assuming we are heading into a global economic crisis…
Last year I was probably the only SciFoo Camper with an explicit life extension commitment. I suggested & held a session which was related a bit to partial immortalization but was rather about the systems biology perspective in general, illustrated with some examples. So throughout the terrific SciFoo Camp 2007 life extension as a conversation topic remained rather implicit (ok, close to zero) and there was not much room to discuss it in the lack of other fellow life extensionists.
In my opinion the whole point of unconferences is to form the good aggregate of people with a common interest & similar/complementer message to join forces in order to draw enough (intellectual) attention for their topic. In this context, an unconference is about topics at the first place, not just about people. Idea networking is as important as social networking.
And if something fits 100% with the idea of SciFoo it is life extension/aging just as handling terrantic scientific datasets, open science or climate change as all these topics are utterly complicated and quite urgent screaming for the attention of the smartest people.
So I emailed Timo Hannay, SciFoo organizer:
“One thing I’ve noticed is that it would be very good to organize a session on scientific life extension technologies and consequences, because the SciFoo people are ideal to see and discuss all angles of this really important topic.”
In No kidding, I am a cum laude philosopher, and so can you! it turned out that finally I got a philosophy diploma. That said, from now on I am officially qualified to think on the big questions of life. For instance, I can find out new arguments and concepts and I can answer (or at least fine-tune) questions like: ‘what is the meaning of life?’. (The best analysis of this question for me was Robert Nozick‘s Philosophy and the Meaning of Life in the last chapter of his book Philosophical Explanations, for an official intro see Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
So here is a short analysis and an answer of mine to this most important philosophical question from the point of view of a life extension supporter:
1. premise: this question could be answered only if it not about the general meaning of all life, but the particular meaning of individual human lives.
2. analysis: let’s fill the question up to show the variables in it: ‘what is the meaning of an individual human life (x) for somebody individual (y)?’ Continue reading
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 Continue reading
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – said Alan Kay, computer legend in 1971.
Recently I had a comment dialogue with Chris on whether state-supported research or industrial business enterprises can (or should) lead to big progress in robust and healthy life extension technologies. Besides the government and corporation coin the research breakthrough could come from an aging focused foundation like the non-profit Methuselah Foundation behind the SENS approach, which supports research projects (like MitoSENS and LysoSENS) and scientists (like Mark and John) through cooperation with university labs. And finally, there is going to be another option to contribute:
Human genome schmutz: Nobody wants to get old or worse, appear old. And forget about dying. That’s the ultimate bummer. Genetic research has been held back recently by a series of disasters too terrible to mention in this venue, or even look up right now, since we’re very busy. But the three-headed midget sheep problem will be solved by 2014 and recombinant DNA, stem-cell and mitochondrial transmogrification technology will begin making inroads into the problem of aging, extending human life to its ultimate limit and even beyond, particularly for really rich people who are on everybody’s nerves already. Another enormous opportunity for confabulators here.
Well, why exactly am I working with human mitochondria and stem cells at the bench? Maybe it’s time again to recall.
Thanks to Kevin, you can now watch the video too:
Colbert: “But if people lived to be a 1000 years old won’t that kill any ability for humans to take risks cause if I’ve known I lived to be a 1000 I am not going to cross the street because you can’t cure being hit by a bus.”
Aubrey: “Well, you’ll be able to get your grandmother to help you to cross the street.”
That is a witty (and the same time, deep) answer indeed: People usually help their grandmother to cross the street but in a many generational “rejuvenated” world people will be able to take care of their descendants to the same extent as they are able to take care of their ascendants today. Moreover, it has something to do with the philosophical question of intergenerational justice: Continue reading