From outside, the offices of America’s largest cryonic-freezing center are more befitting of Michael Scott from The Office than Philip K. Dick. Tucked away in a bland, blue-gray office park in Scottsdale, Arizona, Alcor Life Extension Foundation rests against a backdrop of a sienna-toned quilt of strip malls, ranch homes, gun clubs, and cacti stitched together with slabs of highway that seem as wide and endless as the sunset vistas. But, if I wanted to confer with frozen bodies and household pets, it turns out, I had to head to the desert.
Cryonics—the science of using sub-freezing temperatures to preserve people in the hope that resurrection may come in the future—is a pseudo Easter for atheists. Upon arriving in Alcor’s office, I counted myself among its skeptics. The nonprofit’s nine employees smiled as they buzzed amid shiny silver walls and framed photographs of the currently frozen, a sort of doctor’s office meets Deep Space Nine. Alcor has 149 bodies and heads stored at 300 degrees below zero, including a Chinese science-fiction author, a little girl from Thailand, and baseball icon Ted Williams, among others. (But not, representatives said, Walt Disney, contrary to popular belief.) And the foundation is looking to expand; more than 1,100 people, or “cryonauts,” have committed to doing the same deep freeze. About a quarter of them, Alcor says, work in technology, and most committed to the postmortem freeze in their 40s rather than their silver years, seeing the body as a hackable machine just in need of a future reboot.
I like the idea of cryonic freezing. I mean I’ll never be an astronaut so a cryonaut (as they’re called) sounds close enough.
However… I worry that some snooty hipster in the future will download my memories and then what?
It’s not like I’d be brought back to life, walking around, checking shit out in the future.
The science seems more to be just that my memories would be reviewable by some twit standing in judgement of all the times I threw french fries at my cat.