Will cryonics work?

Our view

We believe that cryonics is the best chance currently available to extend the human lifespan beyond what is possible today. The background information given here sheds some light on why we believe this and why we have established CryoPath.

The science

Cryonics is not guaranteed to work, but there are many scientists who consider that the success of cryonics is a reasonable possibility. There are almost none who say adamantly that it is a future impossibility.

In a signed letter, here is what 62 distinguished scientists said about cryonics:

‘Cryonics is a legitimate science-based endeavour … [There is] a credible possibility that cryonics performed under the best conditions achievable today can preserve sufficient neurological information to permit eventual restoration of a person to full health …’

See the complete text of what they signed.

Other informative reference materials are:

‘The Science Surrounding Cryonics,’ an MIT Technology Review article.

‘Why Cryonics Makes Sense’, a well-researched article by Tim Urban on the ‘Wait But Why’ blog. This article comprehensively discusses cryonics. It includes a review of the range of scientific opinion on cryonics, and gives the responses from those who are most familiar with the technology because they perform cryonic suspensions.

The probability of success

For an assessment of the likelihood of successful revival after a cryonic suspension, see the work of Steven Harris, a physician. He has taken the Sagan-Drake equation and applied it to cryonics to judge its probability of success. Michael Perry, a computer scientist specialising in mathematical methods, has made adjustments to this work to make it more mathematically rigorous, resulting in an improved methodology for the calculation.

Both assessments tackle the technological, environmental and social aspects of the success of cryonics. To quote Michael Perry’s conclusions:

‘In my estimation, cryonics will probably work on purely technological grounds, though there are uncertainties. When social factors are taken into consideration the outcome is less certain, maybe in the 50-50 range, but it still leaves reasonable ground for hope.’

If you wish to use your own ideas to determine how likely cryonics is to work, have a look at the Cryonics Calculator, which will give you an estimate that takes into account any concerns you may have about disasters, financial failures, and so on.