Jan 27, 2016

Official Alcor Statement Concerning Marvin Minsky

Posted by in categories: cryonics, law, life extension, nanotechnology

The legal death of Marvin Minsky was publicly reported on Monday, January 25, 2016. There has been speculation on the part of numerous individuals and publications that he may have been cryopreserved by Alcor. This notice is Alcor’s formal response to inquiries on this issue.

In a public ceremony at the Extro-3 conference in 1997, nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler presented Prof. Minsky with a bracelet given to all new Alcor members. This bracelet provides emergency contact information and basic instructions. Minsky has spoken publicy many times about his advocacy of overcoming aging and the inevitability of death and about cryonics (human cryopreservation) as a last resort. He was also among the 67 signatories of the Scientists Open Letter on Cryonics and a member of Alcor’s Scientific Advisory Board. This much is public knowledge. None of this necessarily means that Prof. Minsky had cryopreservation arrangements at the time of legal death. Alcor neither confirms nor denies whether Prof. Minsky had such arrangements.

Alcor’s official response may puzzle some readers, so we would like to point out the privacy options that have been and currently are available to our members. When a member signs up for cryopreservation by Alcor, they have four options:

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  1. jdgalt says:

    The official message seems to give us three possibilities.
    (1) Minsky asked for privacy. In that case we will not hear anything more, ever. (Though if we later find out that a suspension took place about now, we can put two and two together.)
    (2) Minsky asked for privacy until after his suspension took place, but it will happen and then we’ll hear something official.
    (3) Minsky asked for privacy until after his suspension took place, and it never will, most likely because of obstruction by family members. In that case we will not hear anything more, ever.

    (They also offer the possibility that he is not a member, but I can’t believe that.)

    Alcor’s message seems to me to hint that we’ll hear more later, which suggests possibility (2) or maybe (3), and if the latter, it suggests that Alcor is fighting the obstruction, maybe in court.

    I’m content to wait and see. Alcor has a good record of dealing with these cases, though it has not always won.