```X-Message-Number: 8387
Date: 17 Jul 97 14:36:49 EDT
From: "Stephen W. Bridge" < var s1 = "72320.1642"; var s2 = "CompuServe.COM"; var s3 = s1 + "@" + s2; document.write("<a href='mailto:" + s3 + "'>" + s3 + "</a>"); >
Subject: More on Probabilities

To CryoNet
From Steve Bridge
July 17, 1997

There are several interesting posts today stemming from Marty Nemko's
"nagging probabilities."  They bring up a few more thoughts.

First, I want to re-emphasize that these are NOT random probabilities.
We as individuals exert a lot of influence on many factors.  For example,
the *general* probability that any person will die in an automobile
accident is different for you as an *individual*, depending on where you
live, how far you drive, what kind of car you own, if it is kept in good
repair, if you have airbags, wear a seatbelt, don't drink and drive, don't
talk on car phones and drive, etc.

The probability that you will be frozen and revived if you *don't* sign up
with a cryonics organization is near zero.  The probability that you will
be frozen (in *some* condition) if you join a cryonics organization is at
least 95%.  I can only think of two cases in the past fifteen years where
a person died as a suspension member of a cryonics organization and was
not frozen at all.  (To be sure, there are people Alcor has had to drop
for non-payment of dues and who could not even be located.  It is possible
that one or more of those people died without it being reported to Alcor.
But even that was probably somewhat under the control of the individual
members.  They moved without telling us; or perhaps they didn't even TELL
their family they were signed up for cryonics.)

If you start looking at the probabilities that you will be frozen WELL,
the situation is much fuzzier.  At this stage in the development of
cryonics, we don't know in any detail what "well" IS.  It could be that
nearly all cryonics patients have been frozen well enough that
sufficiently advanced technologies will provide satisfactory revival (yes,
I know; every word in that sentence is subject to argument about
definition).  Or it could be that NONE of today's patients can be revived.
We simply don't know and every number you assign to that factor is
uneducated guesswork.

However, it seems most likely that, at a minimum, the success of
suspensions will be time-dependent.  To get treated faster, you must let
everyone around you -- family, friends, co-workers -- know who to contact
if you die or are at risk of death.  Building friendships with nearby
cryonicists and persuading more nearby people to BECOME cryonicists would

You cannot simply plug in numbers from society in general without
including your own participation in the mix.

In Message #8378, Andrew S.Davidson

>My thinking is that, as I am 45, I have about 20 years before the problem
>becomes pressing.  If I die before then it will probably be unexpected
>and so difficult to recover from.

I could list several cases that would belie this, Andrew.  One of our
cases was a 46-year old man who died after surgery.  He was frozen fairly
quickly.  Another was a man of the same approximate age who was hit by a
truck.  He died after several days in the hospital, so we had plenty of
warning.  Unfortunately, in THIS case, he hadn't "gotten around to"
signing up.  We had no authority to act and his family refused to have him
frozen, even though they KNEW this is what he wanted and plenty of funds
were available.  If it's not in writing, you are at the whims of others.

I have known many people in their 40's who got cancer or leukemia or other
diseases.  Many of them died, most without being frozen.  Not to be
morbid, Andrew, but you are far from safe.

>I could pay the cost of suspension out of savings right now but
>there is no financial incentive to pay up-front in this way.  I am
>surprised that cryonics orgs don't offer this choice, given their current
>need for capital.  Some legal problem with insurance company licensing,
>perhaps?

I assume by "financial incentive," you mean "discount rate."  There are
several factors operating here.

Alcor's minimum required funding for whole body suspension is \$120,000.
If we were to accept \$100,000 in cash upfront, under the assumption that
it would grow to \$120,000 or more before you were to be suspended, what
would we do if you died the month after you gave us the funds?  Would you
trust a non-profit organization which took such risks?

If we were to do this with a large number of people, and peg the amount of
paid funding to age at payment and expectation of life span, we would be
(by law) acting as an insurance company.  That means we would be regulated
as an insurance company; which would be so expensive to administer that we
would be out of business immediately.

At Alcor, advance payments of suspension funds cannot be used for
"capital."  You don't want an organization which will spend your money
upfront and then can't afford to actually FREEZE you twenty years later.
So all advance payments are placed in federally insured investment funds
which cannot be touched (except for a tiny management fee) until the
member requires suspension.  The primary advantage to Alcor in such
arrangements are that the funds are accessible more quickly than they
would be with an insurance policy or individual trust.

There is one other advantage in some cases: the money earns interest, so
the total amount will gradually build up.  So we do, in a sense, offer one
"special" benefit for advance payment of suspension funding.  If we have
the money in our possession, we guarantee that we will not raise the
suspension minimums for you.  For a long time, Alcor required only
\$100,000 as a minimum.  We now require \$120,000.  Someday we may require
more.  If you get in with \$120,000 in cash now (\$50,000 for
Neurosuspension), you are locked in.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
In Message #8379, Marty Nemko had further thoughts.

At least he is down to 400,000 to 1.  That's a lot better than a BILLION
to 1, and maybe if he factors in himself, the numbers will improve even
further.  I must admit to being somewhat puzzled, though, by the attitude
that, "if only I could find a *number* I could live with, then I could
make a decision."  I suspect Marty and others are only fooling themselves,
and this obsession with "probabilities" is only an evasion of what their
deeper fears and objections are.

I know that the probabilities of my dying in a car accident are higher
than dying in a plane crash.  Yet I choose my transportation based on what
is most convenient at the time, not on what the odds are.  I suspect that
somehow, cryonics isn't "convenient" or "comfortable" enough for Marty,
and the odds of success have little to do with it.

>THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO, I BELIEVE (AND SOMEONE KNOWLEDGEABLE PLEASE
>CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG), IS THAT MEMORY IS IT LEAST PARTLY ELECTRICAL,
>SO WHEN ONE DIES, MEMORIES ARE LOST, MUCH AS COMPUTER INFORMATION IN RAM
>IS LOST WHEN THE POWER IS TURNED OFF.

You'll probably get a number of shocked objections to this one, Marty.  It
is pretty conclusive that long-term memory, at least, is structural and
not linked to "electricity."  Even in surgery for brain aneurysms, when
the brain is cooled below 50 degrees F, all electrical activity ceases.
Patients can survive up to an hour in such a condition and be revived with
memory and personality intact.

>JUST ON A GUT LEVEL, THIS SIMPLY FEELS TOO HIGH.
>GIVEN COST OF LIVING INCREASES, THE LIKELY EXTREMELY HIGH COST OF
>REANIMATION, ETC, I BELIEVE THAT .3 IS CLOSER TO CORRECT.

If only one person will be revived, the cost will be high.  Development
cost is always high.  But each patient after that, down to some base
level, will be less expensive to revive.  Today, it may cost a billion
dollars of R&D to design a new computer which will sell for \$3,000.  What
is the "cost" of the first computer off the line?

Besides, Alcor's Patient Care Trust funds are invested and currently
earning quite a bit more than the expenses of keeping patients frozen.
Reasonable future projections indicate that Alcor revival teams will have
huge amounts of money available for research and revival.  I suspect this
will not be a major limiting factor.  Remember, it will not be any "they"
(like anonymous government officials) who revive us.  It will be your
*suspension organization*.

>  NO.  THE REVIVAL PROCEDURE COULD BE 99.9999% EFFECTIVE, YET IF ONLY A
FEW CELLS ARE NOT RIGHT, WE COULD BE IN DIRE PAIN.  RIGHT NOW, A PERSON
WITH A MIGRAINE HAS NEARLY EVERYTYING RUNNING RIGHT IN HIS OR HER BODY,
YET THAT 1 PROBLEM CAN MAKE THEIR LIFE RATHER MISERABLE.  I BELIEVE THAT
THE ODDS OF A PERSON BEING REANIMATED PAIN FREE IS VERY LOW.  TO ME, 0.1
WOULD BE OPTIMISTIC--THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY SOURCES OF PAIN IN THE BODY.

Marty, do you think pain is somehow "magical?"  Can you conceive of a
technology able to do sophisticated bodily and cellular reconstruction,
with brain repair, cures for cancer, etc., and yet the best solution for
pain relief they can come up with in two centuries is ibuprofin?  Marty,
you claim to want "only rational grounds"; but here you are reacting
strictly emotionally to the concept of "pain" as being some nonphysical
force which rules our lives.  ALL areas of medical treatment will improve
in the next century, including treatment of pain.  I think .999999 is
reasonable for this question, which I truly think is irrelevant.  I think
you are just using it for an excuse to lower the numbers, because if the
probabilities get too high, you might have to sign up.  I don't think you
are near as "eager" to be persuaded as you claim to be.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Tim Freeman, in Message #8380, also makes an excellent point:

>The probabilities you are concerned about aren't probabilities of
>independent events, so it is not valid to multiply them.  For example,
>if technology sufficient to revive people happens, then people will
>eventually understand what is happening around them, so a democratic
>government's response to it will not be insane in the long term.

There are many other such examples in Marty's list which are dependent on
each other.

And Fred Chamberlain, in Message #8381, puts the ball right back to Marty
when he says:

> We must also ask ourselves if we will be content with a decision *not*
> to be frozen, if we find ourselves on the brink of dying and know that
> nothing we might wish to do can change the course of events.

I think this discussion of *numbers* is an evasion for refusing to look at
someone's *emotional doubts.*

Steve Bridge,
Alcor Board Member

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=8387

```