New technology (such as Biostasis) always has the potential to change the world for the better or worse. It can take decades or even centuries until people realize the impact it can have. This uncertainty has rarely — if ever — hindered progress in the long run. However, it’s still prudent to think about what effects might be expected. Especially, if you’re actively working on something fundamentally new.
As explained before, I’ve decided to dedicate the next decades of my life to improving, scaling and promoting Biostasis. One of the reasons I decided to do so is that I strongly believe that it will change the world for the better. While I briefly touched upon the topic before, here I will argue the case in more depth.
No matter where you look, the world has a problem with long-term thinking. For example, CEOs optimize for short term wins instead of long-term success. Entire industries build on perfecting instant gratification (such as mobile gaming). Society has a disregard for preventative medicine and an underestimation of century-defining disasters. Climate change is one of the most famous, but far from only, trouble arising on the horizon.
In general, slow progressing problems that are far in the future are especially difficult for most to care about. Humanity by and large operates on an “out of sight, out of mind system”.
People are comfortable ignoring potentially catastrophic issues that could affect us in the far future. One of the reasons for this is that people feel that they will not be affected themselves — they will be long dead by then.
The prospect of living again in the future, provides a personal reason for why long-term, far in the future issues are important. Albeit unfortunate, egoistical motivations are usually strong ones. Of course, no one wants to wake up in a dystopian future devoid of nature and ravaged by war and inequality. You want to wake up in a world that’s similar to the current one, just better in every regard imaginable. With the prospect of future life, people now have an incentive to work towards thus ensuring a positive future. Importantly and potentially most impactful, people have an incentive to instill these values in the rest of society and culture. People that want to be cryopreserved want to wake up in a better future. This means they need to make sure others are building a better world while they’re in cryopreservation.
While there are other ways to incentivize long-term thinking and caring, most of them are very “theoretical.” Biostasis provides a more tangible personal upside, which for most is a much stronger motivator.
If you create a plan for your future life this changes what is personally most beneficial to do now and until you’re preserved in Biostasis. Once revived, the future society will assess the positive impact you had during your “first life.” If you had optimized for personal power or vain metrics of success in your first (aka current) life, in the future you will realize that those things were not important. One would need to plan for the fact that actions will be evaluated by others with decades of hindsight. Having a positive impact for the (long-term) future will become the best course of action for anyone that wants to continue their life in the future.
Furthermore, it will in fact provide instant gratification. Since other people would be planning to live again in that bright future they have an incentive to promote the thinking and actions that bring it about. These very actions would bring fame and recognition in the here and now. In short, for anybody that believes they will live again in the future, focusing on long-term positive impact has both beneficial short and long-term effects.
In a liberal society, many consider choice a good thing. While less tangible than other advantages, the option for Biostasis should be considered a positive impact as it offers just that: a choice. It offers a choice where there was none prior. You have the opportunity to choose the possibility of continuing your life in the future. Moreover, at some point it is imaginable that Biostasis preservation can offer other benefits. For example, you could pause life for a while or arrange long range travel (i.e. to another planet).
Personal benefit is — for better or for worse — a strong motivator. This is important as humans are moved by instant gratification much more than they are by delayed gratification. Biostasis leads to a positive future by aligning personal incentives with building the future.
I’ve made the case why Biostasis has a positive impact and brings about much needed long-term thinking. Arguably, there are downsides or counterarguments to that claim. Let me briefly address the most common ones.
Currently intergenerational wealth is accumulated at the family level — children inherit wealth from their parents and pass it on. While Biostasis might change the method of accumulation, it does not make it worse. In fact, due to the new incentive model explained above more funds might be used to bring about positive change instead of just being accumulated.
Biostasis contracts start at ≈USD 30.000 in 2021. While this is not cheap, middle income families in the US have an approximate net wealth of USD 115.200 (2016 data). This puts them well within the required range to be able to afford Biostasis. On a global scale the situation changes substantially of course. Currently, most people would not be able to afford high quality Biostasis. This is not unique to this field, but holds true for many similar fields, from cancer treatments to nutrition. While Biostasis will become significantly more affordable at scale, independent solutions to reduce the global wealth gap are required.
Biostasis has no chance of leading to overpopulation any time soon. Even with 100x growth, less than 1M people would be signed up, resulting in less than 0.001% additional people in the future. But let’s assume billions of people would sign up and be woken up in the future. Even then it would most likely not cause problems since a) population growth is expected to level off at 11B, b) earth is able to support more people with technologies such as vertical farming, fusion reactors etc., and c) in the long run humanity is not limited to living on earth.
One claim states that new ideas and progress come about due to the proponents of the status quo literally dying off. While this is primarily a problem with life extending technologies more so than with Biostasis technology, it has some merit. I don’t think there is a clear solution. However, society must improve finding societal structures that support progress without the need for old people to die will be something independently from Biostasis.
While Biostasis requires relevant funds that could be used differently, I would argue that its positive impact outweighs the alternatives. Long-term thinking and incentivizing action for long-term positive impact brings about great returns. This is perhaps more beneficial than a person spending a few hundred thousand dollars (the cost of the highest quality biostasis procedure) on other causes.
Partly, yes. Expecting to live in the far future, leads to being invested in that future. So the belief that life extension will become available soon would indeed have a positive, similar effect. But there are relevant differences. Until real longevity/life extension treatments are available, a Biostasis contract brings a more tangible reason to believe one will be alive in the future. On the other hand, there is a high probability the longevity and life extension sector will go through a typical “valley of disillusion” some time in the next years. This would reduce its positive effect on long-term thinking for years. Signing up for Biostasis is possible right now and it will only become clear if Biostasis “works” far in future. While this long duration of uncertainty is not a positive in itself, it incentivizes long-term thinking for the next decades.
— My organization, Tomorrow Biostasis, works on making Biostasis better, easily accessible and scalable. So I might be a bit biased, but I think the arguments hold. If you’re interested in learning more about Biostasis, schedule a consultation here.