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
One strategy (call it Life Extension Gets Personal) to raise awareness for the idea and technology of healthy life extension is to publicly encourage life extension “coming outs” on behalf of mainstream celebrities. In order to get an academic legitimacy for LE (which is one of the most important aim of Pimm) I am interested specially mainstream or at least well established scientific celebrities. To accomplish this project a man needs to identify target persons to interview (finding hints that the person is positive about LE), contacting these persons and publish the final piece somewhere.
As a first target Craig Venter, the genomics pioneer seemed unconventional and free minded enough to approach with the idea of a LE blogterview. On the other hand I found definite signs of his interest in longevity and life extension suggesting that if Craig Venter had been given a technological-medical chance to extend his healthy lifespan significantly he would definitely not like to die due to accumulating functional declines associated with aging within the next, say hundred years. Maybe I am wrong here, maybe I am not but to figure this situation out I translated these signs into the following blogterview questions and tried to contact him in early December, 2007. So far I reached only his nice and diplomatic PR agent, who said that maybe we have a chance to get the blogterview done in the near future. Till we get there below please find my targeted questions to Craig Venter:
1. Once I’ve read somewhere but was unable to recall later that one particular motivation behind the sequencing of your own genome was your serious life extension commitment and the belief that genomics has something to say about life expectancy. Is it true? If yes, what is the story of your life extension commitment? Is it a commitment for moderate or maximum life extension? In A Life Decoded I’ve found only one paragraph in your molecular biography explicitly on Long Life about the I405V of the CETP gene but no more hint on this important topic.
2. What do you think about Aubrey de Grey’s SENS approach? You’ve been one of the judges on the The SENS Challenge Prize organized by the Technology Review in 2005 for those “who could prove that SENS was “so wrong that it is unworthy of learned debate.” ? Who got the point there?
3. What do you think about the mitochondrial theory of aging? I was a little surprised when I’ve found that your circa 16.5kb mitochondrial DNA sequence was not published in the PLOS Biology paper: The Diploid Genome Sequence of an Individual Human Obviously it is not part of the diploid genome but I expected it at least as an appendix as those 37 genes and D-loop region can give important genetic information. Have your mitochondrial genome been sequenced already?
4. In a recent Rolling Stone interview you are saying that “There is probably nothing more important to study about human biology than stem cells.” What do you think about regenerative medicine’s role in a robust and healthy life extension technology? Continue reading
The Economist print edition (Jan 3rd) has a summary article on the current healthy and scientific life extension scene starting with Aubrey De Grey’s engineering, umbrella SENS approach and talking about anti-oxidants, mitochondria, sirtuin activators and stem cell based regenerative medicine amongst others.
To my positive surprise the unknown writer of the article (do you know who wrote it?) is using the term partial immortalisation when talking about regmed’s chance to extend healthy lifespan with a link to Pimm saying “Pimm is a blog focussing partial immortalistaion” in the web version:
Stemming time’s tide
One way that might let people outlive the limit imposed by disposable somas is to accept the machine analogy literally. When you take your car to be serviced or repaired, you expect the mechanic to replace any worn or damaged parts with new ones. That, roughly, is what those proposing an idea called partial immortalisation are suggesting. And they will make the new parts with stem cells….
Some partial immortalisers seek to abolish the Hayflick limit altogether in the hope that tissue that has become senescent will start to renew itself once more. (The clock that controls it is understood, so this is possible in principle.) Most, though, fear that this would simply open the door to cancer. Instead, they propose what is known as regenerative medicine—using stem cells to grow replacements for tissues and organs that have worn out. The most visionary of them contemplate the routine renewal of the body’s organs in a Lincoln’s axish sort of way.
The term Pimm – Partial immortalization was introduced by me in this blog referring the idea, gradual and continuous replacement process and future technology of systemic regenerative medicine aiming indefinite life extension. There is a compelling logic behind I explained it many times here. The difference is in the letters, the sense is the same: ‘immortalisation’ is a British English ‘s’ version while ‘immortalization’ with a ‘z’ is rather American English (see the Google Fight graph on the right). Enough said, it is an ad hoc translation from the Hungarian “részleges immortalizáció” by me.
The source and short history of the term: For my MA thesis in philosophy (in Hungarian) I chose the term “weak immortalization” to address the philosophical problems of a though experiment of an unlimited healthy life extension technology through regenerative medicine which would eliminate problems concerning ageing (ageing related physiological problems), while strong and (technologically impossible) immortalization would eliminate death related problems. Later I replaced the weak – strong opposition to the more proper partial – whole opposition and the credit here goes to János Kis philosopher who suggested the term “partial immortalization” for me instead of the more metaphorical ‘weak’ and the modified version of my thesis was published in a book using ‘partial’. You can download the pdf here.
Since then I totally switched back to science and today I am more inclined to use the term systemic regenerative medicine (I adopted this ‘term’ used first by Maximum Life CEO David Kekich in a life extension blogterview for Pimm) which denotes the future branch of regenerative medicine focusing on otherwise ‘healthy’, aged, ‘normal’, ‘physiologic’ people instead of the characteristically and FDA approved diesased and catches the technology that is needed to reach reversible unlimited healthy lifespan, that is partial immortalization. Systemic regmed is a rather immature from a scientific point of view without an established experimental basis, I admit and more of a theoretical frame of my thoughts on the science I am practicing right now. Nevertheless it gives a fruitful, heuristic and holistic angle on regmed.
Here is the whole text referring to Pimm in the Economist piece: Continue reading