How to sign up for Alcor cryo

post by oge · 2015-04-26T02:51:48.377Z · score: 32 (33 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 31 comments

I wrote an article about the process of signing up for cryo since I couldn't find any such accounts online. If you have questions about the sign-up process, just ask.

A few months ago, I signed up for Alcor's brain-only cryopreservation. The entire process took me 11 weeks from the day I started till the day I received my medical bracelet (the thing that’ll let paramedics know that your dead body should be handled by Alcor). I paid them $90 for the application fee. From now on, every year I’ll pay $530 for Alcor membership fees, and also pay $275 for my separately purchased life insurance.

http://specterdefied.blogspot.com/2015/04/how-to-sign-up-for-alcor-cryo.html

31 comments

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comment by khafra · 2015-04-28T11:35:50.131Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Do you have plans for when your term life insurance expires, but you're still alive (which is, actuarially speaking, fairly certain)?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-02T16:15:41.532Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

As it happens, $1 invested monthly in a conservative portfolio with 6% annualized gains results in just under $1,000 after 30 years. So put aside $80/mo from your monthly budget into an investment account, and use the full balance to pre-pay membership when your term insurance is up.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-05-02T16:23:15.985Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

a conservative portfolio with 6% annualized gains

Ain't no such thing at the moment.

Not to mention that you should distinguish gains in nominal terms and gains in real terms.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-02T17:01:36.221Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Over a 30 year period? Low-risk 6% annualized is trivial to setup. Adding inflation means you have to target 8% growth, which is also perfectly achievable -- it's the gold standard for a moderate risk stock/bonds split over that sort of time horizon. But if you want to keep that more conservative, low risk profile then you only need to contribute $145/mo instead of $100/mo to achieve $100k, adjusted after 30 years of 4% real gains.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-05-02T22:34:31.792Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Low-risk 6% annualized is trivial to setup.

Would you care to demonstrate?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-02T23:40:27.229Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

S&P 500 does better than that. So take a mix of a low-cost market index fund and a broad spectrum bond fund, to your desired risk ratio.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-05-03T02:17:57.074Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No, it used to do better than that. Do you offer guarantees for the future (note that, for example, bonds will NOT be able to repeat the performance of the last 10-15 years)? There is also considerable volatility -- presumably you would like some assurance that when you'll need the money S&P isn't going to be in one of its troughs? And, as most everyone, you forgot about taxes.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-03T05:23:23.920Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It is possible we are on the verge of a Great Depression like event. But possible does not imply probable.

Regarding taxes, you simply buy a term insurance lasting until you are at least 59 1/2, and use a retirement account to save for your future cryogenic preservation on a tax-free basis (and I mean truly tax-free -- you save on a tax-deferred basis, and then when you are proclaimed legally dead the transfer to Alcor is made from your estate without taxes so long as your net worth is less than $5m).

But feel free to invest in a universal life policy instead, as most Alcor members do. It's basically the same thing under the hood, just with a bunch of middlemen taking cuts along the way. Of course the financial collapse that is so drastic that a broad index fund would perform less than 6% annualized is likely to wipe out your life insurance company too. But maybe you'll feel better thinking that you have that risk covered.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-05-03T06:38:24.928Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It is possible we are on the verge of a Great Depression like event

That too, though I mostly meant the slowdown in economic growth.

and then when you are proclaimed legally dead the transfer to Alcor is made from your estate

A couple of problems here. First, you are obligated to start withdrawing money from your retirement account at certain age. Second, is Alcor happy to start the cryo without waiting for probate to settle?

the financial collapse that is so drastic that a broad index fund would perform less than 6% annualized is likely to wipe out your life insurance company too

No need for collapse. Take a look at e.g. Japan. All its life insurance companies are intact, but the stock market... did not perform well during the past 30 years.

comment by oge · 2015-04-29T05:34:48.107Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nope, not yet. I have 30 years to figure out if I want to continue with cryo or if some newer technology is more worth my money.

comment by ImmortalRationalist · 2015-05-12T08:05:20.946Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Plastination is one technology you might be interested in.

comment by oge · 2015-05-17T14:01:07.569Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yup! Unfortunately it isn't ready for humans yet

http://blog.brainpreservation.org/2015/04/27/shawn-mikula-on-brain-preservation-protocols/

comment by Ixiel · 2015-04-28T21:59:22.752Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Is this the generally accepted best cryonics choice, and do they offer a lifetime membership? If memory serves it's something like a quarter million but even if it's half I'd rather just write a check. The stakes are a little higher than a late payment on a credit card or even a mortgage, in that they are literally life or death.

comment by oge · 2015-04-29T05:32:58.582Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know the answer to either question. I really just picked Alcor since at the time their Website looked far more professional than the alternative (although that has changed since). You can shoot the Alcor folks an email to ask about the membership: they're pretty good at responding.

comment by Risto_Saarelma · 2015-04-27T05:02:25.175Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Any success stories for signing up for cryonics for people with middle-class wealth who don't have a citizenship in an Anglosphere country?

comment by Dentin · 2015-04-26T18:48:09.477Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Mine took a similar length of time, though I went for whole-body. Between that and my age the insurance premium cost is an order of magnitude higher than yours, but all things considered it's pretty cheap if you've got any kind of tech job.

comment by Ishaan · 2015-04-27T13:42:48.567Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Question: Wouldn't brain-only be better, at least at this time?

My intuition suggests that the sort of technology required for repairing a body of all the damage from the expanding ice would necessarily imply technology required for synthesizing a new body, body transplants are relatively trivial, and plus brain only would presumably mean a higher quality preservation of brain tissue relative to whole body due to being more invasive, right? (Counterarguments: small chance that body implements far more of our personality than currently realized, small chance the future decides growing new brainless bodies is unethical)

comment by Dentin · 2015-04-27T15:55:28.799Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't really care about recovery of the body. I included it for raw materials and any other information it can provide or that might be necessary to preserve me. Hormones and other chemical signaling aren't just in the brain - neurons and nerve connections have most of the important data as we understand things, but not all of it.

comment by Cariyaga · 2015-04-27T00:17:32.973Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I'll probably look into whole-body cryonics too once I get a job. Disability really isn't enough to pay for that kind of thing, but it's well worth it.

comment by TheVoraciousObserver · 2015-04-27T01:53:35.015Z · score: 3 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Are there any sort of in-depth analysis of the cost/benefit of cryonics? I'm not convinced its the best use of ones money, considering that the money spent could be given to charities to improve the world now, versus the very tiny chance you are preserving your life. The immediate benefit of helping others now seems to considerably outweigh the selfish act of self-preservation, considering that if you can afford cryonics currently, you already have excess money that could be used now for charity.

However, I am relatively new to the topic, so I am certain there are a whole host of issues I am ignorant of and I don't mean to set up a false dichotomy, which is why I ask my original question.

comment by James_Miller · 2015-04-27T02:36:04.689Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW · GW

If you value all human life (including your own) equally, it's not the best use of ones money. But holding constant the amount of money you spend on yourself, cryonics might make for an excellent investment. I'm an Alcor whole-body member.

comment by Unknowns · 2015-04-27T03:25:47.454Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Sometimes people will argue that if you would pay a lot to save your own life from a fatal illness, that means you don't value lives equally but prefer your own, and therefore you should sign up for cryonics. But this argument seems a bit problematic to me, because it assumes my preference to save my life in the case of the fatal illness is ideal. In reality it might not be ideal at all. I am certainly not Zachary Baumkletterer, but it's likely I would be a better person if I were. If this is the case, the problem is not that I am unwilling to sign up for cryonics, but that I would pay to save myself from the fatal illness instead of giving the money away. And this argument does not mean that if I don't want to sign up for cryonics, instead I have to start donating all my money to charity. It just means I am doing the best I feel that I can, and if I signed up for cryonics I would be doing even worse (by doing less for others.)

comment by Kindly · 2015-04-27T03:44:57.122Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, this, exactly.

I do nice things for myself not because I have deep-seated beliefs that doing nice things for myself is the right thing to do, but because I feel motivated to do nice things for myself.

I'm not sure that I could avoid doing those things for myself (it might require willpower I do not have) or that I should (it might make me less effective at doing other things), or that I would want to if I could and should (doing nice things for myself feels nice).

But if we invent a new nice thing to do for myself that I don't currently feel motivated to do, I don't see any reason to try to make myself do it. If it's instrumentally useful, then sure: learning to like playing chess means means that my brain gets exercise while I'm having fun.

With cryonics, though? I could try to convince myself that I want it, and then I will want it, and then I will spend money on it. I could also leave things as they are, and spend that money on things I currently want. Why should I want to want something I don't want?

comment by James_Miller · 2015-04-27T04:13:04.978Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You might be able to achieve significantly better life outcomes for yourself by becoming more strategic.

comment by jacob_cannell · 2015-04-27T03:56:14.833Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The immediate benefit of helping others now seems to considerably outweigh the selfish act of self-preservation

Actually, I believe there is an interesting case to be made that brain preservation has immense public goods value.

The actual process of future resurrection - if possible - will revolve around statistical inference; it will necessarily involve a large amount of informed simulation/induction on the part of future AI.

The human cortex contains a model of the universe from the perspective of one observer, and other humans/agents are the most complex objects our brains must model. So the key information content of one particular human mind is not localized to a particular brain - it is instead distributed across many brains.

comment by TheVoraciousObserver · 2015-04-28T23:29:19.240Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure I understand. What do you mean when you say this:

So the key information content of one particular human mind is not localized to a particular brain

Are you saying that that the universe is part all minds, not just one particular persons? Can you explain what you mean more clearly?

comment by jacob_cannell · 2015-04-29T07:08:57.858Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I mean that the physical information which defines - or alternatively is required to reconstruct - a human mind is not strictly localized in space to the confines of a single brain.

Using the hardware/software analogy, the brain is the hardware, the mind is the software, but the mind is distributed software: each mind program runs mainly on a single brain, but it also has partial cached copies distributed on other brains.

For example, if two people spend a bunch of time together, they are going to have many shared memories. Later if both die and the brain of one is preserved, the shared memories are useful for constructing both minds. With many preserved brains, you get multiple viewpoints for many overlapping memories which allow for more precise reconstruction.

comment by Capla · 2015-05-06T21:19:09.943Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a little disturbed by the thought of reconstructing my personality from others' impressions of my personality.

comment by Dentin · 2015-04-27T02:24:42.048Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

When I ran the numbers, I came up with a change from 50% to 55% on my odds of surviving to the year 2100. It's definitely not much, but I deemed it worthwhile. It's also substantially more than the gain I would get if I were to divert that money towards a charity like the SENS organization, even though donating to SENS would almost certainly be a higher global optimum.

No, I don't have the previous calculations around anymore. I'll probably be redoing them in the next couple of years to make sure it's still worthwhile.

comment by AngryParsley · 2015-04-27T09:57:05.925Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Is that 50-55% estimate conditional on no civilizational collapse or extinction event? Either way, it seems very optimistic. According to current actuarial estimates, a 30 year-old has about a 50% chance of living another 50 years. For life expectancy to dramatically increase, a lot of things have to fall into place over the next half-century. If you think anti-aging tech will be available in 30 years, consider how medicine has advanced in the past 30. Unless there are significant breakthroughs, we're sunk. I'm signed up for cryo and I donate to SENS, but my estimates are much more pessimistic than yours.

comment by Dentin · 2015-04-27T16:12:05.491Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I believe I used a fairly small number for civilizational collapse and extinction, on the order of ten to fifteen percent. I just don't find such doomsday scenarios that likely or plausible.

It may be that my background and upbringing have inured me to it - I've seen the end of the world not happen far too many times in my lifetime:

  • Communists failed to conquer everyone
  • There was no nuclear war/nuclear winter with russia
  • The UN new world order didn't enslave everyone
  • The end times due to the second coming of christ haven't happened at least a dozen times
  • y2k didn't cause problems
  • 2012 was just retarded
  • There has been no superflu
  • The stock market has become more stable over time, not less
  • Peak oil happened and nobody even noticed
  • There was no hard AI takeoff

There's probably more if I stop to think about it.

At the moment, I find biotech to be the most likely existential threat, with general civilization collapse and strong AI the next two major candidates.