Monday, May 25, 2009

TransAlchemy interviews Aubrey de Grey




- Assuming that radical life-extension therapies become available to the majority of the world's population, what would we do with people who decide to extend their lives indefinitely AND have many children? Will this "greed" be deemed illegal?



I have no idea how society will choose to manage the population problem. There are innumerable possibilities, not least the possibility that no such problem will emerge because people will choose to delay childbirth until much older ages.


- In an "ageless" population, who would ultimately get the right to create new life?


Same answer.


- I've seen stories in the media which liken having many children to causing ecological damage to the Earth. Could this be foreshadowing what the future "ageless" population will believe? Could bearing children become stigmatized to the point that it becomes a violent crime?


It's certainly true that having a child is by far the most ecologically damaging single action that anyone can take right now. But conversely, committing suicide is the most ecologically beneficial one... so clearly there is a trade-off between different aspects of quality of life. As above, I have no idea what will happen.


- Alchemy concerns itself with the manifestation of the "philosopher's stone", a.k.a. the "universal medicine" which can cure all disease and bring everlasting life. Given that the philosopher's stone is philosophical in nature, do you feel that your work may bring about this high goal of alchemy?


No. My work is just regular biomedical research, with the goal of developing ways to repair the damage of aging just as other medicine restores health in the context of specific diseases. The damage of aging is an intrinsic and unavoidable side-effect of being alive, so it will always be with us, and its consequences for health will be prevented only by periodically removing it.


- Immortality has been promised by religions throughout history. Will literal immortality satisfy man's religious desires?


I don't work on immortality. I don't even work on stopping people from being hit by trucks. More generally, I don't work on life extension: I work on keeping people healthy, and the life-extension consequences are a side-benefit. To answer the question you meant to ask: if aging is defeated, no, nothing will change in terms of religion, because death can still occur, just as young adults sometimes die today.


-Do you think a type of scientific/spiritual merger could take place which reconciles material science and transcendent religion?


I don't really understand your question, so the followng may not be an answer, but: religion and science are independent aspects of life and thought, and they are already "reconciled" - it's perfectly possible to observe the world and reach the scientific conclusion that it is best explained by the existence of a Creator, and it's also possible to reach the opposite conclusion from the same data. Hypothesis formation in science is like that: one applies Occam's Razor to the data, but the process of doing so is largely, and irreducibly, subjective.


Do you see the field of gerontology being assisted by artificial intelligence before any significant breakthroughs occur?


Maybe, which is why I'm pleased that some very smart people are working on AI. Many of them are doing so in part because of the potential to solve aging before human biologists do.


Would life extension therapies create further division in the cast system of haves and have nots.


No. Unlike today's medicine, medicine that totally defeats aging and keeps everyone healthy will easily pay for itself from the point of view of the national economy (because frail people are very expensive). So the best precedent is basic education, which is provided free even in highly tax-averse societies like the USA.


Considering that the ultimate fate of the universe is yet unknown would immortality simply be a temporary state if the universe collapses on itself?


I think you're beginning to appreciate the inappropriateness of the word "immortality" to describe the defeat of aging...


Do you see humanity "transcending" its biology entirely just to be immortal?


No.


Is an immortal being still considered human?


If by "immortal" you mean someone who is not aging, the answer is yes - just as we're human today despite not being susceptible to death from tuberculosis.


And Finally What inspired you to seek this field of research?


The discovery that hardly anyone else was working on defeating aging, and the realisation that my background was well suited to making a contribution.


Do you fear death?


I don't think about it at all.



TransAlchemy interviews Aubrey de Grey




- Assuming that radical life-extension therapies become available to the majority of the world's population, what would we do with people who decide to extend their lives indefinitely AND have many children? Will this "greed" be deemed illegal?



I have no idea how society will choose to manage the population problem. There are innumerable possibilities, not least the possibility that no such problem will emerge because people will choose to delay childbirth until much older ages.


- In an "ageless" population, who would ultimately get the right to create new life?


Same answer.


- I've seen stories in the media which liken having many children to causing ecological damage to the Earth. Could this be foreshadowing what the future "ageless" population will believe? Could bearing children become stigmatized to the point that it becomes a violent crime?


It's certainly true that having a child is by far the most ecologically damaging single action that anyone can take right now. But conversely, committing suicide is the most ecologically beneficial one... so clearly there is a trade-off between different aspects of quality of life. As above, I have no idea what will happen.


- Alchemy concerns itself with the manifestation of the "philosopher's stone", a.k.a. the "universal medicine" which can cure all disease and bring everlasting life. Given that the philosopher's stone is philosophical in nature, do you feel that your work may bring about this high goal of alchemy?


No. My work is just regular biomedical research, with the goal of developing ways to repair the damage of aging just as other medicine restores health in the context of specific diseases. The damage of aging is an intrinsic and unavoidable side-effect of being alive, so it will always be with us, and its consequences for health will be prevented only by periodically removing it.


- Immortality has been promised by religions throughout history. Will literal immortality satisfy man's religious desires?


I don't work on immortality. I don't even work on stopping people from being hit by trucks. More generally, I don't work on life extension: I work on keeping people healthy, and the life-extension consequences are a side-benefit. To answer the question you meant to ask: if aging is defeated, no, nothing will change in terms of religion, because death can still occur, just as young adults sometimes die today.


-Do you think a type of scientific/spiritual merger could take place which reconciles material science and transcendent religion?


I don't really understand your question, so the followng may not be an answer, but: religion and science are independent aspects of life and thought, and they are already "reconciled" - it's perfectly possible to observe the world and reach the scientific conclusion that it is best explained by the existence of a Creator, and it's also possible to reach the opposite conclusion from the same data. Hypothesis formation in science is like that: one applies Occam's Razor to the data, but the process of doing so is largely, and irreducibly, subjective.


Do you see the field of gerontology being assisted by artificial intelligence before any significant breakthroughs occur?


Maybe, which is why I'm pleased that some very smart people are working on AI. Many of them are doing so in part because of the potential to solve aging before human biologists do.


Would life extension therapies create further division in the cast system of haves and have nots.


No. Unlike today's medicine, medicine that totally defeats aging and keeps everyone healthy will easily pay for itself from the point of view of the national economy (because frail people are very expensive). So the best precedent is basic education, which is provided free even in highly tax-averse societies like the USA.


Considering that the ultimate fate of the universe is yet unknown would immortality simply be a temporary state if the universe collapses on itself?


I think you're beginning to appreciate the inappropriateness of the word "immortality" to describe the defeat of aging...


Do you see humanity "transcending" its biology entirely just to be immortal?


No.


Is an immortal being still considered human?


If by "immortal" you mean someone who is not aging, the answer is yes - just as we're human today despite not being susceptible to death from tuberculosis.


And Finally What inspired you to seek this field of research?


The discovery that hardly anyone else was working on defeating aging, and the realisation that my background was well suited to making a contribution.


Do you fear death?


I don't think about it at all.



TransAlchemy interviews Aubrey de Grey




- Assuming that radical life-extension therapies become available to the majority of the world's population, what would we do with people who decide to extend their lives indefinitely AND have many children? Will this "greed" be deemed illegal?



I have no idea how society will choose to manage the population problem. There are innumerable possibilities, not least the possibility that no such problem will emerge because people will choose to delay childbirth until much older ages.


- In an "ageless" population, who would ultimately get the right to create new life?


Same answer.


- I've seen stories in the media which liken having many children to causing ecological damage to the Earth. Could this be foreshadowing what the future "ageless" population will believe? Could bearing children become stigmatized to the point that it becomes a violent crime?


It's certainly true that having a child is by far the most ecologically damaging single action that anyone can take right now. But conversely, committing suicide is the most ecologically beneficial one... so clearly there is a trade-off between different aspects of quality of life. As above, I have no idea what will happen.


- Alchemy concerns itself with the manifestation of the "philosopher's stone", a.k.a. the "universal medicine" which can cure all disease and bring everlasting life. Given that the philosopher's stone is philosophical in nature, do you feel that your work may bring about this high goal of alchemy?


No. My work is just regular biomedical research, with the goal of developing ways to repair the damage of aging just as other medicine restores health in the context of specific diseases. The damage of aging is an intrinsic and unavoidable side-effect of being alive, so it will always be with us, and its consequences for health will be prevented only by periodically removing it.


- Immortality has been promised by religions throughout history. Will literal immortality satisfy man's religious desires?


I don't work on immortality. I don't even work on stopping people from being hit by trucks. More generally, I don't work on life extension: I work on keeping people healthy, and the life-extension consequences are a side-benefit. To answer the question you meant to ask: if aging is defeated, no, nothing will change in terms of religion, because death can still occur, just as young adults sometimes die today.


-Do you think a type of scientific/spiritual merger could take place which reconciles material science and transcendent religion?


I don't really understand your question, so the followng may not be an answer, but: religion and science are independent aspects of life and thought, and they are already "reconciled" - it's perfectly possible to observe the world and reach the scientific conclusion that it is best explained by the existence of a Creator, and it's also possible to reach the opposite conclusion from the same data. Hypothesis formation in science is like that: one applies Occam's Razor to the data, but the process of doing so is largely, and irreducibly, subjective.


Do you see the field of gerontology being assisted by artificial intelligence before any significant breakthroughs occur?


Maybe, which is why I'm pleased that some very smart people are working on AI. Many of them are doing so in part because of the potential to solve aging before human biologists do.


Would life extension therapies create further division in the cast system of haves and have nots.


No. Unlike today's medicine, medicine that totally defeats aging and keeps everyone healthy will easily pay for itself from the point of view of the national economy (because frail people are very expensive). So the best precedent is basic education, which is provided free even in highly tax-averse societies like the USA.


Considering that the ultimate fate of the universe is yet unknown would immortality simply be a temporary state if the universe collapses on itself?


I think you're beginning to appreciate the inappropriateness of the word "immortality" to describe the defeat of aging...


Do you see humanity "transcending" its biology entirely just to be immortal?


No.


Is an immortal being still considered human?


If by "immortal" you mean someone who is not aging, the answer is yes - just as we're human today despite not being susceptible to death from tuberculosis.


And Finally What inspired you to seek this field of research?


The discovery that hardly anyone else was working on defeating aging, and the realisation that my background was well suited to making a contribution.


Do you fear death?


I don't think about it at all.



My Riddles

Dear Antz Particleion Is Hacking your Universe (live)

I will give your universe/Mind back to you if you answer my riddles.

Call your answers in!

(305) 735-9490

A) Is your universe real?

B) Are you real?

C) Who currently has {source}?

D) What is {Root}?

When you got the answer email it to

Key.universe@gmail.com

and I will give you back your universe assuming your right ;-)

Rules subject to change but will be posted.

`

! It will be Billions of years till I let you just have it... Till then I urge you try to get your key back.