According to the latest stats by Alcor, the remains of 181 people are cryopreserved inside an office building in Scottsdale, Arizona
Alcor Life Extension Foundation is a nonprofit organization located in Scottsdale, Arizona with a mission to save and extend lives with cryonics. What is cryonics, you ask? It is the preservation of human corpse, oftentimes just the head, in subfreezing conditions with the intent to resurrect them in the future. Needless to say, this hope relies on the existence of some form of future nanotechnology to restore health and life in the preserved bodies. Despite the uncertainty, around 181 humans have willingly cryopreserved themselves in Alcor’s facility in Arizona. As a result, thermos-like tanks filled with liquid nitrogen now hold their remains. The liquid nitrogen is responsible for maintaining the bodies at a temperature of minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit. A single tank can hold four whole corpses or five heads.
Alcor cryopreserved their 181st patient in August 2020. Identified only as A-2705, the 67-year-old male had died of kidney failure. He underwent a field cryoprotection before transfer to the facility in Arizona. The man chose neuro cryopreservation, that is just his head.
Although the majority of Alcor’s patients are from the US, many people from Canada, Japan, Israel, China, Spain, France, Thailand, and Australia also have their remains cryopreserved at the facility. Along with the list of 181 cryopreserved patients, Alcor also has 1338 alive members. These members have completed their legal arrangements for cryopreservation and have paid up to $200,000 to reserve their spot. Once these members die, they become patients.
However, humans are not the only ones offered this opportunity. More than 33 pets have also undergone cryopreservation at Alcor’s facility.
Alcor believes in information-theoretic death. According to them, death only becomes permanent once the structures encoding memory and personality are damaged. And the damage is beyond the capability to recover the person. They believe that death is not an on/off switch, but rather a process that takes time. Therefore, cryonics can pause this dying process and restore health in the future.
However, such medical technology is nowhere in sight at the moment. Moreover, ho one has ever been able to revive a human preserved in sub-zero temperatures.
But Alcor argues that cryonics is based on modern science. Similar to human embryos frozen for in vitro fertilization, human beings can also undergo preservation at low temperatures. They believe that the cryoprotectants allow for cells and tissue to undergo vitrification with little or no ice formation. And that these cells and tissues can undergo individual repair and regeneration with the help of future nanotechnology.
Although we don’t know what the future holds, there is no denying that cryonics comes with a ton of uncertainties.