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  1. #1
    Senior Member zago's Avatar
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    Default Do you rationalize death?

    I have no idea where people stand here with regard to current events in the search for a cure to aging, but it clearly isn't talked about enough given its significance. There is a damn good chance that few of us will ever die, involuntarily of disease at least. In my humble opinion everyone should be talking about this and looking to spread the word and possibly contribute to the cause, because it affects not just us but our loved ones.

    The first hurdle, before any of the difficult science that needs to be overcome, is reversing our way of seeing death as a society. As death has hitherto been inevitable to everyone to live, people have come up with ways to rationalize it and lessen its emotional impact. There is no sense living in fear of death if there is nothing that can be done about it, so we have gone so far as to even convince ourselves that death is a good thing and gives meaning to life...

    Perhaps mortality is not simply an evil, perhaps it is even a blessing—not only for the welfare of the community, but even for us as individuals. How could this be? I wish to make the case for the virtues of mortality. Against my own strong love of life, and against my even stronger wish that no more of my loved ones should die, I aspire to speak truth to my desires by showing that the finitude of human life is a blessing for every human individual, whether he knows it or not.
    -Leon Kass, then bioethics adviser to president G.W. Bush
    It doesn't even stop there. People are so desperate to rationalize life's shit that they even fight FOR smallpox and equally atrocious phenomena. The following were said against Dr. Zabdiel Boylston in 1721:

    [Smallpox is] a judgment of God on the sins of the people, [and] to avert it is but to provoke him more.
    [Innoculation is] an encroachment on the prerogatives of Jehovah, whose right it is to wound and smite.
    So my intention for this thread is to make sure we are all on the same page here. If you think stuff like this, you are wrong. Death is murder by age. You've been conditioned to accept it, but it is time to start asking what's really true.

    An introductory video which does a nice job of covering all the necessary bases:



    A few more flimsy objections are possible, like the problem of overpopulation and "won't it be boring to live forever?" The first is something technology also helps solve, as it has in the past. If the present population of the Earth were given instead the technology of a thousand years ago, almost everyone would starve. Our future progress will, among other things, open up the oceans for drinking water, abolish the practice of raising livestock for meat, and give us nigh-limitless cheap energy, among other awesome changes. As for the second objection, it is ridiculous on its face, but it is obviously preferable to live and be healthy for as long as one wants, rather than getting Alzheimer's or cancer by surprise one day and withering away for months or years.

    Others simply doubt the feasibility of curing aging in the first place, citing the complexity of it, as if people can't and never do figure out complex things. My guess is that as long as some regime doesn't outlaw this from happening, longevity escape velocity will happen within the next few decades. Biotechnology is going to be extremely powerful, but nanotechnology will surpass even that. Nanotechnology is going to be pants-shittingly powerful. Further off in the future still, it will probably become possible to upload consciousness to machines, or simply opt for cryonics until the tech does become available.

    So to sum up, the main thing holding us back is our own inability conceive of life being different than it has ever been. We are so used to aging and death, we can't accept the possibility that we can conquer those things and end them for good. I figure the sooner and the more people know about this, the faster we will begin to move toward the problem of solving it. This should be our top priority, really, because we and our loved ones are in a race against time. Years matter. 100,000 people are lost every day.

    Quick/easy further readings:
    No, extreme longevity won't destroy Earth
    Would it be boring if we could live forever?
    Last edited by zago; 01-20-2014 at 04:22 PM.

  2. #2
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    I really don't think that's gonna happen in our lifetime, unfortunately.

    Also, accidents/crimes would eventually limit an arguably theoretically possible eternal life. An eventual 'backup' would likely mean a different person being originated.

    Fear of death would likely grow exponentially as people cease to see it as a natural thing.

    Quite interesting thread idea, nonetheless.

  3. #3
    WhoCares
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    This thread gave me some interesting internal reactions. Not least of which is how I feel about a life eternal. Lets say I was going to live another millenia, at what point will I lose mmories of say 2003? Would I lose them, and if I didnt would my brain start producing more brain cells to cope with the now increased load of memories? Would I grow a second brain for example? If not and I did lose memory at a certain point would life eternal be no different to life now? I would lose me from say 1980-2061 one day and effectively be continually reborn as me from xxxx-yyyy, day by day. So important things in my life would become non-existent everytime I slept. I might be bilingual today but only english speaking tomorrow. So in effect it coud be like having Alzheimers eternally except you wouldn't know you had it as things would simply go away with no awareness of them.

  4. #4
    WhoCares
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    Post shower thoughts....

    So along these same lines, back in the middle ages people didn't experience aging, they just experienced early death. No-one knew that living to 100 would bring with it the complications we know today, because no-one had lived that long. So by extension, while its tempting to imagine an eternal life in a healthy body as being some kind of mid thirties groundhog day where you get to keep every memory ever created and remember your life from 1980 to 2165, for example. The reality may be very different. What does an eternally fit body do with 500yrs or more of existence? Would the length of incarnation throw up new kinds of mental illnesses from failing to either process or forget aspects of ones life. I've only been around four decades but I already have incredibly entrenched patterns of thinking, would me at 1060 be mentally calcified to such a degree that my existence becomes insufferable? Wiuld my brain start making connections between completly disconnected events simply because they are connected by a single expanse of existence? Would I become overly paranoid, or would I become intuitivey brilliant because I have already lived through all possible permutations that any group of actions produces? Would the body start producing weird outcomes as a result of a life without decay? My second brain growing out my arse for xample? While we may prevent death and aging do we have the necessary tools to then deal with the as yet undiscovered consequences of a lack of death? Not talking about the human load on the planet, I'm talking about the personal consequences of living in a body that retains cell memory and moves through time perpetually.

    And one final question - is a ZZ Top styled beard necessary for finding the foundtain of youth.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Alea_iacta_est's Avatar
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    Immortality is a very tricky thing. One of the things that would be seen as extremely difficult to manage would be the amount of memory the brain can hold. Eventually, after a thousand years or so, the brain would be full on capacity and perhaps begin purging memories so that it can convert memories from a now abnormally large short-term memory storage (due to this storage being the only spot for memories when long-term memory is filled up) to long-term memory. This would lead to some very strange circumstances where people are so old they remember nothing of their original selves/memories (The original lifespan, 80 or so years).

    Another thing to worry about would be that if everyone is immortal, then we all have to face the one thing that will kill us unless we expand to the stars, something that is looking more like a fleeting dream today. A supernova would be a frightening way to die, being able to see the Sun expand across the sky and draw closer to Earth.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy View Post
    I really don't think that's gonna happen in our lifetime, unfortunately.

    Also, accidents/crimes would eventually limit an arguably theoretically possible eternal life. An eventual 'backup' would likely mean a different person being originated.

    Fear of death would likely grow exponentially as people cease to see it as a natural thing.

    Quite interesting thread idea, nonetheless.
    I am fairly convinced it will happen in our lifetime. I'm 28. My grandparents seem to live to around 85, but one of them is still hanging around looking pretty strong nearing 90. I'll be 85 in 2070.

    What will 56 more years' worth of technological progress bring? Well, 56 years ago it was inconceivable that humans would ever land on the moon. But of course, exponentially more will occur in the coming 56 years than in the past.



    In 2070 a typical computer will have vastly more computing power than all human brains combined. It's hard to imagine a scenario in 2070 where the process of aging and cellular repair still baffles us. Even now we are beginning to see awesome technologies that are solving age-old problems. Getting cystic fibrosis, for example, is no longer a death sentence in one's late 20s. You can pretty much live a normal life thanks to genetic therapy. 3d printing tissue and whole organs is fast becoming a reality. In 2070 those things will be laughable kinda like using leeches a couple hundred years ago is laughable now.



    This one (note it is logarithmic) shows that our computing power will reach the level necessary to simulate a human brain around 2025. As of today, we can simulate 1 second of brain activity, but it takes about an hour to do so, and even then it is partial. In a couple of decades that will have fallen exponentially and will be a full possibility. Then tack on a few more decades. It's hard to believe, again, that we will not have figured out how to put ourselves in full virtual reality by this point at the very least, which would enable immortality. We'll likely do that much sooner, though.



    Another logarithmic plot showing the exponentially falling price of DNA sequencing. Soon enough your toilet will be doing it for you when you piss. Medicine is going to become an extraordinarily precise, cheap information technology. What we have today is piddlesticks compared to what we'll have in 2030 alone.. forget about 2070--our medicine in 2070 is going to be simply unimaginable.



    Ah, the exponential rise of nanotechnology. Graphene, nanotubes, etc. are looking like they are going to hit the market around 2020. That's going to change the fuck out of this world, but those are hardly the beginning of nanotech. I'm talking about APM - atomically precise manufacturing. Molecular machines build whatever we want and swim around in our bodies doing things our immune system never dreamed of. This is expected to happen in the 2030s. I'll be around 50.

    ---

    As for accidents and crime, I would hardly worry about those. Obviously they have been decreasing throughout history and will continue to do so. Self driving cars alone, which will dominate by the 2020s, are going to pretty much completely eliminate the leading cause of accidental death, car crashes. Most other causes are things you can easily avoid if you are truly worried.

    Crime and violence in general is decreasing as well (look up some Steven Pinker stuff if you're interested), so the chances of that ending your life fall. Nonetheless, most people aren't murdered. If murder were the only thing that could kill us, I'm fairly certain most people would have no problem living hundreds of years. Then again, there will be little reason to murder anyone as the future progresses. Abundance is steadily increasing, poverty is set to disappear by 2030, and our anti-depressants are about to be bitching.

    That's an important one. Our ways of making ourselves happy will increase as well. Chemicals help and can do a lot, and so can things like deep brain stimulation. It would be odd to use those forever, though - do we give babies anti-depressants at birth? Actually we will begin to guide genetics itself towards a more happy genome. When parents are able to select traits in their young (and actually they already can, legally), they are going to pick happy, smart babies. Those of us who didn't get to be selected will be able to use genetic therapies. Eventually we should be able to edit pernicious, Darwinian facets of our minds out if we so choose, as they have become obsolete and undesirable. Envy, violence, psychopathy, things like that. Gone, gone, gone.

  7. #7
    Senior Member zago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoCares View Post
    This thread gave me some interesting internal reactions. Not least of which is how I feel about a life eternal. Lets say I was going to live another millenia, at what point will I lose mmories of say 2003? Would I lose them, and if I didnt would my brain start producing more brain cells to cope with the now increased load of memories? Would I grow a second brain for example? If not and I did lose memory at a certain point would life eternal be no different to life now? I would lose me from say 1980-2061 one day and effectively be continually reborn as me from xxxx-yyyy, day by day. So important things in my life would become non-existent everytime I slept. I might be bilingual today but only english speaking tomorrow. So in effect it coud be like having Alzheimers eternally except you wouldn't know you had it as things would simply go away with no awareness of them.
    Our memories will be vastly enhanced as time goes on, but you are already losing your memories of 2003 on a daily basis. Getting dimmer all the time! But how is that any different from life as it has ever been. Part of life has always been forgetting the past. Who truly remembers much about their childhood? This will merely be extrapolated and eventually become normal. But then again, I do think our intelligence will be so enhanced that it won't be the case. Even now, there are people who literally video record their entire waking lives. I imagine a time that could be incorporated in the human mind.

    As I often try to point out, superintelligence is already here and no one notices or cares. If I were sitting behind a curtain with my smart phone and a man from 1900 were asking me questions, I would know an ASTONISHING amount - he would think I was an ultra-mega-genius. Now, I realize my smart phone isn't a part of my body, but I pretty much treat it like one, and it increasingly will become one. I've come to terms with that fact. We will ease into these sorts of things as we are ready for them. My current superintelligence is nothing compared to what it will one day be.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhoCares View Post
    Post shower thoughts....

    So along these same lines, back in the middle ages people didn't experience aging, they just experienced early death. No-one knew that living to 100 would bring with it the complications we know today, because no-one had lived that long. So by extension, while its tempting to imagine an eternal life in a healthy body as being some kind of mid thirties groundhog day where you get to keep every memory ever created and remember your life from 1980 to 2165, for example. The reality may be very different. What does an eternally fit body do with 500yrs or more of existence? Would the length of incarnation throw up new kinds of mental illnesses from failing to either process or forget aspects of ones life. I've only been around four decades but I already have incredibly entrenched patterns of thinking, would me at 1060 be mentally calcified to such a degree that my existence becomes insufferable? Wiuld my brain start making connections between completly disconnected events simply because they are connected by a single expanse of existence? Would I become overly paranoid, or would I become intuitivey brilliant because I have already lived through all possible permutations that any group of actions produces? Would the body start producing weird outcomes as a result of a life without decay? My second brain growing out my arse for xample? While we may prevent death and aging do we have the necessary tools to then deal with the as yet undiscovered consequences of a lack of death? Not talking about the human load on the planet, I'm talking about the personal consequences of living in a body that retains cell memory and moves through time perpetually.
    You're thinking of the future in today's terms. The only real threat I see for future health is hackers and computer virus attacks, which is admittedly frightening, but I believe our defenses will evolve quite well. See my reply to rasofy.

  8. #8
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zago View Post
    Envy, violence, psychopathy, things like that. Gone, gone, gone.


    Anyways, the rest was pretty solid. :P

  9. #9
    Senior Member zago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alea_iacta_est View Post
    Immortality is a very tricky thing. One of the things that would be seen as extremely difficult to manage would be the amount of memory the brain can hold. Eventually, after a thousand years or so, the brain would be full on capacity and perhaps begin purging memories so that it can convert memories from a now abnormally large short-term memory storage (due to this storage being the only spot for memories when long-term memory is filled up) to long-term memory. This would lead to some very strange circumstances where people are so old they remember nothing of their original selves/memories (The original lifespan, 80 or so years).

    Another thing to worry about would be that if everyone is immortal, then we all have to face the one thing that will kill us unless we expand to the stars, something that is looking more like a fleeting dream today. A supernova would be a frightening way to die, being able to see the Sun expand across the sky and draw closer to Earth.
    Regarding the first point, it is hard to imagine life as we know it won't change. It will. Maybe the first 100 years will be seen as a childhood that becomes mostly forgotten, just as we see the first 10 years now. Or maybe it won't. As I've mentioned, our minds will be incredibly enhanced by the time this becomes a reality.

    As for the second, with the kind of technology we will have in the second half of the 21st century, moving the Earth out of harm's way won't be difficult. We will be able to take care of problems that today seem impossible. The really crazy thing is, if faster-than-light travel is possible, human consciousness will have permeated the entire universe well before the end of the 22nd century at it's current rate of exponential growth.

    I am guessing you are well aware of this phenomenon, but for those who aren't, ask yourself whether you'd rather have a hundred dollar bill, or a penny doubled 100 times. If you chose the latter, congratulations, you now have roughly $10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. You're an octillionaire. Same thing goes for human-related doublings. If our rate of doubling continues to grow as it historically has, universe = conquered soon.

  10. #10
    Senior Member zago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alea_iacta_est View Post
    Immortality is a very tricky thing. One of the things that would be seen as extremely difficult to manage would be the amount of memory the brain can hold. Eventually, after a thousand years or so, the brain would be full on capacity and perhaps begin purging memories so that it can convert memories from a now abnormally large short-term memory storage (due to this storage being the only spot for memories when long-term memory is filled up) to long-term memory. This would lead to some very strange circumstances where people are so old they remember nothing of their original selves/memories (The original lifespan, 80 or so years).

    Another thing to worry about would be that if everyone is immortal, then we all have to face the one thing that will kill us unless we expand to the stars, something that is looking more like a fleeting dream today. A supernova would be a frightening way to die, being able to see the Sun expand across the sky and draw closer to Earth.
    Regarding the first point, it is hard to imagine life as we know it won't change. It will. Maybe the first 100 years will be seen as a childhood that becomes mostly forgotten, just as we see the first 10 years now. Or maybe it won't. As I've mentioned, our minds will be incredibly enhanced by the time this becomes a reality.

    As for the second, with the kind of technology we will have in the second half of the 21st century, moving the Earth out of harm's way won't be difficult. We will be able to take care of problems that today seem impossible. The really crazy thing is, if faster-than-light travel is possible, human consciousness will have permeated the entire universe well before the end of the 22nd century at its current rate of exponential growth.

    I am guessing you are well aware of this phenomenon, but for those who aren't, ask yourself whether you'd rather have a hundred dollar bill, or a penny doubled 100 times. If you chose the latter, congratulations, you now have roughly $10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. You're an octillionaire. Same thing goes for human-related doublings. If our rate of doubling continues to grow as it historically has, universe = conquered soon.

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