The field of cryonics can easily be classified under the category of new business ideas. This is because the actual process is somewhat ambiguous and the success or monetization of the process is currently hypothetical. The idea of using cryonics and cryopreservation of both humans and animals is not in itself a new idea; it was first coined in 1962. However this idea is being developed into many new possible business ideas which involve the inclusion of developments such as nanotechnology. The future of human cryopreservation presents a number of new possible business ideas which involve a range of possibilities. The theory behind cryonics is not largely recognised by the medical community. This is largely due to the hypothetical nature of the field.
This article will give an overview into the proposed procedures involving cryopreservation and cryonics. It will also look into possible future developments and derivatives of the cryonics field.
Firstly let us look at the process of cryopreservation itself. In basic terms it means the preservation of a human body in exactly the state it was when the individual died. This is done in cases where contemporary medical practices cannot do anything to help the individual from legal death. The purpose of cryopreservation is to maintain the body in its current state, so possible future advancements can be used for treatment. The process is based on revival from the frozen state and using future technology to mend the patient’s ailments. Cryonics is one of the most interesting new possible business ideas available as it challenges the legal and philosophical ideas of what we understand death to be. For example a current legal definition of death is “a permanent cessation of all vital functions”. The introduction of new business ideas like cryonics could challenge the validity of these definitions. It would become possible in cases for people who are pronounced legally dead to be brought back to life decades or centuries later. It also brings questions to the religious argument of the whole body/soul separation upon death.
As it is still a new business idea and one that is based largely on speculative and theoretical foundations there are a lot of unknown variables. There is also large scale speculation as to whether revival of humans is possible over such a long period. One of the fundamental pillars of this argument is whether the cells and structures for long term memory and personality can be maintained. It is not known whether or how cells would revive through the regeneration process. This could result in total failure of brain function, or mental disability. There are also concerns over the feasibility of the freezing process, for example if ice structures will form in cells and tissues. These ice structures would shatter and burst cells upon revival. The use of cryoprotectants is in place to try and counter this effect. Cryoprotectants essentially replace water in cells and structures with their own formula designed to prevent freezing damage. However the overall freezing of a body may still cause irreversible damage by today’s technological developments. This would either need future developments to be made to fix the damage caused, or an improvement to the preservation process.
There are also new business ideas such as growing and storing vital organs through cryonics to build a reliable stock. This could revolutionise the transplant industry and improve life expectancy rates greatly.