Well now, this is interesting:
The Board of Directors of Alcor Life Extension Foundation today announced that Dr. Max More, 46, has been named Chief Executive Officer effective Jan 1, 2011.
"Max brings a quarter century of experience in and commitment to cryopreservation, life extension, and improving the future," said Alcor director Tim Shavers, "and has earned a reputation for both practical and principled leadership and bold thinking. Crucially, he shares our vision of Alcor's mission and understands the organization's past and its challenges and opportunities. His extensive knowledge of our operations, goals, and needs makes him the ideal choice to lead Alcor as CEO," said Shavers.
If you want to learn more about Max More, you should browse his website. More might be considered one of the founding members of the modern transhumanist community, with a long running interest in engineering greater human longevity. He is the author of the Extropian Principles, amongst numerous other works, a vision of open societies working to transcend the limits of our evolved biology through research and development of new technologies:
Like humanists, transhumanists favor reason, progress, and values centered on our well being rather than on an external religious authority. Transhumanists take humanism further by challenging human limits by means of science and technology combined with critical and creative thinking. We challenge the inevitability of aging and death, and we seek continuing enhancements to our intellectual abilities, our physical capacities, and our emotional development. We see humanity as a transitory stage in the evolutionary development of intelligence. We advocate using science to accelerate our move from human to a transhuman or posthuman condition. As physicist Freeman Dyson has said: "Humanity looks to me like a magnificent beginning but not the final word."
Overall, this an excellent piece of news to brighten the day before Christmas. As I remarked when the last outside CEO departed:
I'm sorry to see Joe Waynick move on: I have long said that a more professional, business-oriented hand on the wheel would help Alcor make the jump to the next level. In order to provide cryonics services to a greater number of people, Alcor simply has to grow, become more professional, diversify their technologies into other profitable outlets - doing all the things that any business must do as it moves forward to greater success. To my eyes, Waynick brought a necessary mindset to the job; I hope that his replacement will be looking to the same future, as it seems that Alcor still has a way to go.
A related topic: lurking somewhere in my shadowy list of things to write about are a range of thoughts on when a supporter of engineered longevity should rationally switch their efforts away from biotechnology to focus on cryonics. At some point, if biotechnology is not advancing rapidly enough, your evolving best guess at the future will be that you will miss the boat. If that is your belief, then working on cryonics is your best option to avoid destruction of the self and oblivion. For me, I think that point is some years out yet, but I'll certainly be putting a lot of thought into it come 2020.
On the one hand, people tend to greatly overestimate how much can be accomplished in a decade, while greatly underestimating what can be accomplished in 20 years. On the other hand, time is fleeting, and the regulatory embrace that squashes people's ability to bring new technologies to market is only getting worse. But I can wait a decade before thinking seriously about changing roads. For more of my thoughts on timing, you might look back into the Fight Aging! archives: