It is morbidly interesting to imagine the kind of world that would exist if the sorts of people who sign up for cryonics today became the immortal elite of tomorrow. I doubt if the plot would be much like that of Damien Broderick's Transcension.
An interesting quote:"In my 20 years of watching cryonics, I've never seen a more narcissistic
self-destructive bunch of people than cryonicists. Mike Darwin was right
when he once said cryonicists don't deserve cryonics."
Jim: I'm sure the cryonicists themselves, like most Robot Cultists, will decry your overgeneralization and then declare any generally observable anti-social tendencies in their subculture always only to be unrepresentative -- whereupon your observation of a worrisome general sociopathy will then trigger a facile-clever debate-club point-scoring accusation that you are the sociopath (rather like a dumb wingnut thinking it's the world's most brilliant move to decry as racist the one who exposes a racist sentiment or outcome).
Be all that as it may, one may discern that cryonicists as a cohort are not just different from the larger population only in their choice of cryonics over burial/cremation upon death (and, yes, they are dead dead dead, like everyone on earth has and will die), but are rather atypical and monolithic in other ways as well.
Given that even on their own terms they are relying on social organizations that would presumably devote themselves continuously over long time-scales to their mission it has always seemed to me that this self-marginalization was rather counter-productive, inasmuch as it would surely only be through mainstreaming themselves -- and taking on the considerable diversity of the mainstream -- could they hope to secure the organizational resilience to provide for their own care and maintenance in an ever-changing world.
Of course, the pseudo-scientificity on which their claims are based, coupled with the irrationality that drives most people into their futurological sub(cult)ure in the first place ensures that they cannot achieve such mainstream success, hence that's not a going option for them. Just as the Singularitarian Robot Cultists can never hope to be more than, say, something like the neocons (who despite the damage they did, were ultimately defeated by their own palpable irrationality), and just as the transhumanist Robot Cultists can never hope to be more than, say, something like Scientologists (who despite their considerable resources remain absurd figures in the wider world), so too cryonicists and even more so the other techno-immortalist branches of the Robot Cult (like the bio-denialist "uploaders") are doomed to perpetual marginality.
For me, these sub(cult)ures and their discourses and practices are most interesting as clarifying extremes illustrating the sorts of reductionisms, denialisms, elitisms to be found as well in more prevailing (post-enlightenment, especially neoliberal) global techno-developmental discourses.
Of course, they are also interesting on their own terms as they are taken up by the contemporary mass-media terrain, since superlative futurological formulations attract undue attention in their drama and in the way they tap into certain conspicuous pathologies in a precarious era of disruptive technoscientific change such as our own. And so I think these interesting but absurd extreme futurological views impact in terribly negative ways on public deliberation, rendering it more confused in its actual scientific claims and more irrational in the fearful and greedy passions it excites than should be the case.
Also, I do concede that Robot Cult organizations and personalities deserve at least some scrutiny on their own terms, whatever their marginality, just because -- to return to my earlier examples of the coterie of neocons or the Church of Scientology -- foolish extreme social/cultural formations can occasionally do great mischief in the world for a time -- especially when they provide ready rationales for incumbent interests -- and so need watching.