Membership Payments

What does it take, as a minimum, to get into deep freeze and maintain it indefinitely?

What does it really cost? . . . . . ALL IN!!

We love the thought of cryonics being a net that catches everyone that died before their time then raising them to paradise, like the Bible's pre-Christ purgatory. But that's not how the current world works. And unless we make headway on creating a friendly singularity, that's not how it'll ever, work.

Alcor doesn't set aside funds for thawing. Even if Alcor wanted to, they wouldn't be able to bring you back until things were post scarcity.

• $200,000.00 Whole Body Cryopreservation ($110,000 to the Patient Care Trust, $70,000 for cryopreservation, $20,000.00 to the CMS Fund).

• $ 80,000.00 Neurocryopreservation ($25,000 to the Patient Care Trust, $40,000 for cryopreservation, $15,000.00 to the CMS Fund).

(There are much lower quotes . . . too good to be true?)

The money you pay Alcor goes to 1) Paying to prepare/transport you when you die, 2) Freezing you and 3) Keeping you frozen. That's it.

They're basically banking on a post-scarcity society to handle paying for your resurrection. The saved $25,000 is definitely not enough to pay for the medical procedure and a nice new vat-form body unless we're seriously on the way to being post-scarcity anyways.

Go to http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/CostOfCryonics.html and search for the header "Determining Safety Reserves for Long-Term Care". Specifically:

"Clearly some additional money held in trust is needed to provide for contingent costs such as moving the patients, moving Patient Care Fund (PCF) money overseas in the event of inflation, and covering the costs of revival."

Over the past 80 years, the average annual return on Treasury bills (a proxy for savings accounts) has been 3.7 percent per year. Inflation, meanwhile, has averaged 3.1 percent per year. This combination has produced a "real return" of a paltry 0.6 percent per year. If you got to keep that 0.6 percent, you might still have an incentive to save: A $616 real gain on $10,000 in 10 years wouldn't be much, but it would at least be $616 more than you have now.

To put it another way, the $25,000 Alcor has in interest will end up as $25,925. Inflation will bring this down to $25,146. This means that Alcor can afford to spend about $150 dollars each year keeping you frozen before it starts cannibalizing the saved money. That strikes me as rather low, but according to Alcor, they've budgeted to keep you frozen indefinitely.

Realistically, we would expect zero money left over as interest.

Charities strike us as unlikely. We already have trouble saving African children for $500 a life; we doubt donors would give hundreds of thousands of dollars per life to thaw out people who lived full lives already. Even if you really want to get cryonics, you might still donate to a more efficient charity.

The people saved by Cryonics can't easily donate to it. People thawed out can.

The only way you'd get thawed is if thawing costs + doctor costs + the cost for a new body + physical therapy costs ended up at roughly what you have saved now in real purchasing power. That means roughly, 7,000 Big Macs, the average price of a new car, or about half a year's work. And, if we're at the point where the average family can afford multiple back-up bodies (like we have multiple cars today), we're probably damn near to a post-scarcity society anyways. I mean, we're talking about a future where it's cheaper to upload your consciousness to the office and inhabit a temporary shell while you work than it is to drive (though at that point one would doubt labor looks anything like what we're used to).

If that doesn't qualify as post-friendly-singularity then we don't know what does.

Expecting post-friendly-singularity as a proxy for savings accounts?

Savings accounts aren't exactly known for having a high return on investment. Accept a little risk, and spread out the investment so it won't all get lost. Also, keep enough extra to survive recessions.

What matters is what Alcor, etc are all actually doing. Alcor has this on their website on the distribution of their investment fund:

Cash and Equivalents 10.86%

Stocks / ETFs 34.62%

Government Securities 1.11%

Certificates of Deposit 53.41%

This doesn't look very risky, which is good in that they're unlikely to lose it but bad in that they're unlikely to do much above inflation in the long term.

Did they not mention how much interest they've been getting?

Yes: "The Investment Account had a total annual return of 17.01% for 2009 and 6.18% for 2010"; which is well above inflation. Though we think the market as a whole also might have done well over that period?

They understand that the money is supposed to eventually pay for you revival. But, as is shown, with high portfolio standard deviation over the short term, they're likely being stupid with it so it won't be there long term But, if they are being conservative, as trusts and foundations tend to, then there is a good chance they won't make much, if any money, in the long term.

At some point, in a post-scarcity singularity world, the cost of thawing and complete revival gets low enough compared to keeping one frozen

But, keeping people frozen is cheap: you just need to top up the liquid nitrogen once in a while to compensate for evaporation; and I guess that as they make better and better dewars and better and better technology for liquefying nitrogen, the storage prices per year will fall even more.

Exponential economic growth can't continue forever, which would suggest that the interest rate will fall arbitrarily low, so the cost of keeping someone frozen forever will increase. A Paul Samuelson / Dynamics, Statics and the Stationary State type of outcome or a Samuelson / Solow natural Growth trajectory imputed upon the future may portend indefinitely long and stationary low rates of economic growth as the natural state and thus miniscule investment returns.

Come to think of it, there might be a point where it's cheaper to wake you and then put you in debt for a while.

I think current thinking about revival of patients significantly underestimated the time until it would be worthwhile.

If an American signs up for cryonics and pays their ~$300/year, what are their odds of being revived? "Sufficiently small" about covers it. If you have a better ~$300/year bet to gain the whole future, this question would be worth answering.

Further evidence of general skepticism is the tiny sums that people are willing to pay. How much would you pay for eternal life; more or less than $8,219 (which is the present value of an annual payment of $300 in perpetuity)? Probabilities and expected value calculations aside, "the payoff is really high” and moreover "the payoff is of a different class to anything else that's within a modest salary's reach".
Does it sound too cheap to be genuine or too expensive to waste your money on?

Is it really happiness of a different class?

We’re not aware of any evidence that happiness has grown to a "different class to anything else" in the history of human civilization. It's easy to imagine being miserable back in 50 AD now that you've experienced the future, but that doesn't mean everyone back then was miserable just because they lacked World of Warcraft?

Even if you just value years lived, we're only talking two or three orders of magnitude here. "Cryonics will revive you" is an easier claim than "Cryonics will revive you and keep you alive for another thousand years". Most people seem to value "average quality of life" a lot more than the actual length.

Arguing that cryonics isn't worth it because humans can't really feel improvements in quality of life is committing fallacious reasoning.

Cryonics, by itself, is not in a different class; it's just waking up from a coma after years of being clinically dead.

The only real problems are (a) information theoretic death occurs for one reason or another or (b) the necessary technology to restore you to full health is never developed and applied.

Causing information theoretic death is actually a lot harder than people think. Scrambling information is not destroying information, as cryptanalysis tells us, and the laws of physics are reversible. This whole issue is discussed in Cryonics, Cryptography, and Maximum Likelihood Estimation.

The ability to arrange the atoms from which you are made as might be required to restore you're cryopreserved self to a fully functional and healthy state should be developed in the next several decades. Betting your life that Molecular NanoTechnology (MNT) will not be developed seems singularly foolish given the available evidence.

In today's modern cryopreservations, carried out under reasonable conditions, the patient's brain is vitrified, making it hard to argue that information theoretic death occurs during cryopreservation. Likewise, it is hard to argue that information theoretic death could occur during storage at the temperature of liquid nitrogen.

This leaves us ONLY arguing over whether cryonics will work when the cryopreservation is carried out under unreasonable (poor) conditions, if Cryonics organizations like Alcor itself will survive, or if the future will suffer from some dystopian disaster so awful that it makes all our efforts moot.

Which leads to the conclusion that cryonics actually has a high probability of success and maybe a bargain in the whole scheme of things (life choices).

Membership Payments will depend on resurrection assumptions and future states of world economic and societal structure; post-scarcity and singularity being the low cost baselines.

See these links:

Our Foundation / Membership Information / Donations

Financial Preparation / Enrollment Instructions