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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.


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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.

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