Robin Hanson responds on cryonics

Does Tyler think the world would be equally better off if foodies were to act contrary to type, express less via buying less fancy food, and give the difference to charity? If so, why has he never mentioned it in his hundreds of food posts?

Could it be Tyler knows that tech nerds are low status in our society and fair game for criticism? Is this really any different than rich folks complaining about inner city kids who buy $100 sneakers instead of saving their money or giving it to charity, even while they buy $1000 suits and dresses instead of saving their money or giving it to charity?

There is much more here.  This is not essential to the points under discussion, but I should add that I consider tech nerds to be a relatively high status group in American society, at least above the age of thirty.


Tyler is saying that we are trying to signal respectability...and choose cryonics. We must be sum dum fux.

(Well, I never said restraint was my strong suit.)

status = get chicks

Money = chicks, but below 30 nobody really has that much money besides pro athletes and lucky start up tech nerds or IB kids (outliers), so its not a determinate of status. Usually looks, sociability, and athletics are status markers under 30, before differing career paths actually start to differ significantly in salary.

so, what are the odds that someone with a disposition to defrost and revive a head has less than charitable intent? there must be at least as many nightmare scenarios as there are utopian.

All this back and forth has reinforced the notion I already had that Robin is kind of a weird guy and best not taken this seriously.

But I also understand that this whole internet debate has made him really self-conscious, especially since Gawker and Nymag reposted the NYT story basically saying "what weirdos these people are!" I'm sure I'd get defensive too.

Sometimes this blog becomes a sort of bizarre parody of itself, economics, and similar/related blogs and authors. This is one of those times, not because of the issue/question but because of the way it's being addressed by Tyler and Robin.

Kurt, would you take advice about psychic predictions from a psychic?

Would you ask for investment advice from a technical rules trader?

How interesting.

You know, I don't give a flying f**K if anyone does not like cryonics, I know its the right option for me. People who are not into radical life extension mean nothing to me. I view such people simply as obstacles to get around, nothing more. They mean nothing to me.

When I was in high school (say around '79-81), I used to party alot. I still party alot. When I was high or drunk and it was time to go home, my mission was to go home and make it to the next day. Or much later, making the last train to my apartment from when I partied in Roppongi or Omiya (in Japan). The purpose is always to survive to the next day and make a bigger life for myself. This is a very elemental thing.

Likewise, my mission today is to make it to the unlimited personal future that awaits me when we cure aging and have complete regeneration (like a hydra, you know) and have large scale human expansion into space. My purpose is always to become more and to have the more expansive future. This is also a very elemental thing.

Transhumanism is the adult version of the "edgy" life of my teenage years. It fits me like a fish is to water. Of course anyone who tells me that I should not do it, that it cannot work, or that it is "morally" wrong; that any such people, I view as stupid idiots that could never have anything useful to say to me. I disregard the opinions of such people. It means nothing to me.

I know that my dreams and desires, that what I want to become, is far bigger than what most people can handle. This is what I am. Why should I apologize for what I am to the core of my being? I know what I am and what I want to become. I have no use for these stupid philosophies and ideologies that would tell me that I have to live a limited, fixed patterned life. These things are utterly worthless to me and I would not be true to myself if I ever accepted them. Such things are alien to my nature and my perception of reality.

I know this is hard for many of you to accept. I accept this. You are not like me and I am not like you. Accept me for what I am and maybe, just maybe, I will accept you for what you are.

Do we have a deal?

The real question is why do people sign up for it, and why there isn't more fundamental research into it? But that question is easily answered by the visceral reaction against the practice, probably partly fueled by kurt9's caricature.

I support cryonics and life-extension (transhumanism means nothing to me) because people mean everything to me (even when they are jerks or when they make weird arguments against a no-brainer technology that if it were to magically be mainstream tomorrow I know they would embrace unquestioningly).

Tech nerds are low status if you ignore the poor, black people, immigrants and women.

Cryonics is a useful measure for whether people believe things like this: "Accept me for what I am and maybe, just maybe, I will accept you for what you are." Robin Hanson manifests the same attitude. People who want to avoid egotist extremists can use cryonics as shorthand/prejudice.

Andrew meant to write "people today mean everything to me", despite all the evidence that humanity's social and moral faculties tend to have improved over time.

Money = chicks

Not exactly. Status leads to both chicks and money. There's a strong correlation betweeen money and chicks, but money isn't the cause. A broke pick-up artist will be far more successful with women than a socially inept geek making 6 figures.

As far as status of tech nerds: at the last speed dating event I went to, half the guys were programmers.

Of course anyone who tells me that [...] it cannot work [...], I view as stupid idiots...

Dismissing "moral" objections is your prerogative, of course. But you cannot so easily dismiss those who offer arguments that it can't work. Since we know so little about the nature of consciousness, there is at least a possibility that cryonics might not be feasible even in principle.

We have a natural tendency to apply the computer metaphor to the human brain, and that makes us optimistic about prospects for cryonics because computer programs can of course be suspended and restarted in a lossless manner. However the fact that this computer analogy springs to mind is simply an automatic reflex of the era we live in; the Victorians probably analogized the brain in terms of a Mechanical Turk clockwork mechanism, because that was what they were familiar with. Future generations will likely consider a von Neumann architecture to be as deficient a metaphor as a mechanical contraption.

In the natural world there are any number of dynamic systems -- probably a great majority, actually -- that consist of tightly coupled processes that simply cannot be frozen and restarted. Consider a roaring campfire, for instance. There is no way to stop it without dousing it, and no way to use nanotechnology to reconstruct it by carefully arranging and laying out molecules in mid-chemical-reaction, photons frozen in mid-flight, or smoke in mid-turbulence, and then with a clap of our hands set everything in motion exactly as before.

I rather suspect that human consciousness, as an emergent property of its biochemical medium, is closer to being an analog "campfire", rather than the obedient digital zeros and ones of RAM storage that can be conveniently marshalled and losslessly restored.

You should be willing to at least contemplate the possibility that your most deeply held wish might in fact turn out to be impossible, lest the "need to believe" turns it into nothing more than a quasi-religious article of faith.

I am the owner of the company that has contracted to preserve kurt9's head. However, we only have funding through the next 3 years. After that, we will put his head into a lucite soccer ball so you can kick it around your backyard. The bidding starts at $50.

Okay, $20.

Five dollars. Final offer.


I agree with you that people should be respectful of other people's differences, so long as they aren't personally harming others.

I also agree with you on your viewpoint of cryonics, however I personally strive to not keep any bad habits in my life for very long periods of time (e.g. drugs, partying, drinking, etc.) so that my body's ecosystem is strong enough to live a long time without societal aid at all, thereby increasing the chances that cryonics or other life extension services would actually be far more likely to succeed.

For me, I could care less if people are blunt with their opinions, so long as they respect other people's rights, space and privacy.

The first sentence should read: "Somebody asked why some people discuss about cyronics while claiming not to care about it." Sorry for the confusion.

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