Tag Archives | Longevity

Upload Your Mind And Live Forever

I’m not quite sure that I’d count it as “living” forever, but nonetheless the idea of uploading your mind to a computer so that it carries on indefinitely has an awful lot of people excited. Hopes and Fears interviews Professor Pete Mandik to get the scoop on this “trend”:

Science fiction has long been influenced by philosophy. Sadly, the inverse doesn’t seem to happen nearly enough.

Credit: Hiking Artist (CC)

Credit: Hiking Artist (CC)

 

Works as diverse as The Matrix (Descartes, Baudrillard), Neon Genesis Evangelion (Schopenhauer, Hegel, Kierkegaard), Frankenstein (Darwin, the Enlightenment) and Labyrinth (Berkeley, Leibniz, Pascal) have come to spread philosophical theory through mainstream culture like wildfire. They’ve all drawn narrative and artistic strength from treating philosophical subjects seriously. Not to mention sci-fi scribes like Stanislaw Lem and Philip K. Dick having their own influence on metaphysics and epistemology or Ursula K. Le Guin and Aldous Huxley, on politics and ethics.

But philosophy rarely takes its influence from science fiction, a fact that distinguishes Pete Mandik, a professor at William Paterson University, from many of his contemporaries.

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Has the First Person to Achieve Immortality Already Been Born?

Aubrey de Grey

Aubrey de Grey

The answer to this question, posed by Motherboard, is swiftly supplied by Cambridge University gerontologist and co-founder or the California-based Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) Research Foundation, Aubrey DeGrey:

“The first thing I want to do is get rid of the use of this word immortality, because it’s enormously damaging, it is not just wrong, it is damaging. It means zero risk of death from any cause—whereas I just work on one particular cause of death, namely aging. It is also a distraction, it causes people to think this whole quest is morally ambiguous and technologically fanciful.”

So now that’s clear, what does DeGrey want to achieve in his quest for, um, indefinite life?

“If we ask the question: ‘Has the person been born who will be able to escape the ill health of old age indefinitely?’ Then I would say the chances of that are very high,” he said.

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Loneliness and Social Isolation Are Just as Much a Threat to Longevity as Obesity

via Brigham Young University:

Ask people what it takes to live a long life, and they’ll say things like exercise, take Omega-3s, and see your doctor regularly.

Now research from Brigham Young University shows that loneliness and social isolation are just as much a threat to longevity as obesity.

“The effect of this is comparable to obesity, something that public health takes very seriously,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the lead study author. “We need to start taking our social relationships more seriously.”

Loneliness and social isolation can look very different. For example, someone may be surrounded by many people but still feel alone. Other people may isolate themselves because they prefer to be alone. The effect on longevity, however, is much the same for those two scenarios.

The association between loneliness and risk for mortality among young populations is  actually greater than among older populations. Although older people are more likely to be lonely and face a higher mortality risk, loneliness and social isolation better predict premature death among populations younger than 65 years.

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Google Ventures and the Search for Immortality

This story appears in the April 2015 issue of Bloomberg Markets.

This story appears in the April 2015 issue of Bloomberg Markets.

How would you like to live to 500? No problem, just make friends with the guys at Google. Katrina Brooker reports at Bloomberg Business:

“If you ask me today, is it possible to live to be 500? The answer is yes,” Bill Maris says one January afternoon in Mountain View, California. The president and managing partner of Google Ventures just turned 40, but he looks more like a 19-year-old college kid at midterm. He’s wearing sneakers and a gray denim shirt over a T-shirt; it looks like he hasn’t shaved in a few days.

Behind him, sun is streaming through a large wall of windows. Beyond is the leafy expanse of the main Google campus. Inside his office, there’s not much that gives any indication of the work Maris does here, Bloomberg Markets will report in its April 2015 issue.

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Friends Know How Long You’ll Live, Study Finds

Gerry Everding writes at Washington University in St. Louis’ Newsroom:

Young lovers walking down the aisle may dream of long and healthy lives together, but close friends in the wedding party may have a better sense of whether those wishes will come true, suggests new research on personality and longevity from Washington University in St. Louis.

“You expect your friends to be inclined to see you in a positive manner, but they also are keen observers of the personality traits that could send you to an early grave,” said Joshua Jackson, PhD, assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences.

Published Jan. 12 in an advance online issue of the journal Psychological Science, the study demonstrates that your personality at an early age (20s) can predict how long you will live across 75 years and that close friends are usually better than you at recognizing these traits.

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Transhumanism: Longevity & Immortality

Transhumanism barnstar.png

Antonu (CC)

[Excerpted from Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity by R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell]

Living beyond the perceived limits of an individual human life seems to be the central obsession of transhumanist culture. Transhumanists are against death. Many of the projects and developments discussed in this book are explicitly aimed at the defeat of the Grim Reaper. If you think death is okay, a transhumanist might call you a deathist. A deathist is an enemy of transhumanism, just as a capitalist is an enemy of communism, or a Marxist is an enemy of capitalism.

BEGINNINGS

The quest for extreme longevity through contemporary science method began to gather steam in the latter half of the 20th century. In 1962, American physics professor Robert Ettinger proposed that the biological sciences would someday soon find a key to immortality, and that cryonic preservation was a way that a person living in the 20th century could keep himself intact until that great day.… Read the rest

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Death Should be Optional

Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in “The Seventh Seal”

Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in “The Seventh Seal”

via H+ Magazine:

Now more than ever, the topic of death is marked by no shortage of diverging opinions.

On the one hand, there are serious thinkers — Ray Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, Michio Kaku, Marshall Brain, Aubrey de Grey and others — who foresee that technology may enable humans to defeat death. There are also dissenters who argue that this is exceedingly unlikely. And there are those like Bill Joy who think that such technologies are technologically feasible but morally reprehensible.

As a non-scientist I am not qualified to evaluate scientific claims about what science can and cannot do. What I can say is that plausible scenarios for overcoming death have now appeared. This leads to the following questions: If individuals could choose immortality, should they? Should societies fund and promote research to defeat death?

The question regarding individuals has a straightforward answer: We should respect the right of autonomous individuals to choose for themselves.

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XMED: Craig Venter Estimates 5 Million Complete Human Genomes Sequenced by 2020

venter-xmed

via Singularity Hub:

Researchers finished the first draft of the human genome in the year 2000. Although the decreasing cost of the technology has far outpaced Moore’s Law since then, we have yet to fully leverage all that new information, to make it really useful.

In a wide ranging talk on his work, from transcribing the first complete human genome to building synthetic life forms, genomics pioneer Craig Venter, confessed he was disappointed that genomics has taken as long as it has to scale up.

“We just got to the starting line,” Venter said, speaking at Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine conference. “Hopefully it won’t take as long to get through it as it took to get started.”

What’s changed? Earlier this year, genomic sequencing company, Illumina, announced a new sequencing system that can produce 18,000 high quality human genomes per year at $1,000 per genome—a mark dreamed of for over a decade.

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Hollywood Must Turn Its Head to Personalized Longevity Science instead of Anti-Aging Pseudoremedies

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I think Konovalenko hits the nail on the head when she says that celebrities are looking for quick solutions, but she fails to understand that that’s precisely why celebs don’t look to “personalized science” for answers. Our society is predicated on a fast, easy, and cheap mentality – a mentality that seems to be perpetuated by Western celebrity culture.

By Maria Konovalenko via The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies:

This attention-worthy article in The Hollywood Reporter signals that Hollywood people are ready and willing to do something about their longevity. The article mentions hormone replacement therapy, different check-ups and other things available in California, however completely misses 99% of what actually can be done about aging – science.

Why doesn’t the author talk about the work done at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, USC, UCLA and Stanford University?

People are looking for a ready solution, something that they can do today, and mistakenly dismiss science completely, because they think it is too far away for being applied to them.

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What People Who Don’t Age Can Teach Us

File-Oocyte_granulosa_cellsInteresting story, but those who wish for eternal youth should consider the implications for society as a whole. I believe that life-extending technology will not be evenly or fairly distributed; no more than good health care or equal justice under the law is now. I can easily imagine a long-lived moneyed elite whose lifespans stretch well over a century ruling over a short-lived plebeian working class: A vampiric neo-aristocracy.

Perhaps you’ve seen them on Dateline, or Good Morning America. Gabrielle Williams and Brooke Greenberg are girls who don’t seem to age at the same rate as the rest of us. Nine-year-old Williams weighs just 12 pounds and needs care like an infant does. By the time she was 16, Greenberg weighed 16 pounds, was 30 inches tall, still had baby teeth, and didn’t speak. She died last year, at age 20.

Now a new feature in the online magazine Mosaic takes a longer look at the Williams family… and at the scientific hypotheses about Gabby’s condition that have put them in the spotlight.

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