Interview: Max Marty & Daniel Walters On Creating A Cryonics Community

Dr. Emil Kendziorra, Max Marty and Daniel Walters at the Biostasis2021 Conference

Max Marty & Daniel Walters

Max Marty is a serial entrepreneur, futurist and tech enthusiast based in Texas, US. Together with Daniel Walters, health and longevity advocate, they have spent the last few years pursuing new ways to promote cryonics. At the moment, their efforts are divided between two main channels. The Discord server The Cryosphere, founded in April 2020, now has almost 400 members. (Discord is a group-chatting platform where members can interact on different topics.) The Cryonics Underground podcast, founded in January 2021, presents several hours of informative content in the form of conversations between Max, Daniel and several cryonics experts.

The importance of community building

How is their work helping the cryonics field? Fundraising and R&D are two crucial elements behind the development of the biostasis field. In the 50 years that have passed since human cryopreservation became a possibility, most cryonicists have focused their efforts on financing and advancing the technology. On the other hand, community building has often had a secondary role.

When did you hear about cryonics for the first time? Did it take you time to understand that it was something for you?

Max: I grew up on a steady diet of optimistic science-fiction, and as part of that I was bathed in a constant stream of storylines involving biostasis, cryonics, and characters waking up in the distant future. I was culturally “prepped” with a longing to see and experience the future; a future inspired more by Gene Roddenbury’s or Walt Disney ‘s optimistic utopianism than by the bleak and dystopian visions so often seen in the rest of the genre.

Before you built The Cryosphere Discord server, how did you connect with people interested in the topic?

Max: Reddit, although I’d as often as not call my experience there disconnecting with people.

What are the challenges of creating a community and keeping it active? And what are the specifics of a community revolving on an “unusual” topic such as cryonics?

Max: When I created the server, I envisioned a place where people could discuss all aspects of the cryonics industry, connect and collaborate with other cryonicists, and serve as the basis for a global cryonics community. This might sound prosaic, but like in so many organizational endeavors, the most important (and challenging) task was finding the right people to help bring that vision to fruition. We call ourselves server moderators, but that’s only a minor portion of what we do. My co-moderators and I have been putting in what amounts to a part-time job every week to make the community what it has become. Finding this amazing team was the most important and crucial step in getting the Cryosphere started on its journey towards becoming the nexus of the global Cryonics community.

Check out the Discord server “The Cryosphere”

Besides creating and taking care of The Cryosphere, you are also the founders of the Cryonics Underground podcast. Can you tell me more about this project, its goals and challenges?

Max: I’ve long been a fan of podcasting as a medium. I regularly listen to a couple dozen podcasts on economics, philosophy, science, tech, politics, and other similar topics. At some point I remember explicitly thinking “of course there’s a podcast specifically devoted to every single possible topic, so I’ll go find and subscribe to the cryonics podcast”. Much to my amazement, there actually wasn’t a proper cryonics podcast. Plenty of other podcasts would discuss cryonics for an episode or two, but that was about it.

The Cryonics Underground podcast logo

Do you see any change or evolution within the cryonics community in the last years? Do you already see some results coming from your effort in building a cryonics community?

Max: The perpetual challenge is this: cryonicists are spread out across the developed world, yet there are major and important benefits to living in close physical proximity (ie. within driving distance) to cryonicists. The Cryosphere is figuring out how to connect cryonicists with other cryonicists (and those interested in the subject) at a distance, but also to help foster local cryonics groups wherever possible. We’re always looking for better ways to interweave the far-away and the nearby cryonics communities.

What are the most common doubts, fears and hopes that members of the Cryosphere share? Do you see a common thread?

Max: It’s impossible to mention the word “” on the server without getting into a long discussion on the merits or drawbacks of aldehyde stabilization vs traditional cryonics approaches and philosophical questions around the nature of identity and consciousness. Cryonicists tend to believe that those that don’t share their intuition on this matter are not only wrong but also suffer from a sort of mass philo-psychological delusion. If your readers ever find themselves needing to cleave a group of cryonicists into two equal halves, just ask people with one or the other view on this issue to stand on opposite sides of the room.

Daniel Walters & Max Marty

What differentiates cryocrastinators from those who sign up and join the community? Did you gain any useful insight by talking to them on Discord?

Daniel: Surprisingly little. It seems that many cryocrastinators are fully formed cryonicists for all practical purposes. Pulling the trigger on becoming a paid member seems to be relatively arbitrary as far as I can tell. We have seen 18 year olds and 82 year olds stalling the sign up process in exactly the same ways. If I had to put my finger on one aspect that could help motivate cryocrastinators, I think that social and community based rewards would be at the top of the list. As it currently stands, when you sign up for cryonics, the only thing you have to look forward to is the judgment from your family and friends, and a monthly life insurance bill. We hope to change this dynamic. Instead we aim to make it so that when you sign up for cryonics, you feel like you just joined an exclusive club with members who are proud to have you, and with many exciting social perks to look forward to.

What are your expectations and hopes for the future of the cryonics community? What are your main concerns?

Max: I hope the community becomes far more cohesive and collaborative than it has been in the past at the local, regional, and global levels. This doesn’t mean the cryonics organizations won’t also compete with each other (as they should), but we, as cryonicists, must realize that we’re more than simply consumers of this service. Until cryonics becomes mainstream, we must look out for each other, connect with each other, and work cohesively towards the health of the industry as a whole.

Do you have any projects in mind (related to cryonics) that you would like to work on in the future? Is there any potential channel or idea you haven’t explored yet?

Max: Sure, I have plenty of ideas! Here’s one:

If you could make people reflect about something, what would it be?

Max: We cryonicists are a clever bunch. We’re so clever that we find it tempting to envision a post-revival future very different from our own — whether in the form of artificial intelligences vastly superior to us running our uploaded programs on a computer simulation, dyson spheres, or whatever else… I enjoy envisioning this as much as the next cryonicists but — these futures feel very far away and contrived to most people. They feel about as real to most people as tooth fairies and dragons… and we will need to find ways to market this idea to a broader audience (at least broader than we’ve managed currently) if this endeavor is to succeed in the long run.

What can each of us do to help the development of the biostasis field?

The Cryonics Underground podcast

Max and Daniel’s Cryonics Underground podcast, has about 20 episodes, covering several different aspects related to cryonics. Most episodes feature renowned members of the cryonics community, from Eric Vogt, one of the founders of the International Cryomedicine Experts (ICE) to Max More, Alcor’s Ambassador and President Emeritus. In March 2021, Max and Daniel had a long conversation with Dr. Emil Kendziorra, EBF’s Chairman of the Board and Tomorrow Biostasis’ CEO and Co-Founder. Have a look at the first and second part of their talk and discover Emil’s vision for the future of Biostasis.

Conclusion

Max and Daniel decided to spend time and effort doing something they are passionate about. Through their work, they are significantly helping the development of cryonics.

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We are a Berlin based longevity company committed to advancing Biostasis technology and promoting it in a simple and transparent way. www.tomorrowbiostasis.com

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