Shaping the Odds

A discussion on the prospects for various age-groups making it into the era of actuarial escape velocity and radical life extension is presently underway at the revamped Betterhumans. This should be a topic near and dear to anyone with an interest in long-term health; what new medical technologies and capabilities will come onto the market in the decades ahead, and how will this affect our longevity? Investments in research are made and withheld on the basis of this sort of elementary futurism, and therein lies a feedback loop that we can influence to the benefit of all. Some highlights:

I believe Transhumanism is infused with a great deal of focus on the matter of self-preservation of the individual at all costs (some consider this highly selfish) and the painful reality may very well be that our generation was simply born too early and we will be among the last to fall before the Grim Reaper of our presently very limited biology.

What are our odds of making it??


I don't think there is any way to estimate "our chances" as a group. I think that different individuals have varying "chances" of making it, determined by the variables of their individual lives. I think it's highly probable that someone presently in their thirties, somewhere in the world, will achieve an extremely long life -- much longer than 120 years.


I am in my 30's and we live in a world of increasing technological progress. My grandfather lived in a farmhouse and did not have central heating, used gas lanterns for light and before he died at 91 in 2001, he used ATM machines, credit cards, had central air conditioning, and used a VCR.

I do not know if I will make immortality, but I am (perhaps overly) oppomistic that we will make key advances that allow our generation to live longer and better than our grandparents and parents.


If you for one instant don't think a caloric restriction memetic will be on the market within 40 years... you are OVERLY pessamistic.

Its all about bridges. Stem cells, gene therapy, life extension drugs all keep up from the grim reaper.

In those 20 years, more breakthrus will take place. and I might get another 20 years. And again, and again.


I hate to demolish your comforting illusions, but to save anyone alive, every member of this community needs to work very hard, starting now, and be very lucky on top of that.

This last point is closer to the mark. We must not passively wait to see what happens - that's a very good way to wind up in the sort of future you don't want to see, suffering from age-related conditions that could have been cured. "If only" is poor help after the time to act has passed, and it is by no means certain that the right investments in research will be made in the years ahead. Right now, for example, nearly all of the very modest funding for relevant research goes to comparatively ineffective ways forward.

What are the odds? Better to ask how we can shape the odds - the future is what we make it to be. In these early years of the biotech century, folk like you and I can make a great deal of difference to the future of meaningful anti-aging research. We can write about it, talk about it, raise awareness and educate our peers, support forward-looking advocacy, encourage scientists towards better research strategies and set the first rocks in the avalanche on their way downslope.

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Doing something serious to help push life extension, and getting organized with others who share your views is the only way to go.

Even average people donating like 1,000$ a year can make a big difference. For many it may be the most logical contribution they can make. The division of labor, them doing what they are most skilled at, and using the money from that to support others like Aubrey. To put on conferences, to fly around, to bring on media staff and so on. And then of course outright funding research.

Posted by: aa2 at April 5th, 2006 12:30 AM
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