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Why Pursue the Development of Rejuvenation Therapies?

Why pursue the development of rejuvenation therapies? What do I get out of it? The answer to that question - health! - is self-evident to those of us who have been thinking about this for a while, but a fair amount of advocacy for any cause is a matter of explaining what is obvious to the advocate, but not to someone unfamiliar with the idea. Sometimes it is hard to see one's own blind spots, and especially so when it comes to long exposure to a subject: we forget what it was like not to know. Given that, I think an overview of the point of developing rejuvenation therapies, discussing what an individual stands to gain, is a good thing to have in the toolkit.

I'm sure you've noticed that the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation has been shouting from the rooftops for quite a while that rejuvenation biotechnologies need to happen, and we're doing our best to make them happen as soon as possible. The job isn't easy; the fact that numerous people still raise concerns about the idea doesn't make it any easier, and we invest part of our time duly addressing those concerns. But the discussion about what might go wrong or how to prevent this or that hypothetical problem might draw attention away from another, possibly even more important question: why do we strive to make rejuvenation a reality? There's not much point in doing something if it yields no benefits, especially if that something requires as much hard work as this cause does; so, what are the expected benefits of rejuvenation?

Health: rejuvenation, we have said time and again, is pretty much all about health. The causal link between biological aging and pathologies is well established, and even when we account for the few elderly who are exceptionally healthy for their age, we're left with the obvious fact that the older you are, the sicker you are - and even the aforementioned exceptions aren't in the best of shape. To the best of my knowledge, the number of people who actively wish to be sick at some point tends to be fairly small; so, when you think that a truly comprehensive rejuvenation platform would allow people to maintain youthful health irrespective of their age, the health benefits of rejuvenation become crystal clear.

Independence: frailty, failing senses, weakness, and diseases aren't good friends of independence, but they are good friends of old age. That's why nursing homes exist in the first place - to take care of elderly people who are no longer independent. Again, even the few exceptional cases who manage on their own until death don't have it easy. Having people doing things for you can be nice in small doses, but having to have people doing things for you, not so much. Rejuvenation would eliminate the health issues that make the elderly dependent on others.

Longevity: as odd as it may sound, longevity is really just a 'side effect' of health, because you can't be healthy and dead. The longer you're healthy enough to be alive, the longer you'll live. Since rejuvenation would keep you in a state of youthful health, the obvious consequence is that you'd live longer. How much longer exactly is hard to say, but as long as you're healthy enough to enjoy life, it's safe to say that longevity would be a benefit; you'd have more time and energy to dedicate to what you love doing, and you could keep learning and growing as a person for an indefinitely long time.

Ultimately, all of these perks can be summarised into one: choice. If we had fully working rejuvenation therapies available and were thus able to keep ourselves always perfectly healthy, regardless of our age, we could choose whether we wanted to use these therapies or not. Those who wish a longer, healthier life could avail themselves of the opportunity and escape aging for as long as they wanted; those who prefer to age and bow out the traditional way could just as easily not use the therapies. Rejuvenation would give us an extra option we currently don't have; everyone is forced to face the burden of aging and eventually die of it, for the moment. Being able to choose what we wish for ourselves is one of the most fundamental human rights and an obvious, unquestionable benefit.

Link: https://www.leafscience.org/benefits-of-rejuvenation-biotechnology/

Comments

Why support rejuvenation? Yup, it is about health.

And health is all about money. More importantly, generational theft.

Lets see how things are progressing shall we?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/11/pensioners-told-homes-not-assets-pass-offspring-minister-revives/

We thought the election was the end of the dementia tax, but as long as there is dementia, this issue won't go away. So now elected officials are telling their elderly constituents "We will take your homes to pay for your care". Lets see how well this goes over.

And on this side of the pond

http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/aging-baby-boomers-will-put-massive-strain-on-ontario-s-budget-watchdog-says-1.3640136

Wow.. look at that... in Ontario, we're looking at a 2% increase in the VAT (For the younglings to pay) or close 40% of our hospitals with an aging population.

With robust rejuvenation technology, we would not have to cannibalize the young for the old to creep towards the grave. The elders would simply go back to work or school to contribute to society. I would do it, in a heartbeat. I'll re-invent myself as many times as my life and health can afford too.

So.. the Ontario budget office says we have until the mid 2020's to make the changes needed. That's not much time...

Posted by: Mark Borbely at October 19th, 2017 7:57 PM

@Mark,

Ah, you forgot one detail. With AI and robots, we will not have much work needed for most humans in the next few decades. So, hopefully, it will be similar to Star Trek (I am a trekkie), where we pursue what we WANT, arts, exploring the galaxy, spending time with each other, or, whatever.

But, yea, I think we will have universal income and a lot more time available. Or not.

Posted by: Robert at October 19th, 2017 10:21 PM

This week it was announced there is at least one HUGE cave (former lava tube) on the Moon - 50KM long and 100 meters wide. Even with heavy and continuing meteor bombardment. The Seasteading Institute is making "steady" progress to opening more than 2/3rds of the Earth to productive habitation. Intel's announcement of the Loihi AI chip puts Ray Kurzweil's predicted date for an artificial super-intelligence right on schedule - and likely the accompanying Technological Singularity.

There are so many wonders in the future that I want to be a part of, to build and enjoy with all the dear people in my life. If I could reliably count on living for 50 more years, I'd start having more god-like children. I think we are 5 to 7 years away from 90% confidence of that, given the pace of extreme longevity research. This blog fuels the dream!

Posted by: Tom Schaefer at October 20th, 2017 8:10 AM

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