Up until the late 20th century, when an individual died, they had two choices:

  1. Burial -- rot in the ground, or

  2. Cremation -- go up in smoke.

    Now there's a third choice:

  3. Cryonics -- be frozen in the hope that future technology and people will bring you back to life.

A few companies are already offering the service. They freeze you slowly, eventually storing you in liquid nitrogen inside a stainless steel canister.

You can pay up front, or else you can open a life insurance policy for an equal or larger amount and list the cryonics company as the beneficiary.

The costs of storing people are not great. Once you've paid for the stainless steel canister and all the labor, transport, equipment and overhead for getting the deceased from their place of death to the cryonics morgue and into the canister, from that point in time onward the main cost is replacing liquid nitrogen that boils off. That is a very small cost. The cryonics company will have some of your money left over after you're in the canister. They can make money off the interest on the money left over. They can put money into your credit account to compensate for inflation and skim the rest off as profit. Cryonics companies, if set up very well legally and administratively, should be one of the most solid and long-lived businesses of today.

You can freeze your whole body or you can save money and freeze just your head. If I recall correctly, the price for freezing your whole body is around US $100,000, but freezing your head costs much less, around $40,000.

Why freeze more than your head? After all, when future people develop the technology to bring you back to life, they will also have the technology to generate a new body for you based on your DNA. They will be able to do other things, too... With the money you save by freezing your head, you can bring a loved one or a friend along, too. I've heard that some people have brought a pet along.

I think that cryonics will work. I think that technology will evolve to repair the freezing damage, and that it's not beyond statistical theory to figure out what piece goes where. It will happen.

But I do disagree with the image of how people will come back to life.

So much of the cryonics marketing literature is unrealistically hedonistic. They wake up with someone showing them amazing things. Or they are given a chance to go wild and free in a new kind of world. Some even suggest that you'd want to shed that old body with wrinkles ("tiger stripes") for a new beautiful body.

More likely is that their brain will become a museum of the 20th century in the future Internet. Others will experience the 20th century thru your memories.

Likewise, you can venture out once you learn the new reality and learn the ropes and the net. Including living virtually. Who needs a physical body?... if that's what you're into at the moment.

A few points as of the time of this writing:

  1. You will lose all your secrets. BFD. They aren't actually lost, they're gained! So don't chicken out, we're all human in this century, and that's interesting to the nonhumans who'd like to understand their instinctual animal past.

  2. You will experience things you were oblivious to in others in this century, including those you knew if they were cryonically preserved. You'll be saying "Gee, how insensitive I was, I had no idea they thought and felt [xyz]..." and then you'll get inside them and realize how insensitive and oblivious they were, too. This includes your dog if you bring them.

  3. Countless entities will have come from such different enviroments later in time that your 20th century personality will be quite different and valuable.

  4. Others will experience the past of the reader even more vividly than the reader can in this century. Like when you go about your day and you remember a dream only because of a cue in your environment, e.g., you see the stool in your afterwork pub and remember for the first time your previous nite's dream of what happened. It's there in your brain, all subconsciously.

This is a good reason to do what's best for the future, now. As Martin Luther King said, the time is always right to do what's right. Excuses will be exposed along with their faults.

Along the way, make sure you have a permanent cryonics insurance policy.

As far as I've found, there has been no philanthropic attempt to find old individuals around the world from different cultures and vastly different natural personal histories whose heads we should freeze for historical purposes when they die naturally. All the push is for individuals to buy in, mainly US individuals.

With the age of global communications and westernization, cultures are being eroded. Times are changing.

The following are some links on cryonics. A key to cryonics is nanotechnology. For this reason you will find a lot of crossreferences between cryonics and nanotechnology.

[To be added later... Anyone have any suggestions?]

Please let me know what I've missed. I'm not Internet omniscient.