formulating calibrated insights computing probable understanding predicting precise futures exploring intelligent forecasts modeling quantitative predictions mapping the future forecasting critical insights generating quantitative insights predicting quantitative wisdom assembling quantitative insights forecasting definitive futures forecasting accurate understanding composing critical insights crowdsourcing quantitative contingencies

Question

Metaculus Help: Spread the word

If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.

If you die today and get cryonically frozen, will you "wake up"?

Individual death has long been attributed a 100% long-term probability. But for just as long, there have been desires, schemes, and claims of ways to prolong life indefinitely. In moderns times, three examples include anti-aging research (the ultimate version of which would be personal immortality), digital mind-upload, and cryonics. The latter is the subject of this question.

The basic idea is simple: upon bodily death, preserve as much structure (especially in the brain) as possible via immediate freezing, and maintain this until medical technology had advanced to the degree that the individual can be fully reconstructed – memories, personality and all – using this preserved structure. (For an entertaining long read check out this Wait-but-why piece.)

The ability to quickly freeze tissue in a structure-preserving way has steadily improved; an existing question regarding the "large brain preservation prize" discusses some of the advances. Many questions remain however, including: Is it even in principle possible to reconstruct an individual human mind out of a frozen brain? If so, how much accuracy in preservation is necessary? Do current techniques have the requisite accuracy? How advanced will the reconstruction technology be, and when would/might that exist? etc., etc.

Let's assume that an individual as of the reading of the question signs up with one of the top three (by number of currently preserved individuals).

What is the probability that the individual will "wake up" in essentially the same or better form than they died?

We'll consider success if the revived individual has full mental faculties, an essentially complete set of memories of their former life, and a personality that is at least difficult for them or others to discern from the original. We'll assume for these purposes that the individual's last heartbeat (at least for some time) occurs in a hospital or similar setting where the body can be immediately cooled and moved (if not there already) to a facility for cryonic preservation, and that the individual dies with a relatively healthy brain intact.

Note: like a few other Metaculus questions, we don't expect this to actually resolve. Rather it is a "headline" question that could fold in the results of others. Suggestions for shorter-term, resolvable questions that would bear upon the probabilities of this one are invited in the comments below.

{{qctrl.predictionString()}}

Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site

Community Stats

Metaculus help: Community Stats

Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.

When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.