A Conversation on Radical Life Extension At Reddit

A post at Reddit on predictions for (and arguments against) engineered longevity has been the subject of a long discussion over the past couple of days - a long time for any Reddit post to remain far high enough in the lists to be actively discussed. I think you'll find it an interesting exercise to wander through the hundreds of comments, some of which are reproduced below. The ratio of positive to negative in these sorts of online discussions is growing, I think:

How about this: those who are for living longer, can do so, and those against, can ignore the treatments?

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Obviously entirely new systems would come into play. We can't see what they will be now, but they will be self-evident once they evolve. To extrapolate current systems into extremely long lives, where people could keep their health and strength and work at what they want far longer than they do now, is bootless. Maybe with a greater time span of non-age-ossified brains people would have time to emotionally mature more than they do now, and make better decisions. Certainly there would be time to use the power of compounding interest to far greater advantage than is possible now. With youth and vigor extended, the expansion of life-possibilities would be immense, and would extend into spaces we can't even see.

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I think that once we defeat aging, we can work on those other problems which are an order of magnitude less bad.

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Other definitions that would change are old person and young person. The idea is to lengthen that period of life where you both can and wish to do things, not extend fogeyhood into forever. So if someone looks thirty but is far older, what does that do to our current paradigm of the stages of life? We'll make up a new one, gradually and fitfully. Probably it won't be comfortable, but change seldom is.

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Who cares about advantage to our species? I only care about advantage to actual, living people. If there were no more humans, ever, but everyone alive today had a better life, I would consider that a net positive.

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Leon Kass, the former head of Bush's Council on Bioethics, insists that 'the finitude of human life is a blessing for every human individual' ... He's just confused. Obviously, the finitude of his life is a blessing for all of us, but that's not true for everyone.

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I, for one, would like to live as long as I want. For those of you who would insist I die, what's wrong with you? You actually want people to die? You want to lose the people you love? Really?

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I saw a comment somewhere that said that it is new generations that bring change, and that people need to die. WRONG. Just think about living more than ten times longer than your current expectancy. One person can learn for much longer, work for longer, and continue to better him or herself. A thousand [years]. You could get alot done, and teach alot of other people, without leaving the next generation to pick up where you left off every 50-80 years.

The tide of educated opinion on engineered longevity has come a long way in the seven years I've been writing on this topic. A great deal of work remains to be accomplished in laying the foundations for truly massive research and development fundraising for longevity science, but the signs of progress exist - matters are further ahead than they were.

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