Arthur C. Clark and cryonics

Arthur C. Clark ( 1917-2008 ) was no stranger to cryonics. The famous science fiction author even assisted the cryonics organization Alcor during its legal battles. As he states in a letter in support of cryonics, “Although no one can quantify the probability of cryonics working, I estimate it is at least 90% — and certainly nobody can say it is zero.” For a long time, Alcor’s Cryonics Magazine had one subscriber in Sri Lanka, presumably Arthur C. Clark.

When asked about becoming immortal through cryonics or mind uploading, he answered that the question of immortality for humans is meaningless “since nobody really lives for more than about ten years anyway — after that we’re a different entity!” (as quoted in Ed Regis’ “Great Mambo Chicken & the Transhuman Condition”).

To many people, the demonstration of the technical feasibility of cryonics is not sufficient to make cryonics arrangements for themselves. Although cryonics can be presented as an advanced form of critical care medicine, one important difference between conventional medical treatment and cryonics is the duration of care, during which the patient is not conscious. As a consequence, contemporary cryonics is intrinsically tied to resuscitation in a far, and unknown, future. While this may be part of its appeal to some, it seems to produce feelings of angst and vulnerability in many others. This is not a trivial matter and needs careful thought by those offering cryonics services.