When would you want to be cryogenically frozen? (And for how long?)

Illustration for article titled When would you want to be cryogenically frozen? (And for how long?)

Let's say you've been offered a working cryochamber, with its own fuel supply. You can freeze yourself whenever you want, for as long as you want. What age would you like to be when you're frozen? And when would you like to wake up?

I was at the io9 meetup this Saturday, listening to Annalee talk about her book, Octavia Butler, and the progress that humanity has to make in order to become cyborg space squids living on Titan in a million years. It occurred to me that I would like to see if that happens, but I'd have to be willing to make a couple of trade-offs.


Would I want to go to the future right away, when I had plenty of time to explore, or later, when I had already lived a good life and was willing to play the odds with a bonus year or two? And, of course, the farther into the future I went, the more it would be a risk. A hundred years from now, humanity and geology would reliably still be around — but that seems like a waste of a cryogenic chamber. A million years in the future — Annalee's projected timeline — and there's a good chance humanity will have snuffed itself out entirely, and I might just be walking around (or orbiting) a dead planet.

Illustration for article titled When would you want to be cryogenically frozen? (And for how long?)

A few people at the meetup had a problem with the mechanics of a cryogenics chamber, so at the risk of going soft science fiction on everyone, substitute whatever idea you'd like. One-way time machine, dimension-hopping, whatever you think would strand you in the future. How much of your life would you gamble, and for what possible stakes? Since I come from a family that, in the words of one relative, gets to be "older and meaner than dirt," I think I'd wait until at least age 87, and shoot for the full million years. It's merely a matter of curiosity for me — I'd like to know if there will be cyborg space squids.

I met some people who would go forward, starting at around fifty-five. One person, an architect, wanted to go at forty, and see if she could offer her skills at a time of crisis in humanity's future (although she admitted that her knowledge might be outdated if humans were, by that time, building houses out of their own bodies).


So when would you want to go? Would you pack your bags tonight and gamble on there being a Starfleet in 2250? Would you go forward at 70, and shoot for a time when there might be gene rejuvenation therapy? What are your freezing and awakening dates, respectively?

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I'd freeze myself at age 25 and have periodic defrosts every 25 years just to see how things are going and if I might want to stay.

Actually, that might not be a bad premise for a story.