Human Popsicle

I'm going to be a human popsicle! What might that entail?

Xander Dunn, 31 January 2024

It's me. Except for the beer, I would never drink beer because 1) Beer tastes horrific to me, and 2) Alcohol is poison, along with sugar and plastic. 😉

I'm doing Alcor, which will cryonically preserve my body after I die. It's another chance at living forever if all these pills, exercise, diet, and rampant technological progress don't manage to keep my sack of carbon going long enough to hit escape velocity on the human lifespan. I was on a stack of pills the size of Bryan Johnson's pill stack when Bryan Johnson was still a Mormon intent on dying and going to Kolob. Still, I'm not super optimistic that everything in our lifetimes will be enough to achieve lifespan escape velocity. I hope Kurzweil and de Grey are right, but I'm not as optimistic as they are. Alcor is $450/year + a life insurance policy that pays out to Alcor. I chose a life insurance policy considerably higher than baseline necessary and pay $240/month for it. Both numbers are considerably lower for younger people, but ancient people such as myself who may die at any second of any day must pay a higher premium.

Put me in the freezer, right now!

Does it preserve enough information? No, probably not. I don't know. You don't know. No one knows. There are probably some rapid changes happening in the brain right as death occurs, and I expect more information would be preserved if the body were frozen prior to death rather than after death. Alas, this would be assisted suicide and comes with all sorts of legal and moralistic finger-wagging, so that's not how it can be done right now. I've also heard rumor of some efforts to use biological tricks to improve preservation. For example, frogs do some biological magic to prevent their cells from bursting even at 0C or sub-0 temperatures.

I must have an incredibly high opinion of myself to think it's worth storing my body and introducing more of myself to the world in the future! Indeed I must, and I'd say the same of anyone who has children. You must have an incredibly high opinion of yourself to think the world needs more copies of you in particular. So we can call it even and agree that we're all sub-clinical narcissists. I think there are some ways to offset this, but I also think "look at me, I make donations," is the wrong reason to be altruistic, so I'll leave it at that. I recommend starting with Wren. If you believe climate change is a problem and you are reading this, you should be offsetting yourself. At least I am excited about being alive, healthy, and productive, and I think the world could use more of those people.

Potential Outcomes

Whatever outcome one finds most likely probably says more about oneself than it does about either science or human nature. Personally, the outcome I find most likely, if any continuity of consciousness is possible at all, is some digital representation with access to some simulation(s). As I mentioned above I think it's vital for that simulation to have access to some physical robot that it can control in the physical base reality that we all now inhabit. A strong complication to this is the very same complication we face ourselves today: As a reconstituted consciousness, how would I know whether I'm in a simulation or not? The simulation would have to achieve a certain fidelity to trick me, given sufficient continuity of memories, or my memories could have simply been edited. I could be told that I'm in a physical human body in the same physical world I inhabited when I was alive the first time and have no way of proving or disproving this. It's also possible that the first thousands of attempts they tried I did figure out it was a simulation and then finally the current iteration is good enough that I can't tell. Similarly, we so far have no way of proving or disproving that our universe is a simulation in some base reality. I'd greatly prefer having all available truth and some physical presence in the base reality that we inhabit now.

Wake me up when the Matrioshka brain has broken the Planck constant.