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View Full Version : Will we need IF for life extension?


Neal Winkler
05-26-2007, 01:56 PM
According to Aubrey de Grey, the technology to increase human lifespan to unprecedented lengths will be available in our own lifetimes.

Do you think it will happen? Would you want it? Will it be universally available? Would there be any social consequences?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4003063.stm

Daniel Myers
05-28-2007, 08:58 AM
From what I've read, de Grey's work is highly speculative, and that's being charitable. Even if the mechanisms he outlines are valid causes of aging -- and that's not really clear, from what I understand -- nobody knows how to develop actual medical treatments that would address those causes.

De Grey is a typical futurist. He has some interesting ideas that he believes in very passionately, but just waves his hand when confronted with the immense practical difficulties of actually implementing his theories. Eric Drexler (molecular nanotechnology) and Raymond Kurzweil (intelligent machines) fall into the same category.

As far as the social consequences, let me quote from the worst Sherlock Holmes story, "The Adventure of the Creeping Man." Holmes has just busted a college professor using a dangerous drug to restore his youth:

There is a danger there -- a very real danger to humanity. Consider Watson, that the material, the sensual, the worldly, would all prolong their worthless lives. The spiritual would not avoid the call to something higher. It would be the survival of the least fit. What sort of cesspool may not our poor world become?

Mike ODonnell
05-28-2007, 09:06 AM
Getting old is a natural way of life....people need to just accept that and then do something good with the days they have now....like I need Paris Hilton running around being useless for another 300 years....

Robb Wolf
05-28-2007, 12:46 PM
In my mind the #1 thing to overcome with extending life significantly is the Hayflick limit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayflick_limit) If you can figure out a way to give cells the characteristics of cancer...but without the downsides, you will have a very serious opportunity for life extension.

Ramifications? Perhaps I'm naive but in the last century we saw a doubling in average lifespan with not terrible consequences. We MAY see a significant health care crises due to a creeping towards socialized medicine AND generally poor health practices. As it stands right now we have a longer life span but not all that stellar a health span.

People would likely need to work longer...or plan a little smarter if they want a significant period of truly "free" retirement.

Mike ODonnell
05-28-2007, 01:20 PM
People would likely need to work longer...

The increased years of work stress alone would kill everyone off at an early age therefore negating any advancements in science....it all comes full circle...

Neal Winkler
05-28-2007, 01:39 PM
Daniel, not that I would know because I'm really familiar with the science behind aging and what de Grey has figured out, but I too think it a bit faniciful that these things will be solved in my lifetime - but what do I know? However, I don't think the project of life extension itself is fanciful, as there is no doubt one day we will be able to indefinately extend human life.

Mike, I would argue that everything that isn't supernatural is "natural." Is it natural to have an pacemaker? Or to shock someone back to life with electricity? Well, yes, because both these things operate within the boundries of laws of physics and therefore, by definition, are natural. If quadruple bypass surgury is ok to extend someones life, and so is chemotherapy, then why not the indefinate extension of life? Also, I've thought about the Paris Hilton thing as well, and I agree that is not a pleasant thought.

Robb, the work question is an interesting one. I can see people like scientists who are having fun discovering the the secrets of the universe as not minding working for long perieds of time, but who wants to work in fast food for 500 years, or a dead end desk job? For that reason alone I can see people who would refuse life extension. But then there is the problem of children - if no one is dieing then the rate of child bearing must slow considerably or stop altogether until we figure out how to colonize the moon/mars/ect to free up more space. So, if people are retiring (even after working for a long long time) there would be no children to take up the work force.

Mike ODonnell
05-28-2007, 02:06 PM
Mike, I would argue that everything that isn't supernatural is "natural." Is it natural to have an pacemaker? Or to shock someone back to life with electricity? Well, yes, because both these things operate within the boundries of laws of physics and therefore, by definition, are natural. If quadruple bypass surgury is ok to extend someones life, and so is chemotherapy, then why not the indefinate extension of life? Also, I've thought about the Paris Hilton thing as well, and I agree that is not a pleasant thought.

I agree that extending life is good....hell we do it with exercise and nutrition and IF....but I guess how much is too much?....living to be 100 could be good...but what is the quality of life at 100? Does anyone really need to be alive 1000 years? I think life is pretty darn long enough as it is....people can accomplish alot in 20-30 years.....but there has to be an end at some point. If we can cheat death...then how can we appreciate life? That and some people like Paris need to be keep to 100 years max, but it will be the wealthy that will be able to afford it, not the average person......I don't think it can be done anyways...we can help people live until 100...but I have doubts anything else will be possible...I'm ok with 100....that's a pretty damn long time....

Stuart Mather
05-28-2007, 04:21 PM
As far as the social consequences, let me quote from the worst Sherlock Holmes story, "The Adventure of the Creeping Man." Holmes has just busted a college professor using a dangerous drug to restore his youth:




"There is a danger there -- a very real danger to humanity. Consider Watson, that the material, the sensual, the worldly, would all prolong their worthless lives. The spiritual would not avoid the call to something higher. It would be the survival of the least fit. What sort of cesspool may not our poor world become?"


Amazing quote!

Stuart.

Neal Winkler
05-28-2007, 05:06 PM
Mike, if you are ok with living to 100 then I don't think anyone would be forcing you to take the life extension treatments. But how do you decide what the cutoff should be? I just can't see the findemental difference between the treatments given today to extend life span and the ones we are talking about here. Any cutoff would seem to be arbitrary.

Also, isn't it the appreciation of life that is driving the research for life extension treatments? Besides, I wouldn't say you are really cheating death because even if you make it all the way to the heat death of the universe, 10 the 100+ power years into the future, you are going to die (assuming there are not multiple universes and we develope a way to travel to another viable universe).

Jeremy Shepard
05-28-2007, 06:36 PM
Guys, each of these arguments has been gone through many times before in the life extension community. If anyone would like a link to discussions about a certain topic, please post the topic and I'll be happy to provide what I can.

Some do feel de Grey's science is faulty, but SENS was found to be worthy of scientific debate by Technology Review:

http://www.technologyreview.com/sens/index.aspx

For more information on SENS, check out http://www.sens.org/

Mike ODonnell
05-28-2007, 08:34 PM
Also, isn't it the appreciation of life that is driving the research for life extension treatments?

Personally I'd rather see more effort in teaching people how to live their lives to the fullest right now....as most people I see are just sleepwalking through it....then maybe as a humanity we can earn living longer...I'd rather live in a world where the average lifespan was 70 years but everyone lived it to their best potential....then a society of people walking around for 500 years not having anything to give back and chronically depressed and having no real direction.....

In the end...I dont think it can be possible to live more than 100 in todays world of excessive stress, toxins, etc....even with science's help....I dont think they can outsmart nature....

Brad Hirakawa
05-29-2007, 08:45 AM
“Hayflick limit...If you can figure out a way to give cells the characteristics of cancer...but without the downsides, you will have a very serious opportunity for life extension."

Robb,

I have though about that often as of late, as my current project in the slammer revolves around a cell line that just keeps going and going and going (cue pink bunny).

We can do it, but it will be a team effort. You can have the profits from selling the method; I want first dibs on the publication rights.

Yall figure a way to slip in a mechanism for the controlled expression of the telomerase reverse transcriptase protein, maintain telomere lengths sufficient to avoid replicative senescence, and do this for every cell type in the body while maintaining a stable genotype.

Down here in So.Cal., I'll locate an ancient Amazonian virus, perform a few routine viral transformations, inactivate those tumor suppressor genes, then... this is the tricky part, keep them from becoming genetically unstable and convince them to retain the properties of the primary cells from which they were born.

Also, I’m thinking it might be handy to reintroduce the ascorbate synthase gene to the human genome. I can handle that part this afternoon.

Piece of cake.

Until next summer when we are done, my money is with a calorie/carb restricted diet, semi-regular Glassman-Wolf style workouts, some intermittent fasting, a lot of sleep, and less than zero stress.

I wrote this entire post without using the word Hormesis... but it was tough.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormesis

:)

Brad

Brad Hirakawa
05-29-2007, 08:53 AM
... in the game against nature, we have outsmarted her many times over. It is in our nature to do so. Hmm.. does that mean outsmarting nature is not really outsmarting her, rather by outsmarting her we are just being us, which is her, or have I yet to attain omnipresent supergalactic oneness?

You may be right though, we have pulled many sweet moves against nature, but in the end she may get the checkmate. But not without a fight.

I would not worry much about overpopulation, should we extend life significantly. Only those with a lot of money and good health insurance will get the juice. Or those with the biggest guns.

Brad

Neal Winkler
05-29-2007, 09:26 AM
Only at first will the technology be for the rich only. Remember, in the 1980's cell phones were only used by the rich but now every bratty grade school kid has one. Such is the way of technology - first available to the rich, then filters to the poor after it is refined.

One consequence I can see from all this though is a major battle between those who believe in life extension and those who do not. Think pro-choice vs. pro-life debating and demonstrating X 100.

Mike ODonnell
05-29-2007, 01:16 PM
You may be right though, we have pulled many sweet moves against nature, but in the end she may get the checkmate. But not without a fight.

I look at it like we are fleas on a dog....having a great time...doing whatever we want.....and at any point the dog can just shake us loose and we are screwed.....not sure we will be shaken off the earth....but if it thinks "Hey I'll just turn up the temp to about 350 deg and bake those dumbasses off....I'll recover...."

I think it's in our moment when we really think we have outsmarted anyone...or anything....that we really have lost....as is the real reason to be better? Or one would say that is man's original fault...that nothing is ever good enough and that is why we live in a world of increasing unhappiness and misery....progress is one thing...but progress with no base in any appreciation for what we already have is another.....Who knows...I just go about my day happy for what I do have....not what I don't...living 30 or 300 years isnt going to really change that...not saying I am right, after all...that is not my goal...

Pierre Auge
05-29-2007, 03:58 PM
I'm always right so shut up MOD!

Kidding brother - kidding! Dude I like that...

Mike ODonnell
05-29-2007, 05:27 PM
I'm always right so shut up MOD!

Kidding brother - kidding! Dude I like that...

Tell your boys in Ottawa to start skating and shoot more....they looked weak last night....no reason all that talent should lose to a team based in CA.

Brad Hirakawa
05-29-2007, 09:32 PM
Good stuff.. you guys kick ass. :)

It's beer-o'clock now.

Brad

Robb Wolf
05-30-2007, 06:15 AM
Brad-
make our ouwn Vit-C? YOU are a wild man!

-Ross Hunt
05-30-2007, 06:32 PM
One consequence I can see from all this though is a major battle between those who believe in life extension and those who do not. Think pro-choice vs. pro-life debating and demonstrating X 100.



I don't know about that. Christians are definitely not pro-manipulation-of-the-human-organism-as-material-to-be-optimized, but the issue of abortion and contraception is an especially touchy one because of explicit prohbitions in Scripture or the divine law against it. I imagine one will see more opposition to manipulations that change the nature and the working of the human being than to those that merely extend its lifespan.

Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict, for instance, have already laid the groundwork for opposing biotech.

Garrett Smith
05-30-2007, 06:51 PM
But what about reincarnation?!? What, stop that whole process?

There can be no yin without yang, no birth without death. Relatively straightforward to my mind.

kevin mckay
05-30-2007, 09:12 PM
Personally I am planning on coming back as either a turnip or an aardvark, but this is a tough decision.

Pierre Auge
05-30-2007, 09:29 PM
I just hope I don't come back as the liver of one of MOD's offspring!

Uhhhgggg alcohol poisoning sucks

Bo Bolund
06-13-2007, 04:43 AM
I read somewhere that if humans were immortal we would still die at 800 years old from accidents.

Troy Archie
06-14-2007, 10:31 AM
I hope to be reincarnated as a zombie...that would rock.

Mike ODonnell
06-14-2007, 10:33 AM
I just hope I don't come back as the liver of one of MOD's offspring!

Dude you would have permanent buzz all the time! That and I'll give you plenty of Milk Thistle to clean out once in a while....my luck is that I come back as goldfish in a fraternity house....now that is full circle Karma...