Expats Like Cryonics

At the end of that ABC Good Morning America segment on cryonics, they pointed viewers to a poll on “Would you have your body cryonically frozen after death?”  Out of 15,335 answers so far, 78% said “No, that’s too weird!”, 14% “I’m not sure”, and 8% “Yes, I believe in the science.” Of course these are mostly made up opinions; far less than 8% of the show’s 4.6 million viewers of the show will actually sign up. (Over forty years, only two thousand have signed up worldwide.)

Interestingly, the poll website shows a graphic that breaks votes down by location, and the 274 who live outside the US, probably expats, like cryonics the most – 18% say yes and 19% not sure. Arizona, where the cryonics provider Alcor is located, is second at, 13% yes, 14% not sure, out of 146. (I ignore Rhode Island, with only 26 votes.) Are people more comfortable with moving to foreign lands also more comfortable with moving to the future?!

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  • Someone from the other side

    Either that or the expat are part of a mobile elite which is more technology friendly.

    (The general use of the word expat pretty much implies they are the elite, as opposed to migrant workers who are pretty much the opposite)

  • http://www.gwern.net/plastination gwern

    Hm, why not? That seems plausible just on a general appetite for risk – moving overseas is perceived as very risky, and cryonics is extremely risky. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    I suppose the next thing to check would be whether expats are less risk-averse in general, and then whether they are more favorable to cryonics than other less risk-averse groups (to check whether it is the expats’ lack of risk aversion alone or in combination with another possible trait – lack of religiosity? Education or income?)

  • Abelard Lindsey

    That’s what I’ve been telling people ever since I moved to Japan in 1991. I lived as an expat for 10 years and found that American expats were much more open-minded about cryonics (and radical life extension) than the “stay-at-home” types back here in the states. I found this to be true about Australian expats as well.

    The reason should be intuitively obvious to anyone who has been an expat or who uses their brain for thinking. Expats like freedom and adventure. They also have no attachment or desire to live the “conventional life cycle” based life. That’s why they’re expats (DUH!!!!).

    For some reason, the momos back here can’t seem to wrap their heads around this point.

  • Abelard Lindsey

    Are people more comfortable with moving to foreign lands also more comfortable with moving to the future?!

    This should also be intuitively obvious to anyone who has been an expat or uses their brain for thinking. I moved to Japan in 1991 and lived there for a decade. I created a whole new life for myself. I considered it training wheels for moving into the future (and coming out of suspension).

    Either that or the expat are part of a mobile elite which is more technology friendly.

    I found this to not be the case. The English teachers and other hanger-ons were as open-minded to cryonics as anyone on a fancy corporate package. If anything more so. Those on the fancy corporate packages (which is declining by the way) were less open-minded and expat like. The reason is that they tended to live in the exclusive “gaijin” areas and tended to associate with other gaijin. It was the adventure-oriented “lonely-planet” types who were most open-minded about cryonics and life extension, as well as those who came over on their own.

  • Chris

    Obviously there is a selection bias. If you are an expat you have already demonstrated a willingness to think for yourself and not to be bound to the conventional.

  • acertainshadeofgreen

    In the business we call this “openness to experience.” :)

  • http://www.marketingeconomist.com Peter St Onge

    I wouldn’t be surprised if expats are among the most Caplanian “thinking like economist” groups out there.

    I wonder what distinguishes them from non-expats – innate personality type enabled by upbringing?

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  • Robert Wiblin

    No, the people who visited the site and voted from the USA were just average Joes who watch Good Morning America. They are more random assortment of Americans. People who visited the Good Morning America site and voted that day from overseas were technology enthusiasts who got a link through your blog or another futurist site.

    • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

      Beat me to it.

    • http://codeandculture.wordpress.com Gabriel Rossman

      yup. see the trackback for my overly elaborate argument about selectivity that you put much more simply.

  • http://chronopause.com/ Mike Darwin

    Assuming that expats comprise most of the contingent of non-US English speakers/writers is a bit dicey (and dare I say, a bit biased). I am out of the US as much as I can be and, being mono-lingual, I watch whatever news programming is available in English. My preference is for the BBC. When I access news programming from my computer, it’s often BBC and then NBC Nightly News, the latter because it gives me the best feel for what’s seen to be important in the news cycle in the US. However, I often watch other English language news feeds. I am also often surrounded by, or in close contact with expats, and they too tend to focus their news gathering attention on the BBC. So am I British or American in a BBC poll? Am I an expat, or just a guy who wants to stay outside the US as much as possible?

    Even more to the point, what is an expat? Others who have commented here note that there is a difference between the “corporate packaged expat” and the “hotel cook or maid expat.” This is true. In my experience expats break down into two classes: those who are living abroad because they have to out of economic necessity or economic desire, and those who WANT to live abroad. You can be a service worker from Brazil in London or Madrid, and be one those people who love being abroad and in a new culture, or you can be a corporate-posted, pole up the arse whinger, who hates every moment outside of his home country.

    It’s the expats who not just tolerate the intense jumble of novel, often confusing, and sometimes threatening stimuli that accompany living in a different culture that are, at least in my very limited experience, open to cryonics, and who are almost never knee-jerk opposed to it. Look carefully at some of the people who are now cryopreserved. Consider people like Violet Jones, Stanley Penska, Bob Binkowski, and many others like them. They are remarkable for their extraordinary ordinariness; and that is what makes them both a marvel and a valuable lesson for those trying to identify the (or at least a) target market for cryonics.

    • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

      The main point is that folks who hear of ABC news polls but lives outside the US are especially open to cryonics. My guess is that most of these folks are people who used to live in the US, but I’m open to data indicating otherwise.

  • Rafal

    “Are people more comfortable with moving to foreign lands also more comfortable with moving to the future?!”

    Yes! Born in Poland, living in VA, Alcor # 1941.

    • Abelard Lindsey

      Awesome!!!

  • Abelard Lindsey

    Of course I know that the vast majority of people are not into cryonics. If someone is not into cryonics, no one is about to force them to do it. It’s a personal choice. However, I do not understand how anyone can be “opposed” to cryonics, meaning that they believe other people should not be into it. This is quite irrational. It makes no more sense to be “opposed” to cryonics any more than it would be to doing bodybuilding workouts or kite surfing (both of which I do).

    In psychology, boundary issues are defined as being obsessed with the actions of others as though it is proper that you have control over those other people. This is considered a marker of psychiatric disorder. Since the pursuit of cryonics is purely a personal choice, to oppose the right of a private individual to pursue it, especially if that person is a complete stranger to you, can be considered a psychiatric disorder.

  • Abelard Lindsey
  • JB

    And apparently people living in a state that supports the jailing and mandatory ID carrying of brown people because they have the gall to be born in mexico are the second most likely to try cryonics. So I guess the main cryonics users are not just expats but maybe racists also?

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  • http://edwardedmonds.com/ Edward J. Edmonds

    I’m an expat in Germany by choice along with my expat wife. I’m ready to be frozen! Seriously I told my wife when we first got married: “…when I die put a manikin in the coffin and donate my body to science or have it frozen…”

    I think there is good reason to believe that people who are willing to relocate for the sake of it are also more “open” to the possibilities of technology, even the ones who relocate trying to escape “complicated” life and society. While life is simple you still have those fancy devices that make you modern but you have unfinished floors and used rugs. Appreciating simple living but embracing the future. Aesthetic but functional living… though not to be confused with douche-bag hipster living.

    After being here for since ’06 I can say for certain that looking back and reading the things going on in the US… a lot of people back home live in a fish tank, for the fish looking out the light shines through a bit different than when your standing on the outside looking in.

    Freeze me.