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DEBATE FORUM - What’s the best Strategy to achieve Indefinite Life Extension?

Posted: Thu, March 21, 2013 | By: DEBATE



Many of us want to live a very, very long time, but we’re having a difficult time convincing the majority of the public that this goal of our is desirable.

Additionally, we’re not quickly raising the billions of dollars that scientists need, to discover and combat the causes of aging.

What’s our Battle Plan? How should radical life activists proceed?

Is going to MILE’s Facebook page and signing their petition enough?  Is joining groups like Longevity Party or International Longevity Alliance, sufficient? 

Should we pester billionaires doggedly - to make huge donations?  Should we march in the streets, like radical life extensionists have done in Moscow and Tel Aviv?  

Should we write songs and poems and screenplays and infect with populace with meme propaganda?

Should we get PhDs in Bioethics, so we can rant on an equal footing against Deathists like Leon Kass?

Should we simply work towards The Singularity, because we believe a good AI will conquer Death? 

All of the above?

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Comments:

No article yet apparently, but can we already start commenting? In any case, this is of course THE question.

My answer in a nutshell: everyone who wants this to happen needs to identify his or her key strengths (there’s a wealth of freely or cheaply available self-hello material to help you do this), and get started on harnessing those key strengths in the service of the cause. It’s really not more complicated than that.

Oh,  and don’t be pressured into focusing on activities that your merely “very good” at (or worse): focus only on those you are BEST at. (And if you’re having trouble sticking to that, practise mindfulness.)

By Peter Wicks on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:55am

Now the article is here, I’ll just supplement my previous comment with the following: all of the above, and more. Each according to his/her talents…

By Peter Wicks on Mar 21, 2013 at 7:17am

IF HUMAN CIVILIZATION ON THIS PLANT DOES NOT CRASH the steady progress of research makes Life Extension and rejuvenation an inevitable option in the long run. There are three stages to that inevitability; (i) expensive and buggy, (ii) less expensive and clumsy and (iii) dirt cheap,  extremely versatile and very safe.

I will insist that these outcomes are, unless things really go to shit, inescapable in the long run. So my guesstimate would be that by 2020 we’ll have a little life extension, which will be very hard to scientifically falsify, let’s say about a few years to a decade of life extension, but at an extremely high price and pretty buggy. There will be a lot of talk about early results and there will be political horror shows and some people will argue against it, but clearly demand is so big that even worst case scenario - early treatments might for instance give you a few miserable years extra, and cost a fortune, and the years gained will be several years with an old body, and the treatments having all sort of side effects.

If you have a stake in life extension, for whatever reason, you need to ask yourself when are those six benchmark years. For me it’s something like this -

* modest/expensive/verybuggy life extension 2020
* median life extension 2035
* fickle/expensive rejuvenation 2040
* dirt cheap and effectively indefinite life extension 2055.
* universal coverage indefinite youthful lifespan: 2075

I am by and large talking biogerontological treatments here. A big crisis or world war might push back these timeslots by a decade. But on the other hand fast progress in cybernetics, organ printing, nanotechnology or such might advance these ages.

My point is that concerted, assertive, well-planned, well-funded activism and activism WILL pull back these timeslots by years, if not a decade. So in essence, talking about it in rational terms, describing it, discussing it will have an impact. I am already sure the activism of Aubrey and Ray has already ignited considerable progress in life extension research. Without Aubrey these onsets would have been several years further away. It is just that transhumanism as a consistent ideology has drawn these onset times closer.

The key thing to do now is repeat repeat repeat. Take good arguments and spread them, and rationally and patiently deconstruct alarmism and aguments against life extension. Ten thousand activists world wide will do more with patient blogging and commenting than five aubreys at this stage. Aubrey has fired the opening salvo and he has settled in to drugery and endless projects. The key thing to do now is gentle and patient advocacy. This stage will last decades.

The thing to do for everyone, regardless of specialism, is to spread surgical strike arguments. For example - insist that we as a western civilization have a completely unsustainable set of entitlements, fueled by average age and medical needs exploding. We can’t afford aging as a civilization, especially not in these numbers. Now if we can make people on forums, discussion groups realize that life extension might safe society all these expenses, then this conviction would eventually trickle up towards policy makers, financiers, instititions and the popular consensus.

By Khannea SunTzu on Mar 21, 2013 at 9:06am

As I suggested before, I think the real solution will be a combination of things, improved care, medical advances, nano technology, and cyborg-type enhancements.  That will likely not result in “indefinite life, but a greatly expanded life span.

If it were possible to create new bodies and transfer our entire mentality into them, that might work.  Then, maintaining a parallel backup would be protection against accidents just as backing up our hard drives does now.

By James Smith on Mar 21, 2013 at 9:26am

Government funding of life extension research will be a long,arduous struggle.Our opponents are many and our supporters few.We need a massive educational campaign showing people that life extension is possible.Too few people know about this issue.
That is the bad news!The good news will occur when we begin to develop viable scientific proof that life extension is possible.

By Tom Mooney on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:26pm

Quite frankly if people had some evidence that life extension is possible they would be amenable to funding it.As I see it the conundrum we face is that a much ignorance among the public and a need for a massive educational campaign.Remember most people are not scientists.They want to see some proof that life extension is possible!

By Tom Mooney on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:36pm

Dick Cheney is a cyborg. He has a mechanic heart. Whether he knows it or not he’s a transhumanist. Combat veterans who lose their limbs, whether they understand the ideology or not, if they have mechanic limbs they will become transhumanists.

At some point the artificial organs and limbs will become more efficient and longer lasting than the originals. Transhumanism recognizes this is going to happen and can offer very forward thinking policy advice. A transhumanist think tank may be necessary.

By Dana E on Mar 21, 2013 at 11:56pm

One promoter is more effective - that is, has the potential to make life-extension/indefinite-longevity happen sooner than otherwise - than one researcher on life-extension. One promoter can get their message to scores of people per day. If we have widespread realization of immortality’s desirability (as the deep rooted historical tradition of belief in an afterlife exemplifies) then research will come. Most researchers have little say on what they want to work on, or the scope and uses for what they work on. One must be conservative to get research grants, and work in any sciences is more influenced by public opinion than the opinion of individual researchers. We can get more traction by influencing public opinion, per unit of time or effort (damn these unquantifiable metrics!), that with pragmatic research. If we get widespread support, funding for research will come.

Anecdotally, we could argue that if a researcher succeeds, his empirical validation increases the effectiveness of all promoters worldside, because now they can promote its technical feasibility with blatance. But this is still more effective due to the fact that it increases the efficacy of promotion in the end, and so actually reinforces my premise rather than undermining it.

There are multiple different technological approaches to life extension in development. Biotech, nanotech, computational emulation and physical replacement via electromechanical or non-Drexlerian-nanotech-but-still-molecular systems. Thus creates evolutionary diversity; if one candidate solution fails for whatever reason (or even just proves economically prohibitive) we have other approaches to try. That we currently lack widespread belief in its desirability and its technical feasibility should incite us to work on promoting these ideas, and helping them become more mainstream.

That being said, work on what you think your best at and happiest doing. This will be best for you, and will probably produce the best quality of work in the end anyways. But for those torn between spending their time on pragmatic research or public promotion and increasing the public appeal and awareness of our cause, I suggest that choosing the latter will likely have more effective results, generally, for time and expended effort.

By Franco Cortese on Mar 22, 2013 at 10:54am

I think immortalism is a term that should be boasted with righteous audacity. Large claims draw attention in. The typical counterpoint is that being purposely sensational detracts from radical longevity’s perceived credibility and feasibility. But the credibility and feasibility are there, with the many scientists and research foundations who are putting out a credible image. Aubrey de Grey takes advantages of the natural shock factor behind the term “immortality” for promotion and publicity. We should bandy our riotous pride with a vehemence bordering on vengeance! People who are openly against immortalism for ethical reasons, which I think is what the term “Deathist” should be reserved for (as opposed to those who don’t believe in its technical feasibility), are through their actions increasing the likelihood of life extension being delayed. Any delay means deaths. These people are the cause of multiple deaths if they contribute to the delay of life-extension. If, through their efforts in denouncing life extension, they succeed in forestalling the widespread availability of radical longevity techniques, they are the cause of 100,000 real deaths per day it is delayed. Should they be morally culpable? Yes! Government officials are no less responsible for the deaths caused by their decision to launch, join, or continue war for their beyond distant form it, bending a desk. They’re not merely indirectly or vicariously responsible simply due to their distance in time and space, they are still considered directly responsible… so why should Deathists be considered free from culpability for the deaths caused by their collective actions, simply because they are separated from them in time and space?

Anecdotally, I think “Deathist” is a better term. It is a slur, but a righteous one. These people should know that others think they are vicious, evil, and even murderers, and a slur packs enough punch to facilitate that. The term “Suicidalist” appeals more to the person reading it, and so has less appeal to people’s moral-repugnance because it isn’t them being murderers, but being foolish perpetrators of suicide. We should rather be condemning them for being responsible for the real deaths of others, which is a much heavier and more effective charge.

One point people may be on the fence about is seemingly well-meaning people who raise ethical concerns about overpopulation. In the days when Slavery was the economic norm, and seemingly well-meaning people were saying that we would invite economic ruin if we banned slavery, thus say needlessly endangering the livelihood and safety of our beloved family and community, did their seeming well-meaningness justify their claims? Should we have refrained from disagreeing with them, or from making clear to them that by making such claims they were engendering the continuation of an ethical abomination? I think not. These are real deaths that may result from their moral nay-saying, and this fact should supersede concerns of damaging transient pride or protecting vulnerable feelings.

By Franco Cortese on Mar 22, 2013 at 10:55am

2013 is all I know:
one can take antioxidants with every meal, every snack, every day; and at bedtime. Powdered form is usually best.

By Alan Brooks on Mar 24, 2013 at 9:36am

... btw, taking antioxidants might not enable one to live a minute longer—however one might very well feel better.

By Alan Brooks on Mar 24, 2013 at 9:52am

PPS,
wouldn’t want to take any supplements not having been tested for decades…

By Alan Brooks on Mar 24, 2013 at 2:38pm

I have commented on this previously but their are a few points I still want to make.We are a nascent movement and we will encounter many,many problems that will test our mettle but we must remain strong.Briefly,I would like to mention four areas that need to be addressed.
1-Organization-At the present time there are various groups but no common strategy.The movement is still in a nascent stage but if there is no mechanism to bring people together.A conference of some sort might be helpful and we would get to know one another but I think it would be hard to organize.
2-Education-People do not know about this issue.To many of them “indefinite life extension"is tied to devil worship,zombies,or some other far out explanation.Religion will challenge us as devil worshipers or some other disparaging term and we need to be able to confront that reality.
3-Funding-I believe this will be the hardest problem to solve.Most social and political movements face this problem and it remains a difficult one for us.
4-Tactics-I believe in the old saying,“hang together or hang separately"Movements have internal disagreements but we must make sure that no political war is waged every time someone doesn’t get their way.

By Tom Mooney on Mar 24, 2013 at 3:08pm

I have tried to think about this issue quite carefully, as it is indeed the crux of the matter when it comes to advancing indefinite life extension. It has taken me several days, but I think I can now develop a reasonably helpful answer.

1. Each advocate of indefinite life extension should try to personally remain in good health as long as possible. This mostly involves common-sense practices (exercise, moderation in food, as well as avoidance of harmful substances, dangerous habits, and risky pleasures).

2. Each advocate of indefinite life extension should work to advance it in the areas where he/she has a comparative advantage. I am sympathetic to Peter Wicks’s statements in this regard – with the caveat that finding what one is best at is an iterative process that requires trying out many approaches and pursuits to discover one’s strengths and the best ways of actualizing them. Moreover, an individual may have multiple areas of strength, and in that case should discover how best to synthesize those areas and use them complementarily. But, crucially, one should not feel constrained to personally follow specific career paths, such as biogerontological research. Rather, one could make a more substantial contribution by maximally utilizing one’s areas of strength, knowledge, and expertise – and contributing some of the proceeds to research on and advocacy of indefinite life extension.

3. As Aubrey de Grey has put it, insufficient funding is a major obstacle to the progress of life-extension research at present. The scientists who are capable of carrying out the research are already here, and they are motivated. They need more support in the form of donations, which can be achieved with enough advocacy and persuasion of the general public (as well as wealthy philanthropists). In this respect, I agree with Franco Cortese that an additional promoter today may make more of a difference than an additional researcher. My Resources on Indefinite Life Extension (RILE) page ( http://rationalargumentator.com/RILE.html) catalogues a sampling of the major advances in fighting disease and developing new promising technologies that have occurred in the past several years. If only more people knew…

4. It is important for all advocates of indefinite life extension to be open about their views and to be ready to justify them – even casually and in passing. The idea needs to be made sufficiently commonplace that most people will not only take it seriously but will consider it to be a respectable position within public discourse. At that point, increased funding for research will come.

5. As my previous points imply, education is key. But education on indefinite life extension needs to be made appealing not just in terms of content, but in terms of the learning process. This is where creativity should be utilized to create an engaging, entertaining, and addictive open curriculum of reading materials and digital certifications, compatible with an Open Badge infrastructure. I have begun to do this with several multiple-choice quizzes pertaining to some of my articles, but I welcome any similar efforts by others. Here is an example: http://www.rationalargumentator.com/index/blog/2013/03/longevity-is-justice-quiz/

By Gennady Stolyarov II on Mar 25, 2013 at 11:33pm

Quite frankly,we need to hang together,otherwise we will hang separately.We need to become a team who will work together for life extension.
We may not always agree but we do not have to be disagreeable!

By Tom Mooney on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:52pm

One key strategy that you forgot to mention, one that’s going to do a lot of good at least in the short term, is to pressure the government to spend more money on biological research in general and medical research specifically.  Mainstream medicine is currently well on the way to curing cancer, stem cell research, and growing organs in the lab.  It doesn’t even matter if they believe in indefinite life extension or not in the short term; just putting more money into biological and medical research is going to speed up progress a lot. 

So call your congressman and tell him that you want the government to put more money into NIH and into medical research.  Tell him the government needs to cure cancer, tell him that medical research should be eliminated from the “sequester” cuts, whatever.

By Yosaraian2 on Mar 26, 2013 at 6:37pm

I have read the various and sundry posts outlining what should be done.I believe all of them have merit but there is little done to implement these plans..We have a plethora of good ideas that ,if undertaken,would substantially advance our cause but the ideas promoted never become reality.There are many reasons for this,from lack of funding,organization and inexperience.
I would suggest that a national conference of life extension advocates be held in order for us to plan the way forward.Individually we will not win the battle for life extension but if we could develop a common agenda we would become a force for life extension that could not be ignored.
There is an old saying that it is better to ,“hang together than to hang separately"and that is what we need to do.
It is time to be united in our quest for life extension!!.

By Tom Mooney on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:01am

I would agree with the previous comment that we need to spend much more money for research and I warmly agree that “medical research"should be exempt from the “sequester”

By Tom Mooney on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:10am

A vitally important step for anybody is to click “like” at MILE. If we do other things like research, petitioning, fundraising, event organizing, but don’t also “like” MILE, then we limit the amount of additional people there can be doing those other things. The more people that like MILE, the more people will pay attention to it. We tell them about all the people, projects and organizations working toward this goal. Once this gets to the final goal of reaching a mainstream number of the world, then the largest percent of people that would support the goal of indefinite life extension if they only knew about it, will have the chance to. Then everybody who would be doing research will, everybody who would be donating will be, everybody who would be covering it on the news will do it, etc. We cant live without that happening because the goal of indefinite life extension gets here in relative proportion to the collective speed at which the world goes to get there.

By Eric Schulke on Mar 28, 2013 at 6:39pm

I would argue that lack of familiarity with one another has a very harmful impact on our movement.Too often the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.We need to interact with one another “face to face”.
I believe it would be tremendously beneficial if we had a global conference with activists all over the planet in order to begin organizing a global strategy and discussing how we can help one another.
I realize it would be very expensive and that alone might preclude it from happening but we need to know one another personally and not merely exchange messages!

By Tom Mooney on Mar 29, 2013 at 9:45am

life extension at the moment 2013 the best things to do a good multi ,calcium, vitamin D ,magnesium good omega 3 and Q 10, Revseratrol http://xnlife.webs.com

By xnlife on Jun 03, 2013 at 9:17pm

This is a great question with a very complex answer. Being from Hong Kong I know a lot about the habits that elderly people here employ to keep themselves healthy and vibrant. The 3 things you should do are:

1. Be happy - a positive attitude is probably the best thing you can have
2. Eat healthy - eat lots of living foods (greens) and not too much sugar & junk food
3. Be active - you need to use your mind and body as much as possible

With those 3 areas of focus I think people can live longer. My father has recently been working with a group here in Hong Kong called “Life Extension” (website is http://www.life-extension.com.hk) and they have given him some good information about diet and nutrition and how this helps extend your life. The right plan can help a lot!

By Lisa on Jun 05, 2013 at 1:49am


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