Last year I approached a powerful Wired editor with the following story pitch: “A full and deep but cool report on the current (scientific) life extension technologies, persons, battles, camps, grants, problems, perspectives.”
His reply was a diplomatic and definite naysaying:
“Thanks for the idea. Alas, we’ve done *way* too many stories on life-extension over the years, from profiles of the singularity guys and Aubrey De Gray (sic) to shorter takes on various startups and stuff. There may be cool stuff out there, but I’m afraid we’ve exhausted our appetite on the subject.”
However the life extension appetite is not something that could be exhausted until the problem is solved systematically and the Wired guys’ appetite seems to be restored and healthy again as in the April Wired issue (not online yet) there is a full story (or rather follow up) on the No.1 singularity guy and baby boomer escapist artist Ray Kurzweil called Stayin’ Alive by senior Wired contributing editor Gary Wolf (whose book Wired – A Romance is a good reading).
What is interesting in Kurzweil for experimental scientists/robust life extension supporters is his experimental, futuristic, life extensionist lifyestyle:
Kurzweil takes 180 to 210 vitamin and mineral supplements a day, so many that doesn’t have time to organize them all himself. So he’s hired a pill wrangler, who takes them out of their bottles and sorts them into daily doses. K. also spends one day a week at a medical clinic, receiving intravenous longevity treatments. The reason for his focus on optimal health should be obvious: If the singularity is going to render humans immortal by the middle of this century, it would be a shame to die in the interim.
T.G. works on keeping Ray Kurzweil alive…The doctor charges $6000 per appointment…Grossman’s patient today is Matt Philips, 32, who became independently wealthy when Yahoo bought the Internet advertising company where he worked for four years. Philips is in good shape at the moment, but he is aware that time marches on: I’m dying slowly. I can’t feel it, but I know it’s happening , little by little, cell by cell” he wrote on his intake questionnaire.
“The normal human lifespan is about 125 years,” Grossman tells him. But Philips wasn’t born until 1975, so he starts with an advantage…
“Life is not a randomized, double-mind, placebo-controlled study”, Grossman explains. “We don’t have that luxury. We are operating with incomplete information. The best we can do is experiment with ourselves.”
Kurzweil has his own medical predictions left out of the 14 Grand Engineering Challenges:
…by the early 2030s, most of our fallible internal organs will have been replaced by tiny robots. We’ll have “eliminated the heart, lungs, red and white blood cells, platelets, pancreas, thyroid and all the hormone.producing organs, kidneys, bladder, liver, lower esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and bowel. What we have left at this point is the skeleton, skin, sex organs, sensory organs, mouth, upper esophagus, and brain.”