[SEQ RERUN] You Only Live Twice

post by MinibearRex · 2013-01-02T06:00:00.504Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 4 comments

Today's post, You Only Live Twice was originally published on 12 December 2008. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):


Yudkowsky's addition to Hanson's endorsement of cryonics.

Discuss the post here (rather than in the comments to the original post).

This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was We Agree: Get Froze, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to have meta discussions about the Rerunning the Sequences series.


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comment by MinibearRex · 2013-01-02T06:03:06.832Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

And with this post, we have reached the last post in the 2008 Hanson-Yudkowsky AI Foom Debate. Starting tomorrow, we return to the regularly scheduled sequence reruns, and start moving into the Fun Theory Sequence.

comment by advancedatheist · 2013-01-02T16:10:27.369Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Lately I've come to see the plausibility of a way of interpreting the financial structure behind Alcor: A handful of very wealthy cryonicists who intend to set up asset preservation schemes, call them reanimation trusts (RT's), allegedly depend on a financially vulnerable Alcor which keeps churning through nonwealthy members who have to drop out after a few years for financial reasons, especially if their life insurance death benefits leave them underfunded.

Now, on the face of it, this doesn't make much sense, unless behind the scenes a Gentlemen's Agreement exists where the wealthy cryonicists have pledged to keep Alcor going for themselves, or they have plans to create a separate, invitation-only "champagne and caviar" cryosuspension organization for themselves, in case Alcor fails financially. By implication that means they consider the schlub cryonauts expendable. They cynically offer membership to us any way to fund Alcor so that they don't have to dip into their own pockets except in dire emergencies.

Their example also implies what they consider "real cryonics": Whole-body suspensions paid with cash (none of this neuro stuff), with RT's in their name holding millions of dollars separately from Alcor as financial backup.

By contrast, Alcor offers the rest of us "phony cryonics." The real powers have no incentive to make provisions for the cryonauts who deanimated without RT's and without trustees to look out for their interests, even if they welcome the influx of new members from sources like Eliezer's recruiting efforts and a few of them get cryosuspended. Under duress, they or their trustees will let these cryonauts rot while the RT-supported cryonauts get rescued.

Now, I would like to hear a more benign interpretation of this situation. I have had trouble finding one.

comment by gwern · 2013-01-02T20:40:41.175Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Uh... do you have any evidence for any of that? None of that seems plausible to me after having read a number of their filings and financial materials.

A handful of very wealthy cryonicists who intend to set up asset preservation schemes, call them reanimation trusts (RT's)

Under the dead-hand doctrine, this would be difficult.

comment by David_Gerard · 2013-01-02T16:28:38.570Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think sincerity is a complete explanation, c.f. Charles Platt's Cryoptimism posts on Alcor's finances: 1, 2: "First, I find it ethically unacceptable that provident people should subsidize improvident people." Note that, in your posited scenario, he would be one of the suckers, not one of the rich guys. So that suggests as a possible cause libertarians in a group not understanding when you do actually need to make things work that way.