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Old 05-26-2007, 01:56 PM   #1
Neal Winkler
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Default Will we need IF for life extension?

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
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Old 05-28-2007, 08:58 AM   #2
Daniel Myers
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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:

Quote:
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?
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Last edited by Daniel Myers : 05-28-2007 at 09:08 AM. Reason: Misspelled Raymond Kurzweil's name.
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Old 05-28-2007, 09:06 AM   #3
Mike ODonnell
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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....
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Old 05-28-2007, 12:46 PM   #4
Robb Wolf
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In my mind the #1 thing to overcome with extending life significantly is the Hayflick limitIf 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.
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:20 PM   #5
Mike ODonnell
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Originally Posted by Robb Wolf View Post
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...
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:39 PM   #6
Neal Winkler
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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.
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Old 05-28-2007, 02:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal Winkler View Post
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....
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Old 05-28-2007, 04:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Myers View Post

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:


Quote:
"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.
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Old 05-28-2007, 05:06 PM   #9
Neal Winkler
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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).
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:36 PM   #10
Jeremy Shepard
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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/
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