post on far negative outcomes, and another one on why cryonics maybe isn’t worth it. But what I really want to do here is conduct an interactive survey to compute which disutilities should be taken most seriously when talking to a new person about cryonics, to avoid accidentally persuading them into making a wrong-for-them decision.

And for that, what I really want to ask is:

What’s the most negative*plausible cryonics-works story that you know of?


(1) A well-meaning but slightly-too-obsessed cryonics scientist wakes up some semblance of me in a semi-conscious virtual delirium for something like 1000 very unpleasant subjective years of tinkering to try recovering me. She eventually quits, and I never wake up again.

(2) A rich sadist finds it somehow legally or logistically easier to lay hands on the brains/​minds of cryonics patients than of living people, and runs some virtual torture scenarios on me where I’m not allowed to die for thousands of subjective years or more.

I think on reflection I’d consider (1) to be around 10x and maybe 100x more likely than (2)*, but depending on your preferences, you might find (2) to be more than 100x worse than (1), enough to make it account for the biggest chunk of disutility that can be attributed to any particular simple story or story-feature where cryonics works.

[* I would have said (1) was definitely more than 100x more likely before so many of my female friends have, over the years, mentioned that they were subject to some pretty scary sexual violence at some point in their dating lives.]

(Note: There’s a separate question of whether the outcome is positive enough to be worth the money, which I’d rather discuss in a different thread.)

How to participate:

  • Top-level comments = stories. Post your most negative*plausible story or story-feature as a top-level comment.

  • A top-level upvote shall mean “essentially in my top-three”. Upvote stories that you’d consider essentially the same as one of your top-two stories, ranked by negativity*probability. This means you can vote more than three times if your top stories get represented in variety of ways, so don’t be shy.

  • Lower-level comments = discussion! Let’s disagree about the relative probabilities and negativities of things and maybe change some of our minds!

Thanks for playing :)

PS I hope folks use these ideas to come up with ways to decrease the likelihood that cryonics leads to negative outcomes, and not to cause or experience premature fears that derail productive conversations. So, please don’t share/​post this in ways where you think it might have the latter effect, but rather, use it as a part of a sane and thorough evaluation of all the pros and cons that one should reasonably consider in deciding whether cryonics working is on-net a positive outcome.

ETA—What not to post:

Some non-examples of what this survey should contain...

  • Examples where you don’t get revived in any way. These scenarios factor into the “will cryonics work for me” question, a question of probability that does not depend on your values, which I’d prefer to discuss is a separate thread because probabilities are easier to converge on without distracting ourselves with values questions.