Hangout on Air: The Future of Cryonics (Sunday Dec. 1)

November 30, 2013

What lies in the future for cryonics — the practice of low-temperature suspended animation of people who have died of an incurable disease, in the hope of a future cure?

This London Futurists Hangout on Air will feature a live discussion between an international panel of people with practical experience of the world of cryonics: Max More, Anders Sandberg, Natasha Vita-More, and Garret Smyth.

The discussion aims to cover:

• Recent developments in the world of cryonics, and anticipated future improvements

• Why has the take-up of cryonics been comparatively low so far, and what steps might change that state of affairs

• Objections to cryonics – and responses to the objections

• Cryonics in context – new attitudes towards death and technology

Live questions

Viewers of the live broadcast on Google+ will be able to vote in real time on questions and suggestions to be discussed by the panellists as the Hangout proceeds. Give ‘+1′ votes to the suggestions you most like.

Event logistics:

This event will take place between 7pm and 8.30pm UK time on Sunday 1st December.

You can view the event:

• On Google+, via the page https://plus.google.com/+DavidWood_dw2/posts – where you’ll also be able to vote on questions to be submitted to the panelists

• Via YouTube (the URL will be published here 15 minutes prior to the start of the event).

There is no charge to participate in this discussion.

Note: There is no central physical location for this meetup.However, you may consider meeting with a few friends in the same locality, and watching the event together.

About the panelists:

Max More, President and CEO of Alcor.

An internationally recognized advocate of the effective and ethical use of technology for life extension and cryopreservation, Dr Max More brings experience in running non-profit organizations, many years of analyzing and writing about business organizations, and a long commitment to Alcor’s mission. More joined Alcor in 1986 as its 67th member, founded Alcor-UK (originally Mizar Limited) in the same year, and has participated in several cryopreservations. Dr. More co-founded and until 2007 acted as Chairman of Extropy Institute, an educational non-profit organization that created the modern “transhumanist” movement, whose goals centrally include extending healthy human life span.

More has a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from St. Anne’s College, Oxford University (1984-87). He was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship in Philosophy in 1987 by the University of Southern California. He studied and taught philosophy at USC with an emphasis on philosophy of mind, ethics, and personal identity, completing his Ph.D. in 1995, with a dissertation that examined issues including the nature of death, and what it is about each individual that continues despite great change over time.

Marvin Minsky, “the father of artificial intelligence”, said of Dr. More: “We have a dreadful shortage of people who know so much, can both think so boldly and clearly, and can express themselves so articulately.”

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University.

Dr Anders Sandberg is a James Martin research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University.

As a part of the Oxford Martin School he is involved in interdisciplinary research on cognitive enhancement, neurotechnology, global catastrophic risks, emerging technologies and applied rationality.

Anders has been writing about and debating transhumanism, future studies, cryonics, neuroethics and related questions since the 1990s. His comprehensive site http://www.aleph.se/Trans/Individual/Cryonics/ on cryonics issues dates to March 2000.

Anders is also an associate of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, as well as co-founder of the Swedish think tank Eudoxa.

Natasha Vita-More, Chair, Humanity+.

Dr Natasha Vita-More is a frequent guest speaker on topics concerning the future and technology. She is founder of H+lab and best known for creating the first future human prototype “Primo Posthuman”. Her writings have been published in numerous books, including The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future, and she has appeared in more than twenty-four televised documentaries and featured in magazines including The New York Times, Wired, Village Voice, Flaunt, Harper’s Bazaar, U.S. News & World Report, Net Business, and Teleopolis.

Natasha is a Professor at the University of Advancing Technology, a Fellow at Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and Fellow at Hybrid Reality Institute. She was formerly president of Extropy Institute from 2002-2005.

As a bit of history, Natasha authored the “Transhuman Manifesto” (1983), Create/Recreate: the 3rd Millennial Culture (cybernetic culture and the future of humanism and the arts and sciences). In the early 1990s, she produced and hosted the transhumanist TV show “Transcentury UPdate”. She is the host and producer of H+TV.

Garret Smyth, UK cyronics pioneer.

A very early memory of Garret’s is, at the age of about 5, of being in a roomful of adults and asking one of them if they didn’t get more worried as they got older because they were closer to death. The adults were delighted by this, coming out of the mouth of a small child. Garret still doesn’t understand why people make so little effort to stay alive. It is sad to note that he is the only one of the people that were there who is still alive.

Inspired by a BBC documentary in 1980 he took a keen interest in cryonics. He and a friend he made through cryonics, Max, visited Alcor in 1986 where they signed up on the spot. On returning to the UK they founded Mizar (later to become Alcor UK) and the first serious cryonics organization outside the USA was started. Max later emigrated, leaving Garret as the first UK resident signed up for cryonics. What happened to Max? See elsewhere on this page!

Garret has had a varied career but transhumanist/cryonics related aspects have been appearances advocating cryonics in a wide range of media, both of the broadcast and of the flattened tree pulp variety, in the UK and abroad, and a lot of day to day mundane work for Alcor UK. He also organised TransVision MM, the first transhumanist conference in the UK (in the year 2000). He has a degree in neuroscience. He was active in cryonics for many years but until recently was taking a break. He is making a come-back to the field with a cryonics related blog and would be most grateful for suggestions from the audience for a snappy title (NB: – for which the URL is still available).

In his spare time Garret looks for interesting places to go in his amphibious car – this July he drove to Venice and sailed up the Grand Canal.

Some useful background viewing:

This recent 4 minute ‘NOVA’ video shown on PBS, features Max More and Alcor: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/cryonics.html.

This 90 second clip from the UK’s Channel4 ’4 thought’ series features Garret Smyth explaining his viewpoint about Cryonics: http://www.4thought.tv/themes/have-we-lost-sight-of-the-sanctity-of-death/garrett-smyth