Computation as the Root of Physical Immortality

Increasing capabilities and lowering costs of computation are driving modern biotechnology - since biology at the level of proteins and genes is essentially the business of processing information. One could argue that rapidly increasing abilities in computation lie at the root of advances in all fields of human endeavor across the past fifty years or so. Every human action of any significance or complexity involves information processing, or can be made more effective through processes that involve information processing - such as effective invention and design of better tools and methods, planning, prediction, and so forth.

Russian transhumanist Danila Medvedev posted a nice, simple diagram of the way many supporters of the development of radical life extension look at the tree of technology and enablement. One could quibble with the details, bearing in mind it's written by one of the folk behind the Russian cryonics group KrioRus, but it I think it captures the spirit of the long-term transhumanist viewpoint:

the sense of physical immortality, a shorthand for vulnerable agelessness, or the defeat of aging - the development of technologies that will allow us to maintain a human body in a decent state of repair for so long as we expend the resources to do so. This is all somewhat close to one of my recent thoughts on the topic:

Consider that it is only in recent years, now that computing power per dollar has really started to take off, that major progress has been made in long-standing fields such as cancer research, genetics and immunology. Without advances in processing power, and the tools of bioinformatics built atop this foundation, scientists would have no hope of dealing effectively with the sheer complexity of human biochemistry.

With tools, understanding, hard work and funding we will be increasingly able to tackle the details of degenerative aging: replace failing mitochondria; turn cancer into a manageable, chronic condition; remove toxic byproducts that accumulate inside and around your cells with age; repair the aging immune system; build replacement tissue from our own stem cells; and much more. Every problem has an answer, if only the resources are applied to find it.

Danila has posted a number of other diagrams you might find interesting, such as his Arguments for Cryonics, assembled in the TruthMapping tool. Premise number one: "life is interesting."

Technorati tags: , ,


Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.