Seven in ten Brits believe that none of the people who have been cryogenically frozen so far will ever be successfully revived
If you are terminally ill, or seek a particularly long life, cryogenics might seem like the ultimate insurance policy. The general idea is that at or around the point of a person’s death, they are frozen and kept stored at almost -200oc in the hope that their body will be sufficiently preserved until a time in the future when medical science has advanced enough to revive them.
The benefits are obvious: if the procedure succeeds you are revived in the future by doctors who are able to cure your ailments before (one can only hope) providing you with your new hover-car and sending you on your way. If the procedure fails… well, you were already dead anyway, so no harm done.
Cryogenics are one of the technologies explored by the V&A in their “The Future Starts Here” exhibition, and in YouGov’s role as exhibition partner we have asked the British public about their own attitudes to cryogenics.
According to NBC, as of early 2017 more than 250 people had been cryonically frozen. As far as the overwhelming majority of the British public are concerned, all of these people are irreversibly deceased, with 70% of Britons believing that no-one who has been cryogenically frozen to date will successfully be revived.
Only 14% of Britons are confident that at least some of those who have been frozen will successfully be revived, while the remaining 16% are unsure one way or the other.
The deep freeze
Of course, past performance is not necessarily indicative of future success. The more time goes by, the better the science behind cryogenics gets. And as mentioned above, cryogenics is to a certain extent a no-lose proposition. That being the case, are Britons willing to undergo cryogenic preservation themselves?
Taking money out of the equation (cryogenics costs around $30,000), only 13% of Brits – or about one in eight – would take up the offer. This includes almost half (48%) who believe that people who have already been frozen will prove to be successfully revived at a later date, but unsurprisingly only 6% of those who believe the technology has not worked yet.
Men are twice as likely as women to be willing to undergo cryogenic freezing, at 18% vs 9%. A quarter (25%) of 18-24 year olds would want to be cryogenically frozen, a figure which falls with each age group before bottoming out at just 4% among those aged 65 and older.
As part of our work for the V&A exhibition, YouGov has conducted a segmentation analysis which reveals how the British public can be split into six different groups regarding their attitudes toward the future. You can find out more about the groups here.
Of these groups, Tech Disciples are the most willing to be cryogenically frozen, with 23% saying they would do so if money were no object. This is perhaps no surprise: not only are they the group with the greatest expectations of what technology can achieve, a separate survey also showed Tech Disciples expressing the greatest desire to live a very long time, or even forever, which cryogenics would certainly help facilitate.