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Archive for the ‘life extension’ category

Oct 17, 2014

Alchemy vs Networks: The cure for ageing will come — but it will not be something physical

Posted by in categories: aging, biotech/medical, complex systems, evolution, life extension, transhumanism

Since ancient times people have been searching for the secret of immortality. Their quest has always been, without exception, about a physical item: a fountain, an elixir, an Alchemist’s remedy, a chalice, a pill, an injection of stem cells or a vial containing gene-repairing material. It has never been about an abstract concept.

Our inability to find a physical cure for ageing is explained by a simple fact: We cannot find it because it does not exist. It will never exist.

Those who believe that someday some guy is going to discover a pill or a remedy and give it to people so that we will all live forever are, regrettably, deluded.

I should highlight here that I refer to a cure for the ageing process in general, and not a cure for a specific medical disease. Biotechnology and other physical therapies are useful in alleviating many diseases and ailments, but these therapies will not be the answer to the basic biological process of ageing.

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Oct 13, 2014

2014 Longevity and Genetics Conference – Keynote Aubrey de Grey

Posted by in categories: aging, biological, biotech/medical, DNA, events, genetics, life extension, science

Western Canada’s most futurist-oriented longevity organization, the Lifespan Society of British Columbia, has organized a first-class life extension conference, which will take place later this fall in the heart of downtown Vancouver. The Longevity and Genetics Conference 2014 offers a full-day of expert presentations, made accessible to a general audience, with keynote on the latest developments in biorejuvination by Aubrey de Grey of SENS Research Foundation. The conference will be interactive, with a panel session for audience questions, and VIP options for further interaction with speakers.

ImageofAubreydeGrey

Aubrey de Grey

Who will be there? In addition to Aubrey de Grey, there are four other speakers confirmed thus far: Dr. Angela Brooks-Wilson, Head of Cancer Genetics at the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at the BC Cancer Agency, Dr. S. Jay Olshansky, Board of Directors of the American Federation of Aging Research, and co-author of The Quest for Immortality: Science at the Frontiers of Aging, Dr. Clinton Mielke, former Mayo Clinic researcher and founder of the quantified self platform “infino.me”, and lastly, one of futurism’s most experienced and dedicated radical longevity advocates, Benjamin Best, who is currently Director of Research Oversight at the Life Extension Foundation. This conference is a multi-disciplinary event, engaging several points of interest and relevance in the longevity space, from the cellular, genetic science of aging, to the latest epidemiological and even demographic research. You can also expect discussion on personalized medicine and quantified self technologies, as well as big picture, sociological and philosophical, longevity-specific topics.

All around, the 2014 Longevity and Genetics conference, set to take place Saturday November 15, has a lot to offer, as does the host city of Vancouver. A recent study has indicated that a majority of Canadians, 59%, are in favor of life extension technology, with 47% expecting that science and technology will enable living until 120 by 2050. The Lifespan Society of British Columbia is keeping that momentum and enthusiasm alive and growing, and I’m glad they have organized such a high-calliber event. Tickets are currently still available. Learn more about the event and purchase tickets here.

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Oct 1, 2014

The Abolition of Medicine as a Goal for Humanity 2.0

Posted by in categories: aging, biological, bionic, biotech/medical, ethics, futurism, genetics, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, medical, philosophy, policy, transhumanism

What follows is my position piece for London’s FutureFest 2013, the website for which no longer exists.

Medicine is a very ancient practice. In fact, it is so ancient that it may have become obsolete. Medicine aims to restore the mind and body to their natural state relative to an individual’s stage in the life cycle. The idea has been to live as well as possible but also die well when the time came. The sense of what is ‘natural’ was tied to statistically normal ways of living in particular cultures. Past conceptions of health dictated future medical practice. In this respect, medical practitioners may have been wise but they certainly were not progressive.

However, this began to change in the mid-19th century when the great medical experimenter, Claude Bernard, began to champion the idea that medicine should be about the indefinite delaying, if not outright overcoming, of death. Bernard saw organisms as perpetual motion machines in an endless struggle to bring order to an environment that always threatens to consume them. That ‘order’ consists in sustaining the conditions needed to maintain an organism’s indefinite existence. Toward this end, Bernard enthusiastically used animals as living laboratories for testing his various hypotheses.

Historians identify Bernard’s sensibility with the advent of ‘modern medicine’, an increasingly high-tech and aspirational enterprise, dedicated to extending the full panoply of human capacities indefinitely. On this view, scientific training trumps practitioner experience, radically invasive and reconstructive procedures become the norm, and death on a physician’s watch is taken to be the ultimate failure. Humanity 2.0 takes this way of thinking to the next level, which involves the abolition of medicine itself. But what exactly would that mean – and what would replace it?

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Sep 10, 2014

“Immortal” Cells from Henrietta Lacks Lead to Updated Rules on Genomic Data Sharing

Posted by in category: life extension

By Richard Van Noorden and Nature magazine — Scientific American

Scientists who work on genomics and are funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) must post their data online so that others can build on the information, the agency has said in an update to its guidelines.

The change, which expands the remit of an earlier data-sharing policy, is not expected to drastically alter research practices — many genomics researchers are accustomed to sharing their data. But the latest policy, released on 27 August, gives clearer instructions for gaining the informed consent of study participants. The NIH will now require researchers to tell study participants that their data may be broadly shared for future research.

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Sep 2, 2014

Virtually Human, by Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D.

Posted by in categories: life extension, transhumanism

In Virtually Human, you’ll have the privilege of meeting Bina48, the world’s most sentient robot, commissioned by Martine Rothblatt and created by Hanson Robotics. Bina48 is a nascent Mindclone of Martine’s wife that can engage in conversation, answer questions, and even have spontaneous thoughts that are derived from multimedia data in a Mindfile created by the real Bina (be sure to check her out on Twitter too – @iBina48!).

If you’re personally active on Twitter or Facebook, share photos through Instagram, or blog regularly, you’re also already on your way to creating a Mindfile – a digital database of your thoughts, memories, feelings, and opinions. And soon, this Mindfile can be made conscious with special software—Mindware—that mimics the way human brains organize information, create emotions and achieve self-awareness. Virtually Human is the only book to examine the ethical issues relating to cyberconsciousness and Rothblatt, with a Ph.D. in medical ethics, is uniquely qualified to lead the dialogue. On sale Sept 9th, I wanted to be sure everyone at Lifeboat knew about it, and you can pre-order your copy today: http://smarturl.it/vhaz and http://smarturl.it/bnVh.

Jul 12, 2014

Online anonymity, privacy, and longevity

Posted by in categories: life extension, privacy

Or: Relinquish your privacy if you want to live longer

At first, it may appear strange to suggest that living longer has something to do with using pseudonyms online. However, it is true. I am suggesting that people who are well known online, those who are hyper-connected, and those who facilitate others to have access to relevant and meaningful information, are more likely to live longer.

It works like this: Humans are continually evolving and adapting to their environment. Our current environment is one of technology, digital communication, intense information-sharing and hyper-connection. Within this society we are exposed to vast amounts of both trivial and relevant information, which reaches our brain and may alter our basic biology causing a series of beneficial cellular and molecular changes which promote healthy lifespan (http://benthamscience.com/journal/abstracts.php?journalID=ca.….ID=122290″).

Looking at this from a different perspective, it is known that agents which are useful to the collective are retained longer within the system (http://xxx.tau.ac.il/abs/1402.6910). This can be true of any agent (i.e. any autonomous actor) such as a computer node, a human neuron, or an entire human. In this case, humans are digitally connected to other humans within a higher entity called the Global Brain (http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/03/16/francis-heylighen-on-the.….bal-brain/). The more well-connected you are, and the more useful you are to the evolution of the Global Brain, the more likely it is that you will be retained by the system, i.e. you will live longer within this system.

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Jul 1, 2014

The Immortalists: New doc explores the radical life extension movement

Posted by in categories: aging, life extension

By — Geek

immortalists head

What if you knew of the greatest tragedy in human history, one that’s been ongoing since the dawn of life itself, and what if nobody would even believe that it was happening? That seems to be the situation for people like Bill Andrews and Aubrey de Gray, biologists and life extension theorists who believe (loudly) that human beings have the capacity to end the process of aging. Under this way of thinking, the people alive today are racing against a clock they cannot see; if mankind advances far enough, quick enough, you might just live forever.

A new documentary called The Immortalists is making its way from festivals to wider distribution, picking up cred as it goes. The two aforementioned scientists are the topic of this focused argumentative piece, which sets out to show you the life extension movement and two of its most successful exponents. They take you through the science and philosophy of death, and you may be surprised at just how close we really are to radically extending the human lifespan — if you can pay for a full court press of treatments and procedures. There’s a definite Occupy vibe to much of the life extension crowd, which follows rather logically from the idea that more and more people are going to be around and consuming resources for longer and longer periods of time.

Read more

Jun 19, 2014

Mind uploading won’t lead to immortality

Posted by in categories: aging, bionic, biotech/medical, evolution, futurism, human trajectories, life extension, neuroscience, philosophy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, singularity, transhumanism

Uploading the content of one’s mind, including one’s personality, memories and emotions, into a computer may one day be possible, but it won’t transfer our biological consciousness and won’t make us immortal.

Uploading one’s mind into a computer, a concept popularized by the 2014 movie Transcendence starring Johnny Depp, is likely to become at least partially possible, but won’t lead to immortality. Major objections have been raised regarding the feasibility of mind uploading. Even if we could surpass every technical obstacle and successfully copy the totality of one’s mind, emotions, memories, personality and intellect into a machine, that would be just that: a copy, which itself can be copied again and again on various computers.

THE DILEMMA OF SPLIT CONSCIOUSNESS

Neuroscientists have not yet been able to explain what consciousness is, or how it works at a neurological level. Once they do, it is might be possible to reproduce consciousness in artificial intelligence. If that proves feasible, then it should in theory be possible to replicate our consciousness on computers too. Or is that jumpig to conclusions ?

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May 29, 2014

Suspended Animation Goes Primetime: Say Goodbye To Death As We Know It

Posted by in category: life extension

— Singularity Hub
http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/suspended-cryo.jpg

Death has always been something of a moving target. Take, for example, the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, published in 1768, that defined the term as “the separation of soul and body; in which sense it stands opposed to life, which consists in the union thereof.

But how can you tell when said separation occurs? Well, that’s a slightly more complicated procedure and one we still haven’t quite cracked. Thus, moving forward, and trying for an—um— more practical definition, we began to define the end of life by a series of cessations.

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Apr 23, 2014

Book Review: The Human Race to the Future by Daniel Berleant (2013) (A Lifeboat Foundation publication)

Posted by in categories: aging, alien life, asteroid/comet impacts, biotech/medical, business, climatology, disruptive technology, driverless cars, drones, economics, education, energy, engineering, ethics, evolution, existential risks, food, futurism, genetics, government, habitats, hardware, health, homo sapiens, human trajectories, information science, innovation, life extension, lifeboat, medical, nanotechnology, neuroscience, nuclear, philosophy, policy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space, space travel, sustainability, transhumanism

From CLUBOF.INFO

The Human Race to the Future (2014 Edition) is the scientific Lifeboat Foundation think tank’s publication first made available in 2013, covering a number of dilemmas fundamental to the human future and of great interest to all readers. Daniel Berleant’s approach to popularizing science is more entertaining than a lot of other science writers, and this book contains many surprises and useful knowledge.

Some of the science covered in The Human Race to the Future, such as future ice ages and predictions of where natural evolution will take us next, is not immediately relevant in our lives and politics, but it is still presented to make fascinating reading. The rest of the science in the book is very linked to society’s immediate future, and deserves great consideration by commentators, activists and policymakers because it is only going to get more important as the world moves forward.

The book makes many warnings and calls for caution, but also makes an optimistic forecast about how society might look in the future. For example, It is “economically possible” to have a society where all the basics are free and all work is essentially optional (a way for people to turn their hobbies into a way of earning more possessions) (p. 6–7).

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