2007-05-25

Conference: Advances in Human Cryopreservation, May 18-20, 2007 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A.

Notes Part 3 of 4

Note: These are just my summaries from my notes. As a layperson with bad handwriting and poor memory, I am sure I will have introduced errors that are not to be attributed to the speakers! Blame me not them if something is wrong or doesn’t make sense…

Rudi Hoffman kicked off a new sort of panel, one focused on the financial implications of cryonics. Rudi is the most prominent life insurance agent and financial planner for cryonicists. (Most cryonics arrangements are funded by an ordinary life insurance policy.) Rudi reminded us that dead people, in US law, have no legal standing.

Those who plan to become suspension patients can make arrangements for their post-resuscitation finances by forming trusts. The problems with trusts include malfeasance of the trustees, incomplete instructions, potential conflict of interest (between the trustee and the patient, e.g., with regard to spending the money on resuscitation), investment performance, tax liability issues, disgruntled “heirs”, inadequate funding, and government interference.

Rudi’s recommendations include getting professional advice, making an informed choice of trustees, updating your plan, and overfunding into multiple accounts. To be included among the latter, Rudi proposes a “3-legged stool”: the Hoffman Prototype Dynasty Trust, the Liechtenstein Reanimation Foundation, and the Alcor Personal Reanimation Trust.

Tanya Jones explained a bit more about the Alcor Personal Reanimation Trust, which is still in formation. It is envisioned as a master trust, with each patient having a “sub-trust” overseen by a “Conservator”. The trust would release funds to a “reanimated” individual if he/she meets certain conditions, such as having the “same body” or the “same brain”. Tough luck for modified clones, 3-d reprinted bodies, or uploads! Apparently, current legal language is simply not able to provide criteria for personal identity that would apply to ‘whole body emulations’.

Ben Best added that 20 US states now allow perpetual trusts (not, unfortunately, my own Florida).

Ben briefly alluded to the problems that would arise if legal death is not declared, which presumably would be the case if reversible suspended animation were ever widely recognized as feasible. One can only imagine the hurricane of legal and institutional (health care) changes that await us when that time comes.

The venerable Saul Kent opened with the best one-liner of the conference, summing up the progress on all his many life extension projects: “Everything is subject to delays, except for aging.”

Saul introduced a new initiative to work on the legal rights of cryopreserved patients, in particular: (1) the right to be maintained in cryopreservation; (2) the right to be revived; and (3) the right to retain all of his/her assets sufficient to accomplish (1) and (2). He recognized the unfortunate fact that this will be a long, difficult struggle. He also stated that he would like to see work toward new laws relating to cryopreservation itself – that would allow those pronounced terminally ill to be cryopreserved immediately (with appropriate safeguards) and that would provide for the patient to be officially recognized as *not dead* and as retaining his or her legal rights as a person. I have a feeling this will not come to pass until reversible suspended animation is acknowledged as close to being realized.

Saul went into unusual detail about the arrangements he is considering for his own revival. His trustees will have their work cut out for them, trying to make sure Saul is revived not too soon and not too late, making sure multiple attempts at revival are not precluded, and matching his criteria for establishing his personal identity. Among the latter are that the person in question is absolutely sure he is Saul, any remaining relatives and friends agree he is Saul, all available records of him are consistent with his being Saul, and the consensus of authorities in the “reanimation science” of the future agree he is Saul.

He will also “incentivize” his revival by providing for the creation of a “Committee of Protectors” (not the trustees) who will be paid only a little until Saul’s cryopreservation, then will be paid a bit more for regular meetings and reports after that, and then will be paid more than that for each attempt at his revival, with the ultimate payoff being for his successful reanimation. Apparently, small amounts of money would also be paid to unsuccessful reanimated pseudo-Sauls so that they could continue their lives as whatever-they-want-to-call-themselves, and such persons would even serve as advisors to the Committee of Protectors.

This made even my future-proofed head swim. All I can say against it, though, is that he seems to have “incentivized” multiple attempts at revival. Personally, I would prefer my “friends in the future” wait until they know what they are doing before they try to bring me back!

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