Innovation

Forget health care -- this startup offers cryonic freezing as an employee benefit

Generous employee perks are as much a part of the tech industry as long work hours, office Nerf gun battles, and people overusing the word disruption. But while most firms only go so far as free meals, on-site yoga classes, and maybe the occasional indoor climbing wall, an artificial intelligence-driven hedge fund is taking things to the next level.

The good news? Numerai'snew employee benefit is -- quite literally -- the coolest one we have heard about. The bad news? You wont be able to enjoy it until youre dead.

We are allowing employees cryonic body preservation as a benefit, Richard Craib, founder of Numerai, told Digital Trends. Employees sign up through a life insurance policy and upon legal death, the life insurance claim is handed over to cryonics provider Alcor.

While the idea of whole-body preservation cryonics being a benefit isnt necessarily going to appeal to everyone, the hope is that it will appeal to the right kind of people, who will have something to bring to Numerai. That means folks with an interest (and, preferably, plenty of impressive qualifications) in artificial intelligence. Strong education backgrounds in mathematics and statistics are also advantageous, Craib continued.

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The company is clearly doing something right in this department because it already includes former employees from Apple and Google DeepMind among its (soon to be frozen) ranks.

As to how long successful candidates will be frozen for well, that depends on a whole lot on scientific advances. According to Alcors website, Revival of today's cryonics patients will require future repair by highly advanced future technology, such as molecular nanotechnology. Technology that is advanced enough to repair a cryopreserved brain would by its nature also be able to regrow new tissues, organs, and a healthy body for the revived person."

Dont expect too much free time to explore your new futuristic home when you are thawed, though, because Craib is joining employees in the cryonics process. The only worse thing than being reanimated years in the future, to find that all your friends and family are long-since dead and youre a living fossil with outdated 21st-century views? Waking up in the aforementioned scenario, only to immediately be put back to work by your boss.

I personally signed up for Alcor recently, he explained. Many of the other Numerai employees were intrigued as to why and generally agree with the argument that a small chance of eternal life is worth the risk of an unconventional post-death experience. After discussing the idea on " This Week In Startups," we decided to offer it to all employees.