If you are particularly fascinated by the future and enjoy playing games the following is something you should be involved and interested in. Superstruct, the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game started today with Superthreat scenarios by 2019. Game founder Jane McGonigal writes in a message sent to the members of Facebook Group the dedicated to the game:
Watch the news from the future, and find out exactly what dangers and challenges we face with Quarantine, Ravenous, Power Struggle, Outlaw Planet and Generation Exile.
With Superstruct IFTF introduces a revolutionary new forecasting tool: Massively Multiplayer Forecasting Games (MMFGs). MMFGs are collaborative, open source simulations of a possible future. Each MMFG focuses on a unique set of “future parameters,” which we cull from IFTF’s forecast research. These parameters define a future scenario: a specific combination of transformative events, technologies, discoveries and social phenomenon that are likely to develop in the next 10 to 25 years. We then open up the future to the public, so that players can document their personal reactions to the scenario.
Nikola Tesla (portrayed by David Bowie) says in The Prestige: “Society tolerates only one change at a time”. If this was true what only change (difference) would you make? The change could be technological, scientific, economical, political, any kind…a change that would make room for all the other changes.
Malcolm Gladwell has a nice, but a bit Microsoft heavy essay on scientific/technological multiples, ie. the phenomenon of simultaneous discovery in New Yorker: In the Air
Gladwell argues that it is always misleading to apply the paradigm of artistic invention to scientific/technological invention and he is probably right.
Two sections just for your appetite:
“This phenomenon of simultaneous discovery—what science historians call “multiples”—turns out to be extremely common. One of the first comprehensive lists of multiples was put together by William Ogburn and Dorothy Thomas, in 1922, and they found a hundred and forty-eight major scientific discoveries that fit the multiple pattern. Newton and Leibniz both discovered calculus. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace both discovered evolution. Three mathematicians “invented” decimal fractions. Oxygen was discovered by Joseph Priestley, in Wiltshire, in 1774, and by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, in Uppsala, a year earlier. Color photography was invented at the same time by Charles Cros and by Louis Ducos du Hauron, in France. Logarithms were invented by John Napier and Henry Briggs in Britain, and by Joost Bürgi in Switzerland.”
Today’s meditation is for serious healthy life extension supporters to consider the following 36 – general and sometimes corporate – ideakillers concerning our little project:
1. We tried that already
2. We’ve never done anything like that before.
3. Has anyone ever done anything like that before?
4. That never works
5. You’re fired
6. We will actively work against you
8. Not in our budget
9. Not an interesting problem
10. We don’t have time/We’ll never find the time to do it. (I specially liked this one.)
11. Execs will never go for it
12. Out of scope/Not in our business
13. But its the law
14. Too blue sky / Holy grail
15. Wont make enough $$
16. That isn’t what people want Read the rest of this entry »
The science part is emphasized in the title of this post on the 2008 Edge Annual Question, which is again well formulated and thought provoking. The whole question embraces science, philosophy and religion (left).
If you compare the Nature and the Science front pages (which is not the topic of the current post) you can notice a big difference: there are a lot of “web 2.0″ish fresh features on the Nature site while significantly fewer on the Science counterpart. Now Science came up with a new, less academic and more popculture driven (the name is telling) column, The Gonzo Scientist written and edited by John Bohannon, regular Science contributor. Bohannon writes and even audioslides (illustrations by Katrien Kolenberg) about his experience in IdeaCity.
IdeaCity is Canada’s premier geek summer camp in Toronto, and was modeled after the TED conferences. Now my synonym for the geek camp is SciFoo, but there is a big difference here: IdeaCity is free only for the 50 invited celeb speakers, while it is $3000 for the 3 days for every other visiting Idealists.
Stem cell biology and regenerative medicine as an institutionally specified discipline is quite young, about a decade old. So it is no surprise that there is not a thing as a natural born stem cell researcher. All the famous researchers, the founding fathers and mothers came from other disciplines and studied something else as undergrads (just like in the case of molecular biology): they were veterinarians (like James Thomson, who received his doctorate in veterinary medicine), neurobiologists (Fred Gage), developmental biologists, biochemists, molecular biologists, classical medical doctors, bioengineers and so on.
All these people got immersed into stem cell research lately in their careers and so they carry their original motivations, disciplinary intuition and knowledge base when thinking about stem cells. This is the sign of an immature discipline but also good for creative ideas to enter. Historically stem cell biology and regenerative medicine will probably become a closed, paradigm ruled discipline with the necessary restrictions and less outsider innovations. The first generation of genuine stem cell researchers are years to come.
But today all stem cell researchers can become pioneers as they have the chance to form and invent radically new paradigms, not to live by them.
Most of us believe that the massive spreading of an idea through the channels of society, say, ‘big-scale life extension technology is possible and worth realizing’, depends on highly influential people’s production and characteristics. So hardcore life extension supporters tend to think if Aubrey de Grey or Ray Kurzweil will hold another 120-120 presentations in front of highly influential people this year and the next and so on and so forth… then this fact will guarantee that one day we wake up, and see that the majority of people support our former niche topic, eager to do something for it. Make no mistake, these guys are doing their best for life extension, but according to Duncan J. Watts and Peter Dodds network researchers, it is not enough for this idea to become mainstream. What we need is a critical mass of easily influenced people to make some real great progression in life extension support. And in that respect, the Web is a par excellence medium for all of us, when everyone with a bandwidth and a computer can do their best. In the light of the above I hope soon there will be a critical mass of easily influenced life extension bloggers, wikipedians, other content generators, and so “global cascades”(see below) for LE. The responsibility is ours.
Watts and Peter Dodds are publishing their work on Influentials, Networks and Public Opinion Formation in Journal of Consumer Research, but it will be in press only in December, 2007. Nevertheless you can read the text in html or download in pdf now. Their theory on the role of the so called Accidential influentials was listed as the No. 1 in the Harvard Business Review list of Breakthrough Ideas for 2007 and here are some enlightening excerpts out of it to make the above application clear /warning: the theory was originally applied and invented in a marketing context/: Read the rest of this entry »
The Edge Annual Question — 2007 for science and technology driven people is: What are you optimistic about? Why? In my opinion it seems rational to be optimistic about things which are in my range or at least I can do something for them. So being a stem cell biologist I am really optimistic about the prospects in front of stem cell research and regenerative medicine and specially the future possibility of systemic regenerative medicine which theoretically means the continuous, gradual and consecutive regeneration of every tissue and organ of the human body n times by combined regmed approaches, i.e. tissue engineering (in vitro grown organs and tissues implants or parts of them), systemic (via circulation) and locally targeted stem and progenitor cell transplantation, and endogenous stem cell niche activation with proper growth factor delivery aiming to maintain the physiological turnover and condition of the human body. For that we do not need gene therapy or nanotechnology, just to develop the existing and aforementioned branches, methods and technologies of regmed. Systemic regenerative medicine applied to one patient indefinitely is partial immortalization. It follows from the very concept of regenerative medicine and is just the logical extrapolation of it. Although scientists and technologists in stem cell research and regenerative medicine do not realize this, they implicitly do it and every dollar supporting this science is also (partly) going for extending healthy human lifespan indefinitely. It would be good to know how the systemic repair approach works on animal models, but for that we need to overcome a whole lot of difficulties, the most problematic part will be the proper control of transplanted cell fate and the exclusion of tumorigenic transformation. Of course 2007 won’t give us the answer whether it is feasible, but it’s time to think about it and by that I mean think about experiments and set up computer models.
Mark Hamalainen is a young PhD student at Cambridge University at the mitochondrion lab of Ian Holt. Mark received a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in biochemistry and computing from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He also had research training as a visiting scholar at the California Institute of Technology and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. Mark’s research project is MitoSENS, the artificial transfer of mitochondrial genes to the nucleus in order to defend mitohondrial DNA from the high mutation rate. The technical difficulties of such a project are characterized in this article. The idea generator behind is Aubrey de Grey. I met Mark yesterday at the Eagle Pub and we had a very nice conversation on life extension technologies, strategies and philosophies.
1. What is the story of your life extension commitment? From a very early age (before I can even remember for myself, my family has informed me indirectly), I’ve had a strong fear of death and love of life. Later on, I discovered science fiction and realized that other people had ideas about overcoming death. In high school I began investigating how close science was to implementing life
extension, first in popular non-fiction books, then in scientific journals. This search inevitibly led me to the work of Aubrey de Grey, and shortly thereafter I became involved with SENS research for the Methuselah Foundation.
The first official issue of the new biological video protocol site JoVE or Journal of Visualized Experiments will be available today 11 pm EST, November 30, 2006. The graph shows November traffic in term of unique visitors, first 2.5 weeks mainly uploaders, authors, editors and editors’ friends used the page, from 17th there was a mild scientific blogosphere coverage, like Pimm, Blog around the clock and Easternblot, and from 24th, November, it was the Nature News article (no longer available, only to subscribers) aided by blogs, that generated the heaviest traffic, that led even to a server change.
Moshe Pritsker, founder and editor of JoVE says: “The first launch means more organized format (articles by categories), certain dates of issue. Later we plan to increase the qualities of the video-articles. The idea is to create a scientific publication with all the characteristics of publication, to avoid the Youtubish comparison, while remaining flexible. The site will have a different design and more video-articles, including ones from famous ES cell labs.”
Critical thinking is crucial to every successful scientific and technological project. In order to consider any attempt to the extension of life in details,we have to take a look at the other side of the coin. So in the future I try to blogterview some experts, scholars, philosophers, activists, …who are opposing some concrete points concerning life extension with the questions below:
1. What is the story of your contra life extension commitment?
2. Is it against moderate or maximum life extension?
3. Do you support moderate life extension? If not, what are your arguments against it?
4. What is your (strongest) argument against maximum life extension?
5. What are the problems with moderate life extension technologies concerning humans and why?
6. What are the problems with the present technological drafts of maximum life extension?
1. What is the story of your life extension commitment? I have been interested in life extension ever since I first learned about death as a child. During school, I was always more interested in science than any other subject; but my high-school chemistry teacher was a political activist and encouraged me to study law and change “the System.” Unfortunately, it did not occur to me that I could actually practice life-extension research until I was in law school in the 1980’s, and read Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw’s “Life Extension Handbook.” I continue to read constantly in diverse scientific fields, especially regarding anti-aging and life-extension, neurophysiology, artificial intelligence, and space. I take about 40 to 50 pills a day, mostly from the Life Extension Foundation, which I believe is the premier vitamin/supplement company in the U.S. I joined the Maximum Life Foundation about a year ago as its Chief Operating Officer, and help its Founder, David Kekich plan and implement strategies for the Foundation to help facilitate anti-aging research.
2. Is it a commitment for moderate or maximum life extension? I am definitely committed to maximum life extension. I appreciate the views of Hans Moravec and others, popularized by Ray Kurzweil in his book “The Singularity Is Near,” that technological change is happening at an exponential rate. While too many people think that super longevity won’t be practical during this century, I believe my generation of Baby Boomers will be the last humans to experience involuntary aging and death from old-age.
3. What is your favourite argument supporting human life extension?Not only will the suffering of disease and aging be alleviated, but human society will be transformed by continuous learning, and a deeper appreciation for the value of life (human and animal) and the environment in which we live.Read the rest of this entry »
Aubrey de Grey is the man, who first made serious, scientifically conceptualized life extension speech acceptable within scholarly circles through good timing, well-done strategy and with a little bit of luck. The rest is … (I’ve slightly modified the original question 4 and separated questions concerning the probable technologies of moderate and maximum life extension.)
1. What is the story of your life extension commitment?
I can’t trace when I realised that aging was a bad thing — I must have been so young that I can’t remember. But I was nearly 30 before I found out that most other people don’t think the same, or at least don’t think that it’s important enough to work on. I was in a very lucky situation to be able to make a contribution – I had training in research in a very different field, and I also had quite broad knowledge of biology – so I decide to have a go. My first publication was very well-received, so I kept going!
2. Is it a commitment for moderate or maximum life extension?
Maximum (i.e., indefinite). Aging doesn’t just kill people, it causes a huge amount of suffering in the process. Aging at a later age would also cause suffering, so it’s just as bad. It amazes me that people deny this.
3. What is your favourite argument supporting human life extension?
Well, there are so many that it’s hard to choose! – but I think the one that’s strongest of all is the alleviation of suffering. However, any argument based on the alleviation of suffering cannot stand on its own, because we evidently value the lives of people who are permanently sick as well as people who are healthy.Read the rest of this entry »
Ouroboros is a weblog mainly for people in the life sciences focusing on the different aspects of aging research through scanning articles published in peer-review journals. The blogger behind is Chris Patil, a postdoctoral fellow, currently working with Judith Campisi in the Life Sciences division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, California. If Fight Aging! is the life extension movement itself, than Ouroboros is the high-end scientific basis of it. The second part is about the technological question of LE, and the third is the answer to what can blogs do for LE.
1. What is the story of your life extension commitment?
I got interested in the prospect of life extension very early in my undergraduate education, before I knew much about biology and before I was even sure I wanted to be a biologist (I had originally planned to study chemistry or chemical engineering).
I had read a few articles about DNA damage, mitochondria and aging, which had of course convinced me that mitochondrial DNA damage was the causative force in all human aging (18-year-olds with no scientific training are remarkably easy to convince of anything), and it seemed obvious that all we’d have to do is go in and repair mitochondrial DNA in every cell of the body, and cure aging. Et voilà. It seemed painfully obvious and trivially simple to me.
Meanwhile I’d realized that most of what had interested me about chemistry was actually about biology, so I decided to become a biologist instead of a chemist. Over time I developed the idea of eventually working on the biology of aging with an eye toward life extension research. I’ve taken a lot of detours along the way but never strayed too far: I worked on DNA repair, and then cellular stress, and finally I’m studying cellular senescence.Read the rest of this entry »
My plan is to make short interviews using the same 6 questions with today’s life extension supporters/bloggers around the blogosphere. The first answerer will be Reason, the engine behind Fight Aging! and Longevity Meme.
Here are the questions:
1. What is the story of your life extension commitment?
2. Is it a commitment for moderate or maximum life extension?
3. What is your favourite argument supporting human life extension?
4. What is the most probable technological draft of human life extension, which technology or discipline has the biggest chance to reach it earliest? (regenerative medicine, nanotechnology, gene therapy, caloric restriction, bionics, hormones, antioxidants, …)
One previous post of Pimm was about the advantages of online, open source-like science protocol videos. So thanks to Sri Kosuri, here is an early sample protocol movie (3 parts) made by John Cumbers on the preparation of fixed chromatin from Drosophila embryos to use the DNA in a genomic array technology, developed in Rob White’s Cambridge lab.
Matias Pasquali has a short piece in recent Nature Magazine on the upcoming role of DIY videos in protocol sharing between scientists: “Probably the most feasible approach is to publish movies describing the methods, a service already offered by some publications and protocol websites, but which could become routine. Much more information on the essential steps of a new protocol, including audio commentary on the trickiest steps (from the position of the Petri dishes to the speed of dispensing), could be accessible using video format and published online with the paper. Such videos could transform the way in which methods are communicated.”
Pasquali has right. There are many possible advantages of the video-format. First, videos can show the insider tricks of a rigid lab science protocol, can reveal the tacit dimension behind the algorithm of mitochondrial DNA isolation from human fibroblasts for example. Second, short online protocol movies can resolve the ever-growing data amount problems of original life science articles. Recent biology articles have deep disadvantages encoded in the Methods section, which are the most unnoticed parts of the papers. Materials and Methods sections became more and more ornamental, and you can hardly repeat the original experiment if you can lean only them. Third, videos show the way to an open source and publicly visible science, which is a good entrance into the DIY age.
Unfortunately not all scientists are geeks at the same time. One working solution for protocol documentation could be the Helmet Cam which is a head-mounted video camera that makes you capable of hands free protocol video production. Saul Griffith inventor of Helmet Cam says in current MAKE magazine Backyard Biology Issue that the aim is “to make how-tos a no-brainer.” There are initiatives to share science protocols on the web, and wiki is obviously one good candidate to do that, just see OpenWetWare for example. So I can hardly wait the emergence of a YouTube-like science website. Unfortunately I did not find good sample science recipe videos on YouTube, Google or Yahoo Video, if you were lucky enough to find one, please do not hesitate to share it with all of us.
Update: Thanks to Sri Kosuri, here is an early sample protocol (part of) movie on the preparation of fixed chromatin from Drosophila embryos to use the DNA in a genomic array technology, developed in Rob White’s Cambridge lab. Link
A study at the University of Queensland, Australia examined community attitudes to the extension of life headed by project Research Manager Dr Mair Underwood (left): Dr Underwood said the most important consideration was quality of life as participants did not want to spend their extra years in a nursing home. But study participants also mentioned other considerations such as: • Would their loved ones be extending their lives too?
• What financial support would they have, and would they be extending their working lives rather than their retired lives?
• How would we decide who could extend their life? Would it just be those that could afford to do so? Link
Here are my answers concerning the most probable possibility of introducing life extension into real life at the first cost stage, when the costs of the treatment are very high:
quality of life: It is hard to imagine, that anyone wants to live long with a continuously ageing condition, losing gradually vital functions (of course we do not want it, this is not a Swift story), instead we want first to fix the ageing process, so that the biological age of the individual can remain constant, and his metabolism and energy household normal. Really different parameters. loved ones: well, the decision to participate in a life extension treatment could be a family decision and it will depend on the family budget at the outset. financial support, working life: Any serious concept of maximum life extension is about fixing your physiological age in a working and healthy state, so you can support yourself and you must when the costs are extremely high, because the state obviously cannot guarantee it. who would decide, who could extend their life? It is my first question considering how to protect the right for pimm when the costs are extremely high. Well, in a liberal democracy the principle of equal dignity require us to make the treatment possible for those, who can afford it, because immortalized persons are rational moral persons too, and forbidding their participation in the treatment would degrade them as morally inferior ones. The continuous regeneration treatment called pimm will be permissible to those who can buy it from the same reason. If the treatment would not be permitted to them, this would violate their right to self-determination, and their right to self-determination cannot be legitimately interfered with.
We really have to modify our intuitions, we have to learn thought experimentation if we want to catch the idea of maximum life extension.
In the last philosophical-political section of Pimm I tried to delineate how to protect the right for partial immortalization when the costs of the treatment are extremely high. After it turned out that on the grounds of equal dignity it is hard to make the treatment impossible for those, who can afford it, the second question is: Can the continuous regeneration treatment called pimm be permissible to those who can buy it? The answer is yes, because the persons under treatment are moral persons, are not morally in a lower class. Being a moral person is a range property: a person is a moral person or not, there is not any hierarchical moral difference between moral persons. If the treatment would not be permitted to them, this would violate their right to self-determination, and their right to self-determination cannot be legitimately interfered with.
Considering the other 2 hypothetical cost stages of the treatment, when it is moderately expensive, and eventually cheap enough that the state can guarantee it for its citizens, our question about the permissibility do not rise at all, because during that 2 pimm will be an organic and decisive constituent of society.
Third question: could we justify the right for partial immortalization with instrumental premises?
Let us see a philosophical connection between euthanasy and life extension: As the moral problem of ending human life is inevitable , so inevitable a moral problem is the extending of human lifespan, and exactly for the same two reasons as terminating life namely i., the pluralisation of world views and attitudes of life, some conceptions emerged, which, because of distinct type of reasons, require or prefer the extension of healthy human lifespan, increasing the maximum expected life expectancy and ii., the extraordinary development of medical technology and biomedicine. /The two reasons concerning euthanasy is explained in the euthanasy paper of János Kis, who was one of the mentors of my philosophy thesis./
Influential daily news article about the pimmblog on The Longevity Meme by Reason. Now LM is one of the main web channel of the worldwide but small life extension community, so it is an honor indeed.
Remember: we live in a niche, niche world. Today healthy and maximum life extension is in the minds of a few people but will eventually effect the lives of every human being.
Reason says: “The old brands (“life extension”, “anti-aging”) are losing their strength or merits, and new labels have not yet arisen to prominence. So everyone picks their own, which is fine – let cultural evolution sort out the winners.“.
In my opinion, the what-to-call-it question is just a language game, which could be important in marketing (it really is) but not in the research&development of a well functioning life extension technology, which is of utmost importance. The human body is one of the biggest engineering challenge, there are ten major organ systems, more than 200 cell types, about 10-100 trillion cells, three major types of biological macromolecules, unorganic components, so all the technologies, which can extend healthy human lifespan, be it in vitro tissue engineering, in vivo stem cell transplantation, fixing metabolism, genetic stabilizers, antioxidants, molecular repair systems, … must work together and will converge.
What concerns the distribution and publicity of LE idea: well here I make an attempt to think over the technological, scientific, economic, philosophical, moral and everyday aspects of maximum life extension and regenerative medicine in general and later publish it as a book. Anyone has an offer where to publish it? I would be very glad to hear some ideas. I’ve been thinking about the self publishing type of lulu.com which fits well with the current web era.
Thx for the attention once more and let’s start thinking together.
Here is my idea: online-offline Pro-Tech campaign&happening for life extension®enerative medicine&biotech which fits well for the participatory politics-driven spirit of Campaigns Wikia and the new and powerful web tools we have. New tools deserves new topics and issues.
Healthy Life Extension (LE) is out of those very rare issues, that could make people go to the streets and demonstrate for the first time that there are many people whose established desire is to live more and eliminate problems concerning aging through science, biotech and medicine. Many particular aims could be targeted in this area from research and health care to human rights too.
So imagine a free, geek performance for LE (more LIFE) when people, aiming high and thinking long term in every age group – old people very welcome -, researchers, coders, doctors, geeks, intellectuals, IT-entrepreneurs, businessmen… who want to live more, go and stand up for their human rights to live as long as they can to express their full human potential and stand up for life extension technologies, (embryonic) stem cell research, tissue engineering and human biotechnology in general. This would be interesting, non-violent. Hippie and hip. Not just -sometimes- boring conferences, gatherings, but lively, funny happenings which make LE aims and supporters really visible. The ideal offline place of this kind of performance would be the U.S., California the home of Proposition 71, or Miami, the Grey Zone.
More Life would be an international, intergenerational movement transcending existing political barriers, linking people together seeking the common denominator. Supporting healthy life extension is celebrating and confirming the value and dignity of human life. Live long enough to live more, than ever.
What better place than here, what better time than now?
If I would use the 2.0 lingo, I could say that the above case is when biotech 2.0 meets political 2.0. By biotech 2.0 here I mean the next, coming stage of medical BT, which has customized products and personalized services, like a continuous regeneration treatment, for healthy people too, and the users of this technology are aware and self-aware. Just like Ray Kurzweil.
Our life is the ultimate user generated content. More life, more content.
Here are three arguments for the pro-pimm activists, in a nutshell. You can decide the order of strength between them, and it depens on the hierarchy of your background assumptions. Later I explore the detailed structure of the arguments.
The first is based on the main premiss that to be alive is better than to be dead in the present circumstances of mankind. This kind of argument could be called the argument for self-sustainment. Seems triviality at the first sight. But there are opinions that reject it.
The second argument is what we called the argument for self-development or self expression, because partial immortalization in this way is the only possibility for a human and mortal individual to fully explore its own individuality, to develop its own capacities, abilities let it be mental, physical, or moral. For me this is the most motivated argument and it is deep-rooted in the history of philosophy.
The third argument is the argument for self-determination, because participating in a regeneration treatment means that this way the individual can choose the date of its death maximally, as much as possible for a member of a species like that of the homo sapiens, which lives under accidental circumstances. As it is in the subtitle of the Immortality Institute: conquering the blight of involuntary death…
Three kinds of arguments were formulated supporting why an individual could choose this treatment: the arguments for self-sustainment, self-development, and self-determination. The source of the first argument is the desire to stay alive as long as we can, the inspiration behind the second argument comes from the desire to develop our abilities as best as we can, and the inclination leading to the third argument is the desire to control the date of our death, as we can.
According to the pimm script the parameters of a partially immortalized individual are:
-the individual is continuously and voluntarily under regeneration treatment, its own body parts are partially regenerated.
- the individual could quit out of the regeneration treatment voluntarily at any stadium without harming his health, and can choose normal (evolutionary made and fixed) ageing and today’s expected lifetime and death.
- the biological age of the individual is constant, he is not aging because of the treatment, his metabolism and energy household is normal.
- the individual’s body could not be harmed in an irreversible way, because it could be repaired, replaced and regenerated except in case of a sudden death.
- the individual could die in all the known forms of death (external) except the internal cause of death through ageing and chronic diseases. For example, one could die in a car accident, could be stabbed by a knife, or shot by a gun, a nuclear weapon …and he could commit suicide with these means. He could also die in an acute disease, in hepatitis, virus infection, kidney failure, liver cyrhosis, or a stroke.
A crucial terminological and conceptual point, which came into my mind, when I read this old Fight Aging! post:
When experts, even the most comitted proponents are talking about radical life extension, they usually mention only a few hundreds or thousands years, and then put the enigmatic "more" tag at the end, but they are not very clear what this "more" could mean. In contrast, partial immortalization refers to maximum life extension, which equals to unlimited lifespan, because theoretically if all tissues and organs of an adult body were regenerated once, then it could be regenerated two and eventually n times. So pimm falls under the category of radical life extension, and forms the upper limit of that.
Why this "unlimitedness" will be so important throughout our journey?
If you would like to take into consideration all the expected an unexpected effets of a present or future technology to society in general, you have to figure out the putative and possible endpoint of that technology, and form your conception from that endpoint of view. In the case of life extension this is the possibility of unlimited lifespan, to eliminate the internal causes of death, which is partial immortalization, not just some thousand years and on the other side, not whole immortalization, i.e. to eliminate the external causes of death, and not complete rejuvenation.
The meaning of this unlimitedness in the pimm construct is philosophical and somewhat ethical. If I would like to think about life extension in a philosophical way, then I have to construct the broadest conceptual frame which is conceivable, and that is pimm.
On the other hand this unlimitedness bears some ethical burden: I, as a stem cell researcher and a philosopher have to be honest about what this technological endpoint of any life extension could be. And that is not some thousand years.
Next: The parameters of a partially immortalized individual
There are two main arguments supporting our modal statement:
i., negative: there is not any particular natural law, neither biological, nor physical which excludes this possibility.
ii., positive: we could extrapolate the technological draft of a regeneration treatment of the whole human body from the present results and methods of regenerative medicine.
Concerning the first argument, the impossibility proof of something which is not based on an outright logical contradicition, is very hard. But the argument does not say nothing about the realisation of pimm, it just opens some place in the possibility space. What if opposition considers, that entropy, in the statistical "disorder" sense, could cause a problem, say: the second law of thermodynamics necessarily excludes the possibility of pimm, because the total entropy of the human body increases over time and approaching a maximum value? Now the second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value. One point, where this metaphorical counterargument goes wrong is "isolated system". In thermodynamics, an isolated system is a physical system that does not interact with its surroundings. The human body is not an isolated, and not even a closed system, because it can exchange heat, work, i.e. energy and matter with its environment. I am pleased to announce that the human body is an open system.
Another source of objection could be based on evolution, but I discuss the connection between pimm, evolution and ageing later.
The second, positive argument is a macroargument, and the technological part of the pimm book tries to explicate this draft. An assertive quote:
”The promise of scientifically verified immortality has gained credibility with every successful organ transplant.” Frank Pasquale: Two concepts of immortality. Yale Journal of Law & the Humaities
The aim of regenerative medicine is to regenerate all tissues and organs of the human body with the help of stem cells’ regenerative potential. Theoretically if all tissues and organs of an adult body were regenerated once, then it could be regenerated two and eventually n times. (Think of the scheme of a Proof by Induction.) This technological possibility is called partial immortalization.
The main thought behind partial immortalization is quite simple. Every tissue and every organ of the whole human body could be replaced and regenerated with the help of stem or tissue-specific progenitor cell transplantation or with tissue engineering. If an adult body was regenerated once, then it could be regenerated n times. Constant and continuous iteration of this process leads to unlimited lifespan.
Leaving aside the scientific and technological details, the main statement of our thought experiment is: partial immortalization is possible with the help of regenerative medicine. An important restriction should be that partial immortalization means that an adult human organism does not age because of continuous regeneration, and so, lacks age-associated changes and diseases (cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases), the impairment of bioenergetic function and the decreased ability to respond to stress, and generally lacks the internal causes of death. But this does not mean that the immortalized person could not die in a car accident, through acute diseases, war or generally the external causes of death, or could be revived, reanimated after his death. This possibility would be immortalization in the strong or whole sense, which equals literal immortality. Briefly, partial immortalization would eliminate problems concerning ageing (ageing related physiological problems), while whole immortalization would eliminate death related problems.
Hi, I am Attila Chordash (say tshor-dash) = Attila Csordás (Hungarian), a last year PhD student, a trained molecular biologist and biotechnologist, and my topic is stem cell biology, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine. I got a master’s degree in philosophy too.
My plan here is to write an online book (bloog, blook) about Partial immortalization with the help of you, dear readers, commenters, participators. A good example for such an effort is The Long Tail which is the coming book of Wired‘s editor-in-chief, Chris Anderson.
Partial immortalization – Pimm is an online bookblog about maximum life extension and regenerative medicine. Please participate and comment because the true value and quality of the adventure needs your contribution, which I would really appreciate.
The subtitle of this ongoing book presumably will be: the philosophical problems of human biotechnology and regenerative medicine.
Though our main topic is a technological possibility, we got a chance to stand in the intersection of science, technology, philosophy, economics, religion, politics, and culture.
Partial immortalization is an extrapolated technology with which humans can reach an unlimited lifespan.
Throughout this blog I promise you an intellectual but exciting journey, a journey which helps us to think over the main problems and meanings of our human lives.
That’s why we don’t have to be cool, hip or whatever. We have to be concentrated, and overuse our imagination. That’s all.
The topic of the next post will be: What is partial immortalization.