The best sentence I read yesterday

Yes, I am skeptical of most medicine because on average it seems folks who get more medicine aren’t healthier.  But I’ll heartily endorse one medical procedure: cryonics, i.e., freezing folks in liquid nitrogen when the rest of medicine gives up on them.

Here is the full post and of course that is Robin Hanson.  The post has another very good sentence:

It seems far more people read this blog daily than have ever signed up for cryonics.

Here is Robin’s excellent post on why cryonics is unpopular.  Here is Bryan Caplan’s.  My current view is this: one’s attention is extremely scarce and limited, as are one’s affiliations.  Insofar as you have the luxury of thinking "bigger thoughts," those thoughts should be directed at helping others, not at helping oneself.  The real opportunity cost of cryonics is not just the money but whatever else you would have done with that intellectual energy. 

Furthermore the universe (or multiverse) may be infinite, so in expected value terms it seems my copies and near-copies are already enjoying a kind of collective immortality

There is an anthropic effect insofar that only people who are not regularly tortured have the luxury of thinking about cryonics.  But not all worlds have to be so peaceful.  What probability of future torture would cause us to wish to die forever rather than be resurrected?  And should I therefore be scared by the idea of an infinite universe?  Do Darwinian selection pressures — defined in the broadest possible way — suggest it is worth spending energy on making entities happy?  Or do most entities end up as suffering slaves?

Addendum: Robin responds.


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