Pet Cryonics

post by Jack · 2010-11-11T00:13:18.011Z · score: 6 (7 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 19 comments

Open discussion.

I think my dog is about to die. Even if I thought it was worth it I don't have the money to freeze her. But I am curious to know how people here feel about the practice and whether anyone plans to do this for their pet. It seems like a practice that plays into the image of cryonics as the domain of strange and egotistical rich people. On the other hand it also seems like a rather human and heart warming practice. Is pet cryopreservation good for the image of cryonics?

Also, do people who just do neuro get their pets preserved? Will people upload pets? Assuming life as an emulation feels different from life as a biological organism is it ethical to upload animals? The transition might be strange and uncomfortable but we expect at least some humans to take the risk and live with any differences. But animals don't understand this and might not have the mental flexibility to adjust.

19 comments

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comment by ata · 2010-11-12T22:22:35.951Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

On the other hand it also seems like a rather human and heart warming practice. Is pet cryopreservation good for the image of cryonics?

Heartwarming only to people who already like the idea of cryonics, I'm guessing. To those who don't, the interpretation will probably be "selfish rich weirdos getting their dead pets frozen", which will be used circularly as further evidence that cryonics is weird and bad.

comment by Relsqui · 2010-11-11T08:13:04.902Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry to hear about your dog.

comment by Jack · 2010-11-12T01:53:50.660Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks. She's lived a long life. I just don't like the every time I come home I'm worried she'll be dead feeling. She isn't in pain though.

comment by AngryParsley · 2010-11-11T08:02:50.683Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

One might worry about the pet getting revived without the owner. I think pets have a better chance of revival than humans. Pets can be euthanized and cryopreserved. Humans have to wait around until they die "naturally." Pets are smaller than humans, so they can be perfused and cooled faster. Pet brains are simpler than human brains, so it's probably easier to extrapolate behavior from incomplete data (damaged brain).

Even for pets, I think post-revival existence would be better than death. I don't have any pets and I wouldn't devote resources to cryopreserving them if I did, but I can understand why someone would do it.

comment by Vladimir_Nesov · 2010-11-11T22:28:30.359Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Pet brains are simpler than human brains, so it's probably easier to extrapolate behavior from incomplete data (damaged brain).

Or just opt for "tail-only" preservation.

comment by Alicorn · 2010-11-11T23:16:48.013Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Or just opt for "tail-only" preservation.

Some of us are guinea pig lovers.

comment by [deleted] · 2016-02-09T04:10:32.752Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was wondering if you had an update on your situation? My dog Mothi is about to die.

comment by rhollerith_dot_com · 2010-11-11T14:59:25.182Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Those of us interested in pet cryonics might also be interested in donating to the Singularity Institute for Dogs and Cats. (Richard Hollerith, founder and Research Fellow).

comment by Jack · 2010-11-12T10:36:01.074Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh come on! Cats and Dogs could never agree enough on morality for CEV to work here.

comment by rhollerith_dot_com · 2010-11-12T17:47:04.615Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Private message to Jack. (Not for publication!)

I know that, but if we call it the Singularity Institute for Dogs, then we lose out on donations from cat lovers! (I could have created two institutes, but that would increase our administrative costs.) I am confident that our intrepid scientists can come up with a solution to dog-cat moral incompatibility.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2010-11-11T05:28:36.932Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is pet cryopreservation good for the image of cryonics?

If Katja is correct that cryonics is far and far is actually meaningful then almost certainly not.

Will people upload pets? Assuming life as an emulation feels different from life as a biological organism is it ethical to upload animals? The transition might be strange and uncomfortable but we expect at least some humans to take the risk and live with any differences. But animals don't understand this and might not have the mental flexibility to adjust.

If one is worried about this one could presumably keep them in a simulated environment very close to the real world. But animals may have a lot of flexibility in this regards. Look for example at dogs who learn to walk after their back legs have been amputated and replaced with wheels. Or dogs who learn to walk on three legs after one is amputated. Or at cats that manage to hunt when nearly blind.

comment by lsparrish · 2010-11-11T21:24:19.006Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

One reason to cryopreserve a pet is as a backup for some information about yourself, similar to lifelogging. It could help future AI to restore your lost neural connections with higher accuracy. Pets have access to information that cameras and audio recorders wouldn't, such as smells.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2010-11-11T21:40:48.261Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

If you can get good data from the pet, it seems unlikely one wouldn't get good data from your brain and chemical structure. This seems to be a marginal benefit.

comment by lsparrish · 2010-11-11T22:25:28.199Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Depends on the kind of data needed. Some kinds of data might act as a key for unlocking larger amounts of more scrambled data. The data from the well-preserved pet might be next to useless on its own, but highly complementary with the scrambled information in your own brain.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2010-11-11T13:25:40.988Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Cryonic revival experiments will first be done on animals (hasn't it been done with a mouse already?) because they're more expendable. Once it gets to the point of freezing and reviving a dog without apparent ill effects (in near/far terms, when cryonics gets near), then it might be a useful publicity stunt for a scientist to freeze and revive his pet dog. For added impact, a dog in need of a kidney transplant but which needs to wait longer for a suitable kidney than it can survive without one, thus demonstrating the prime motivation for cryonic suspension: an ambulance ride into the future.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2010-11-12T01:31:22.477Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Cryonic revival experiments will first be done on animals (hasn't it been done with a mouse already?)

No one has revived a mouse. Kidneys have been done in rabbits. And we've also brought dogs down to low but slightly above freezing temperatures and brought them back with no substantial damage. But keep in mind that bringing something to the point of freezing in water is much higher temperature than liquid nitrogen and while kidneys have been brought to liquid nitrogen temperatures and back with minimal damage, kidneys are one of the simplest vital organs.

comment by lsparrish · 2010-11-12T15:31:21.882Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The brain and kidney do have similarities though.

Reversible vitrification of major organs is a reasonable prospect within this decade. What about vitrification of whole animals? This is a much more difficult problem. Some organs, such as the kidney and brain, are privileged organs for vitrification because of their high blood flow rate. This allows vitrification chemicals to enter and leave them quickly before there are toxic effects. Most other tissues would not survive the long chemical exposure time required to absorb a sufficient concentration to prevent freezing.

Medical Time Travel

I'm not too optimistic about reversal of full-body preservations performed in the next few decades. I am much more optimistic about prospects of regrowing the non-brain organs and creating a new body from them.

comment by lsparrish · 2010-11-12T01:21:53.651Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, not only revival experiments (which are far off) but stabilization experiments (which pay off in the here and now) are typically done on animals. No mice have ever been brought back from LN2 temperatures, but a rabbit kidney has been. For all we know, brains might be capable of survival (i.e. without nanorepair) under the best protocols, but this is not as easily testable as kidney function.