I’m a 19-year-old Terminal Patient. Medical Brain Preservation Should not be Difficult to Discuss or Adopt

post by oge · 2021-02-23T00:42:53.588Z · LW · GW · 5 comments

This is a link post for https://www.brainpreservation.org/brain-preservation-should-not-be-difficult-to-discuss/

From the BPF blog (of which I’m a volunteer) here’s the story of a kid with a terminal illness who is holding out for the development of brain preservation for future uploading. In the comments he justifies not signing up for cryonics with

Lack of medical accountability and support from the scientific community are shortcomings of cryonics that are unacceptable for many, including me. To address that, I think the neuroscience and medical establishment should start supporting and developing brain preservation [ASC] in a hospital setting today. These shortcomings prevented me from choosing cryonics, and I want people to have far better options at the end of their lives than I did.


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comment by Dagon · 2021-02-23T19:00:20.350Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, I sympathize with the kid, and with everyone who has or will die.  But I'm not a fan of complaining that the world hasn't done something that I'd find convenient.  "the scientific community" doesn't exist in this sense, nor does "the neuroscience and medical establishment".  Identify individual humans and smallish groups that are behaving badly, or identify the forces contributing to the inadequate equilibrium you don't like, but don't just note that the result is unpleasant.

Replies from: romeostevensit, AnthonyC
comment by romeostevensit · 2021-02-24T01:12:03.738Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

They seem more articulate and emotionally mature about it than I was at that age.

comment by AnthonyC · 2021-02-24T14:54:53.756Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You're not wrong, and I agree any path forward towards greater acceptance will need to be more targeted, but I also don't think that's a particularly realistic thing to ask of a 19 year old in the US today, terminally ill or not. He probably doesn't have and never had the opportunity to have his own job/savings/life insurance, which means he can't just go sign up for cryonics unless his parents support it and can pay for it. There are, in fact, a handful of organizations (government and private) in this country that mostly decide what counts as a medical treatment that insurance should cover, and they don't count cryonics. At the very least, I don't think it's unreasonable to call those organizations collectively a community or establishment for the sake of a blog post.

What actual action would you recommend this kid take, instead? Hire lobbyists with money he doesn't have, and hope they can enact targeted campaigns to promote change that might be realized long after his expected remaining lifespan? Start a GoFundMe to help him sign up for cryonics? 

Replies from: rudi-c
comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) · 2021-02-27T01:00:34.656Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Most people‘s big problems are not solvable by random general advice. The kid has no good solutions. The post still is just emotional fodder preaching to the choir.

comment by Srdjan Miletic (srdjan-miletic) · 2021-02-27T00:43:51.369Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd heard of cryonics quite a bit but never brain scanning or preservation. The story of the young man is particularly poignant. It's is truly a tragedy that brain preservation is not more widely commercially available.