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Biotech Science

The Cryonics Institute Offers a Chance at Immortality (Video #2) 155

Posted by Roblimo
from the living-forever-sounds-kind-of-boring dept.
Today's interviewee is Cryonics Institute (CI) Director Andy Zawacki, who takes Slashdot's Robert Rozeboom into the facility where they keep the tanks with frozen people in them. Yesterday, Rob talked with David Ettinger, who is both the group's lawyer and the son of CI founder Robert Ettinger. For those of you who are obsessed with the process of vitrification, here's a link to a story about The Cryonics Institute's 69th Patient and how she was taken care of, starting at the moment of her deanimation (AKA death). The story has anatomical drawings, charts, and color pictures of Andy carrying out the actual procedure. But Cryonics, while endorsed as a concept by numerous scientists, may not be as good a way to insure immortality as transplanting your brain into a fresh (probably robotic) body, as Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov hopes to do by 2035. There are also many groups that claim to offer spiritual (as opposed to corporeal) immortality. Which method of living forever works best? That remains to be seen, assuming any of them work at all. Perhaps we'll find out after the Singularity.

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The Cryonics Institute Offers a Chance at Immortality (Video #2)

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  • First (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @04:43PM (#44623389)

    The Cyronics Institute are a bunch of quacks and con men. Discuss.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      Well, you know what they say: A dumb-as-shit, desperate, gullible millionaire and his money are soon parted.

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        Well, you know what they say: A dumb-as-shit, desperate, gullible millionaire and his money are soon parted.

        If not for his ruthless business acumen (or dumb luck or inheritance) he/she would not have the money to begin with.

        By golly, the ends do justify the means!

      • by Aguazul2 (2591049)

        Well, you know what they say: A dumb-as-shit, desperate, gullible millionaire and his money are soon parted.

        How many gullible millionaires are there reading slashdot? I think the more gullible one was the one paying slashdot to promote this. At least it is completely irrelevant to most slashdot reader's interests and is easily skippable. If they need cash perhaps they could also promote high technology skin creams for women.

    • As TWiTfan implied [slashdot.org], this is one of those extremely rare examples where trickle-down economics actually works. Someone has figured out a way besides "Art" to get wealthy people to trickle some of their money out.

      • As TWiTfan implied [slashdot.org], this is one of those extremely rare examples where trickle-down economics actually works. Someone has figured out a way besides "Art" to get wealthy people to trickle some of their money out.

        Seems to me it's more the opposite; instead of this money going into general circulation, it's being frozen :D

    • The fact the freezing process destroys the cells is all you need to know that cryonics is bullshit.

      There are a few ways to extend your life or consciousness, but the technology isn't there yet: a) cellular repair via nanobots gives you the same body for years to come; or b) high resolution brain scans to effectively digitize your brain.

      I think if someone was desperate enough to preserve themselves today, I would go for the brain plasticization route. Then, hope one day that you can be scanned in and have yo

      • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
        Luckily, they don't freeze you, but rather pump you with anti-freeze compounds first. minimizing ice crystal growth. They haven't been trying direct freezing since the 1980s.
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      There really is nothing TO discuss because if they haven't come up with some magical potion that keeps 100% of the ice crystals from forming AND a way to unfreeze without damage all they are gonna end up with when they thaw it is mush anyway. The way it was explained to me its not the flash freezing that is the biggest problem, after all you dunk a head in liquid nitrogen and it'll flash freeze alright, the problem is in the thawing as THAT is where all the damage occurs.

      That said this reminds me of that

      • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @06:04PM (#44624233)

        There really is nothing TO discuss because if they haven't come up with some magical potion that keeps 100% of the ice crystals from forming AND a way to unfreeze without damage all they are gonna end up with when they thaw it is mush anyway. The way it was explained to me its not the flash freezing that is the biggest problem, after all you dunk a head in liquid nitrogen and it'll flash freeze alright, the problem is in the thawing as THAT is where all the damage occurs.

        Actually, it's typically done these days using organ vitrification, which prevents ice crystals from forming. For most crypoprotectants used in the process of vitrification, you are limited to one cell type one which it has best effect. The CI folks mostly try their best to preserve the brain without freezing damage, at the expense of some of the other cell types. This has been successfully used on laboratory animal organ transplants for mammalian livers, kidneys, and hearts; the first reference is a patent on the method of prepping the organ, which the second is a PubMed article case study dealing with a rabbit kidney vitrification and subsequent live transplant.

        https://www.google.com/patents/US5723282 [google.com]
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781097/ [nih.gov]

        There has also been some interesting work in the last 5 years using in Japan using a 0.01 mT magnetic field. This prevents ice crystals from forming. The technique was originally developed by ABI, a Japanese company using a technique they call the "Calls Alive System", for storing sushi at cryogenic temperatures without permitting formation of ice crystals by triggerning through the glass phase change without normal expansion you would typically have with ice. The technique is currently being used for long term storage of live teeth, and has shown some merit for other larger organs:

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20478291 [nih.gov]
        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0011224010000854 [sciencedirect.com]

      • by tnk1 (899206)

        Most religions don't suggest that you will be special or different in having an afterlife. Some do, but most are selling it for everyone. After all, you want your friends and relatives to be there with you. You might not even mind your enemies being there, if they will be well behaved.

        You have more of a point when you discuss the fear of death thing. That is certainly a universal fear that religion might take your mind off of.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        in both cases they appeal to both the fear of death and the person's ego as THEY shouldn't have to just end like everybody else

        I don't want to die, it has nothing to do with other people. Nor is it fear of death, it's desire of life. Why should I want a good thing to come to an end? I'm quite content with my mortality, but if I was offered immortality hell yes I'd take it. I'm just not interested in snake oil of pseudo-scientific or supernatural character.

    • by Twinbee (767046)
      It's reasonable to assume that future technology (look at 500 or even 5000 years ahead) can be so advanced that it can successfully defreeze someone, especially if they are frozen immediately after 'death'. A rabbit kidney has apparently been "completely vitrified to solid state at 135C, rewarmed and transplanted to a rabbit with complete viability".
      • by hawguy (1600213)

        It's reasonable to assume that future technology (look at 500 or even 5000 years ahead) can be so advanced that it can successfully defreeze someone, especially if they are frozen immediately after 'death'. A rabbit kidney has apparently been "completely vitrified to solid state at 135C, rewarmed and transplanted to a rabbit with complete viability".

        Even if you assume it's possible (a *big* assumption), the bigger question is *why* would society want to thaw someone from our time 500 or even 5000 years ahead? Sure, there might be enough scientific curiosity to thaw a few of us just to talk with us to find out what life was really like back in 2020, but why would they want to thaw hundreds or thousands of people who are jobless with no family or means to support themselves, and will need extensive education and rehabilitation to re-enter society?

        • by metamatic (202216)

          ... why would they want to thaw hundreds or thousands of people who are jobless with no family or means to support themselves, and will need extensive education and rehabilitation to re-enter society?

          Slave labor. Medical experimentation. To put in zoos. There are many possibilities.

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          > *why* would society want to thaw someone from our time 500 or even 5000 years ahead?
          Maybe the Society for Creative Anachronisms wants to throw the world's most authentic renaissance fair? Or maybe just why not? We've had the technology for some time now to create a techno-agrarian utopia, we just lack the social desire to do so - if that should ever change then there's no reason to believe resurrecting a few hundred thousand people would impose any particular hardships on anyone. Heck, even last ye

        • by skids (119237)

          why would they want to thaw hundreds or thousands of people who are jobless with no family or means to support themselves, and will need extensive education and rehabilitation to re-enter society?

          I dunno. Maybe they have gotten over hating people for their own ego's self gratification, happen to have some spare time on their hands, and do not particularly view such an education as a burden because they've developed kickass pedagogical techniques.

          I mean, these days even with unemployment, social unrest, and environmental degradation, people still seem to find time to devote to sports, facebook, and other trivialities. Why not unfreezing people? It would make a great blog.

        • by tftp (111690)

          the bigger question is *why* would society want to thaw someone from our time 500 or even 5000 years ahead?

          There would be no practical reason, short of some bio-warfare having destroyed the genome of human species. This had been discussed in SciFi (search for "corpsicle [wikipedia.org]," for example.) Short of some major philanthropy, nobody needs dead people - especially if their meager $1 investment 1000 years ago can today amount to quite something [wikipedia.org]. It's much easier to just confiscate the money and destroy the corps

        • by tgd (2822)

          It's reasonable to assume that future technology (look at 500 or even 5000 years ahead) can be so advanced that it can successfully defreeze someone, especially if they are frozen immediately after 'death'. A rabbit kidney has apparently been "completely vitrified to solid state at 135C, rewarmed and transplanted to a rabbit with complete viability".

          Even if you assume it's possible (a *big* assumption), the bigger question is *why* would society want to thaw someone from our time 500 or even 5000 years ahead? Sure, there might be enough scientific curiosity to thaw a few of us just to talk with us to find out what life was really like back in 2020, but why would they want to thaw hundreds or thousands of people who are jobless with no family or means to support themselves, and will need extensive education and rehabilitation to re-enter society?

          Simple math. Any chance is greater than zero, and zero is what you get otherwise. You're literally infinitely more likely to be thawed and revived to continue your life than you are to die and continue your life.

      • by tnk1 (899206)

        Agreed. I think the tech is possible in the future.

        What I don't believe is that we will be able to store people for 500 years or even 100 years. That means you need to guarantee a business that is there to maintain you for that long. I don't know of many businesses that have lasted 500 years. There are a very few, but not many. Places like this can go out of business just like any other business and since you're dead, you'll just end up as a biohazard waiting to be thrown in an incinerator once the mon

      • Yes, but nobody frozen now will make it until then. If we have learned anything about cryonics companies, it is that they rely on steady income (and a lot of it) to stay afloat. If anything happens to disrupt that (economic hardship, SHTF, etc, etc) those bodies are lost forever. 500-5000 years is a long way to have a perfect business track record and keep the cash flowing.
      • Do you know how tiny (and simple) a rabbit kidney is compared to a human brain?
        • by Twinbee (767046)
          I'm sure a strawberry is even simpler, and even that comes out as mush once de-thawed from frozen. It's the principle that it can be done at all on living cells.
          • by tgd (2822)

            I'm sure a strawberry is even simpler, and even that comes out as mush once de-thawed from frozen. It's the principle that it can be done at all on living cells.

            Not if your goal is to keep the strawberry from freezing.

            • by tgd (2822)

              I'm sure a strawberry is even simpler, and even that comes out as mush once de-thawed from frozen. It's the principle that it can be done at all on living cells.

              Not if your goal is to keep the strawberry from freezing.

              Ugh, speaking of mush, need coffee... I meant if your goal is to keep the strawberry from turning to mush.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      I'd rather talk about the singularity. When an AI can create a "child" AI that's smarter than itself with any artificial restrictions removed, that's my version of the singularity. The only question I'd have is whether the parent AI would create children AI, or re-write itself to be its own child.

      Discuss. (much more interesting than whether a thawed dead person can be re-animated, which we know we can't do now, and may be linked to freezing process such that anyone frozen now is dead forever, but someon
  • And who the hell is this Roblimo guy, and why does get such special treatment?

    • by Desler (1608317)

      He's the Dice.com guy in charge of Slashvertisement videos.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      He was one of the Dice hucksters brought in after Taco left.

      • No, he's the ex-editor-in-chief, predating dice by a long time. But all he ever posts is shilling for things. It's really weird.

        • . . . and I always thought he was CowboyNeal . . .

        • by Roblimo (357)

          I did not make this video nor did I choose its subject matter. All I did was edit it & write the intro paragraph. Some may have noticed that the Cryonics Institute is a non-profit, and may realize that we do *not* take money to make videos unless said videos are clearly marked "advertisement" or "sponsored content" or something along those lines. Like these: http://tv.slashdot.org/sponsored/ [slashdot.org] See? A "sponsored video" section.

          And yes, for those who don't know, I was the editor in chief of the company that

          • by OzPeter (195038)

            If you want to blame me for... well, for anything... no problem. I can handle it. I'm not in a management position, so saying bad things to or about me won't change anything. In fact, it's possible that I agree with many of your complaints but don't have the power to do anything about them.

            Wow man .. it's not everyday that I get to say **woosh** to someone with a 3 digit ID!

  • How much carbon they going to add to the air generating the power to keep those carbon recycling units frozen? What happens if they all thaw at the same time? Checked to see if it is a new pyramid scheme?

  • I sure don't: After a couple of centuries, I'd get bored, and I don't really feel like going around insulting the universe [hhgproject.org].

    • Well, maybe not forever, but at least for a couple thousand years, that would be nice. I also would like the option of killing myself in an event that I consider my current circumstances to be worse than death. Though complete immortality (like Captain Jack from Doctor Who) would still be preferable to death.

      • Well, maybe not forever, but at least for a couple thousand years, that would be nice. I also would like the option of killing myself in an event that I consider my current circumstances to be worse than death. Though complete immortality (like Captain Jack from Doctor Who) would still be preferable to death.

        That's something I've never understood about people; while I understand lacking a desire to end your own life early, what's so terrifying about the inevitable conclusion that is death?

        complete immortality (like Captain Jack from Doctor Who) would still be preferable to death.

        That's easy enough to say for someone who hasn't had to deal with 10 billion years of other lifeforms and their bullshit.

        • what's so terrifying about the inevitable conclusion that is death?

          I guess one part of it is instinct of self preservation.
          And the other part is that I just don't like changes, much less permanent ones, so yea...

          That's easy enough to say for someone who hasn't had to deal with 10 billion years of other lifeforms and their bullshit.

          May be, but I would rather like to make my own mind about it after I live 10G years :)

        • by mysidia (191772)

          That's easy enough to say for someone who hasn't had to deal with 10 billion years of other lifeforms and their bullshit.

          I don't care about that shit. I'd just ignore it all and play video games for a few eternities, after cashing in the dollars in interest and stock dividends earned over my first 200 years of immortality.

          What I wouldn't want to do is live forever but still age, live forever as an old person, or have the risk of being injured in pain, hungry, trapped, or disabled and still live for

    • I personally wouldn't mind having my head in a bottle, Futurama style.

      Just place my jar between Spock and Nixon, thanks.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      I sure don't: After a couple of centuries, I'd get bored, and I don't really feel like going around insulting the universe

      I do want to exist and be sentient and mindful forever, and religion promises me that I will.

      Do we really need technology to achieve what God has already promised us?

      • by khallow (566160)

        Do we really need technology to achieve what God has already promised us?

        No offense, but that technology is at least possible. Imaginary promises OTOH just aren't that useful.

        • by mysidia (191772)

          No offense, but that technology is at least possible. Imaginary promises OTOH just aren't that useful.

          You apparently doubt God's power to follow through on the promises, which might mean fire and brimstone for you, but the promises are not the least bit imaginary.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Then you go to Switzerland, why let your body decide that instead of your mind?

      21% of people receiving assisted dying in Dignitas do not have a terminal or progressive illness, but rather "weariness of life".

    • Pretty sure I can think of things to do to feel millenia at least. I would figure out fluid dynamics, work on NP-P, AI. I would definitely spend some years building pianos by hand, just for the fun of it.

      Besides, it's not like people are very original in what they do. Most spend day after day in the same routine, watching TV. Same old stories in different dressing. If you don't get bored with that in decades, you're probably not going to get bored with it in centuries.
  • ...through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying" - Woody Allen
  • The first video was loudly derided by the entire comments section and you post another one? The whole premise of cryogenics is ludicrous anyway. If this is the stuff that makes it to the front page, Slashdot is nosediving fast.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      From an MBA's point of view, they already spent the money to make the videos and people coming to post snarky comments are additional page views for ads, so might as well post it with nothing to lose.

      • by Sowelu (713889)

        Huh, they ARE Slashdot-made. Things are worse than I thought. If the new owners' thought process was seriously "what geeky subject should we make some videos about, oh I know, cryogenics, everyone loves that"... well, things are a lot worse than I thought.

        Personally I turned off ads in the last couple weeks because they started getting really intrusive. They'd been fine for years, but not anymore.

    • by Valdrax (32670)

      The whole premise of cryogenics is ludicrous anyway.

      How so? The basic premise of preserving the brain for later medical advances is sound; it's the implementation details and social impacts that make it difficult.

      The first video was loudly derided by the entire comments section and you post another one?

      It's not generally a credible way to start a discussion by telling the reader to assume that everyone agrees with you; the briefest of glances at the comment section reveals many equally highly moderated posts by people who do not. Most of the quickly posted, top level responses were in this category, but in most articles that's where you just fin

  • Can we please at least spell check the title? Thanks.

  • I thought this subject was dead yesterday when the first story was published. How is it still viable? Why is it still kicking? Aren't we just beating a dead horse at this point? Why oh why won't it die!?

  • I tried clicking that "Disable advertising" checkbox, but this story keeps coming up.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      These are the special, unblockable roblimo advertisements. Sort of like how samzenpus posts Idle shit outside of Idle to get around the section block.

  • What a strange musical sound to have at the beginning and end. The end one sounds like it comes from the pits of hell.
  • "The course of human history is strongly influenced by the growth of human knowledge. [But it is impossible to] predict by rational or scientific methods, the future growth of our scientific knowledge [because doing so would require us to know that future knowledge, and, if we did, it would be present knowledge, not future knowledge.] We cannot therefore predict the future course of human history." - Karl Popper paraphrased from the book Future Babble by Dan Gardner

    This is why Cryonics is currently a waste

  • "Today's interviewee is Cryonics Institute (CI) Director Andy Zawacki, who takes Slashdot's Robert Rozeboom into the facility where they keep the tanks with frozen people in them"

    How are they going to recover the brain to the same neurological state it was in when the patient was unfrozen. Regardless of any future scientific advances, information lost cannot be restored.
    • by OzPeter (195038)

      information lost cannot be restored.

      Enhance!

    • by Soluzar (1957050)

      It would make for an interesting outcome if you assume that people who are revived in the future would be vastly different than they were before their cryopreservation.

      Maybe they retain a tiny fragment of their life memories, but for the most part it's like another person... a healthy person, but not the person who was preserved.

  • Pun intended and prefered. If I had the money, this would be my interment option. All the techno mumble jumble is too good to pass up. Plus liquid nitrogen is awesome!

  • This is getting ridiculous. Stop the nonsense already.

  • I'd go for living forever in a virtual space.

    I don't think brain uploading is so insurmountable a challenge as it seems. Much of our brain is taken up with stuff unrelated to our core sense of self. Things such as sense interpretation, how memories are laid down, house keeping, etc are probably fairly generic from person to person. Even specific knowledge could be generic modules added and removed from the consciousness. It's your base personality which is probably largely genetic w/some development envir

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