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Jul 4, 2020

Common Sense by Thomas Paine, with Life Extension Correlations

Posted by in categories: government, health, life extension, philosophy, scientific freedom, strategy

Before the Revolutionary war in North America, a movement in favor of establishing independence paved the way. Common Sense, written by the political activist and philosopher Thomas Paine, became a central part of it. In this paper I go over some of its points while making correlations with the movement for indefinite life extension.

The people of America’s 13 colonies weren’t in agreement on how to move forward with their disputes with Great Britain. Like Thomas Paine wrote, “The mind of the multitude is left at random, and seeing no fixed object before them, they pursue such as fancy or opinion starts.” Common Sense fixed the object of independence, rather than reconciliation with tyranny, in enough minds to help make it happen.

True freedom is about much more than things like the ability to sail the open seas or be independent from the authority of kings – it is about access to all constructive opportunities, of which there may be an infinite number, and to which there are still innumerable barriers. Every day asks us whether we want to put in work to break more of the barriers around us, and every day we either reconcile with the conventions of laissezfaire or continue the struggle for freedom.

Movements have broken many bonds over the decades and centuries. What was once a world overrun with crushing suppressions is now manageable and improving in many countries on numerous fronts. We need that “fixed object” that Paine was talking about so we can open the frontiers of industrialized peoples next most pressing freedom. That object is time, the walls of defined lifespans must come down. Nothing is more absolutely enslaving than <125 year death sentences for all, and the times are ripe and ready to take it on. The world works with and engineers biology in many ways now and gets better at it faster as the toolbox of biotechnology continues to deepen. Biological mastery is in the cards if we play them.

Paine wrote, ”O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her—Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.” In that style I would write, “O ye that love life! Ye that dare oppose, not only the symptoms of mortal afflictions, but the roots, stand forth! Every spot of the world is overrun with death. Life hath been hunted round the globe. Tradition and religion have long expelled her—politics regards her like a stranger, and trend setters have given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for this survivors blood that fights on through us.”

How many injustices should we accept? How much lack of freedom should we endure? ”There are injuries which nature cannot forgive; she would cease to be nature if she did. […] The robber, and the murderer, would often escape unpunished, did not the injuries which our tempers sustain, provoke us into justice.” I often say that anger for death is there for the same reason that pain is there when touching a hot stove — it is your body prompting you to take corrective measures to end the pain. We ought endure such misfortunes when we must and take action against them when we can.

The time for life extension is now because the tools and insights are here, and also because as Paine says, “When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember, that virtue is not hereditary.” You know that the people in your life deserve to live, you understand the importance of working to get this done now, but our grandchildren might not. Humanity cannot afford to pass the buck off into the darkness. I may believe that posterity will be roughly as virtuous as us, but I’m not a prophet. Dark times tend to sweep in on their own schedules.

It is our duty to get this job done. “[N]othing can settle our affairs so expeditiously as an open and determined declaration for independance.” The Declaration of Independence was written after Common Sense, mainly by Thomas Jefferson. A life extension version of it might look something like this:


Declaration of Independence from Death

We hold this truth to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by life with certain unalienable rights, that chief among them is life itself, that is, freedom from incurring the injustice of a defined lifespan. To secure this right, science is practiced among people, deriving its just power from the purest form of the pursuit for answers, for the lifting of the veils of ignorance that hold us back from true freedom. Whenever anything becomes destructive of this end, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new practices, laying its foundation on principles and organizing its power in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their survival. The history of death is a history of repeated horrors and atrocities. Let the facts be submitted to a candid world.

Every person who dies misses out on what very well may be an infinity of incredible wonders and opportunities. This is stiflingly enormous opportunity cost. People lose their freedom, memories, goals, thoughts, themselves; others lose them; all of humanity and the universe loses them, and nothing in the universe compares to a human. The all-around suffering that death causes to the individuals it kills and the people around them is staggering and endlessly traumatic, causing stress and damage on countless levels of every part of life and society. The death process is degrading and undignified, humiliating people for decades as it reduces them to feebleness, senility and dust. Death deprives people of the ability to know what is going on in this mysterious dimension we all find ourselves in here, what we ultimately are and why we are here. It steals away our chance to know what marvels and wonders exist in the expanses of the great unknown, our ability to experience pleasures we haven’t yet, our ability to know what it’s like to experience the fulfillment of all of our goals, and the chance to work for and live in an existence of negligible or perhaps even non-existent fallacy.

We, the freedom loving members of humanity, from all around the globe, of all cultures and creeds, solemnly declare, that we are, and of right ought to be free from death in the form of defined lifespans. To this end we mutually pledge to each other our fortunes and our sacred honor.



The customs of conventions, our current mainstream traditions, are against us, and will be so, until, by a thorough awakening for independence from death, our oldest and most sacred right, takes its rightful and long overdue place among the ranks of other indispensable rights. “The custom of all courts is against us, and will be so, until, by an independance, we take rank with other nations.”

“Wherefore, if they have not virtue enough to be Whigs, they ought to have prudence enough to wish for Independance.” People do not need to want to live for thousands of years in order to want independence from death, they need only want their own freedom to choose what course they may, and the same for their friends and families. Some people don’t want to be forced to live for thousands of years, and some people don’t want to be forced to die before the age of 125. Currently, however, only the people who might choose to die at the age of 50 have the freedom to make that choice. With unlimited lifespans, we can all be free. This is about eradicating deaths tyranny, not death, in the same way that the American revolutionaries worked to break the stranglehold of tyranny that Great Britain held over them, not stop every slight and fight they might have post-independence.

“We fight neither for revenge nor conquest; […] we are not insulting the world with our fleets and armies, nor ravaging the globe for plunder.” Our war is even more dignified. It is removal of a tyranny and the installation of one of the greatest freedoms of all, all without a shedding of blood.

“[L]et a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other.” The ‘law as King’ is superior to ‘humans as Kings’ because people collectively form laws with some amount of oversight of each other’s input. “Law” as the foundation, however, can still tend to be quite arbitrary. Life is what rules us, living, the chance to do people things in a universe of endless opportunities. Let life wear the crown and guide us along our path to true freedom. “The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.” The cause of expanding our frontiers and abilities, of expanding life, is in great measure the greatest cause of them all.

Apr 3, 2020

Invitation: The Future of Work — PostCorona Futures, Free Digital Conference April 9 5pm Sydney time

Posted by in categories: futurism, innovation, policy, strategy

Greetings everyone, I am running a very unique digital conference time-slotted for participants in Asia, AUS, NZ etc on April 9, 5pm Sydney time, see details below, with 2 very well known Futurist colleagues, Ross Dawson and Shara Evans, on the Future of Work. We are using the Zoom platform again, and have room for up to 500 people; right now we’re at 280 signups but it’s filling up quickly so please sign up soonest:)

Please review the event details here, or here.

Some more related resources:

Archives of previous online shows

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Oct 25, 2019

Future Consequences of Cryptocurrency Use: Systemic Investigation of Two Scenarios

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, business, complex systems, counterterrorism, cryptocurrencies, cybercrime/malcode, disruptive technology, economics, education, employment, encryption, finance, futurism, governance, government, hacking, innovation, law enforcement, open access, policy, privacy, security, strategy, terrorism

We face complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty about the future consequences of cryptocurrency use. There are doubts about the positive and negative impacts of the use of cryptocurrencies in the financial systems. In order to address better and deeper the contradictions and the consequences of the use of cryptocurrencies and also informing the key stakeholders about known and unknown emerging issues in new payment systems, we apply two helpful futures studies tools known as the “Future Wheel”, to identify the key factors, and “System Dynamics Conceptual Mapping”, to understand the relationships among such factors. Two key scenarios will be addressed. In on them, systemic feedback loops might be identified such as a) terrorism, the Achilles’ heel of the cryptocurrencies, b) hackers, the barrier against development, and c) information technology security professionals, a gap in the future job market. Also, in the other scenario, systemic feedback loops might be identified such as a) acceleration of technological entrepreneurship enabled by new payment systems, b) decentralization of financial ecosystem with some friction against it, c) blockchain and shift of banking business model, d) easy international payments triggering structural reforms, and e) the decline of the US and the end of dollar dominance in the global economy. In addition to the feedback loops, we can also identify chained links of consequences that impact productivity and economic growth on the one hand, and shift of energy sources and consumption on the other hand.

Watch the full length presentation at Victor V. Motti YouTube Channel

Oct 10, 2019

Is Anticipation a Good Strategy?

Posted by in categories: education, futurism, policy, strategy, theory

Anticipation and to remain hopeful and patient in expecting a preferred future have a special place and a critical role in some moral and religious systems of faith. As a personal virtue, there are many natural, cultural, social, and educational factors that play a role in its development. However, for an economic agent and in general forward looking decision makers who follow a more secular worldview, the argument in favor of anticipation and how much it could be reasonable might be less clear. Therefore, it is worthwhile to explore when and under which circumstances we should choose anticipation. A convincing argument might be helpful. In this blog post I will build a framework based on game theory to provide a better and deeper insight.

Economists, mathematicians, and to some degree, engineers have contributed to the development of game theory. In neoclassic economics, it is assumed that each economic agent has a rational behavior. According to the prediction model based on such an assumption, decision makers, if they sell goods and services, tend to maximize profit and if they buy tend to maximize utility. In other words, people naturally seek the best and the most. Moreover, decision making is based on the principle of “predict then act”. The individual first predicts the likely consequences of choices and attribute to them utilities. In the next step, an alternative is chosen that has the best consequence or the most utility. This camp or school is often called the normative decision analysis.

Nonetheless, empirical studies on the behavior of real decision makers demonstrate that despite the prediction of rational models of choice, the individuals or economic agents, do not always follow the principle of the best and the most. In 1950s, for instance, Herbert Simon showed that when faced with uncertainty and due to lack of information about the future, there are cognitive limits to rationality such that contrary to the neoclassic economic theory, people do not make decisions rationally and logically in search of the optimal alternative. Instead they seek a combination of satisfaction and sufficing levels of utility which is also called “satisficing”. This camp or school is often called the behavioral or descriptive decision analysis. To further explain, no one can claim that in a certain decision the best alternative has been chosen, regardless of the choice criteria or the ideal level of utility. Because there is always a better alternative than the best alternative known to us now. That better alternative either exists now beyond our awareness or will appear in the future. But we never can choose it if we do not know about it. In brief, we can possibly choose from a subset of the best, the best element.

In light of the flaws of the actual decision making by humans, we tend to recognize both the pros and cons of normative and descriptive decision analysis. Pioneers of decision analysis therefore have attempted to work on a new integral school that is wise enough and take into account the natural cognitive limits. This camp or school is often called the “prescriptive” decision analysis. The aim is to educate and train better decision makers, both individually and collectively. Our approach here to the question of anticipation is also integral and prescriptive.

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Oct 9, 2019

Ambassador Juan José Gómez Camacho — Mexico’s Ambassador to Canada — Migrant Health, Pandemics, and Aging — IdeaXme — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, geopolitics, governance, government, health, law, policy, science, strategy, sustainability

Aug 23, 2019

Jackie Kallen — “The First Lady of Boxing” — ideaXme Show — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, business, entertainment, events, fun, health, journalism, sex, strategy

Jun 2, 2017

A Net Neutrality Nightmare? / Part II (Future A to Z)

Posted by in categories: futurism, information science, internet, journalism, law, media & arts, software, strategy, supercomputing

The recent efforts to remove Net Neutrality have given many a sense of impending doom we are soon to face. What happens to an Internet without Net Neutrality? Advocates have a vision of the possible results — and it is quite the nightmare! In this segment of Future A to Z, The Galactic Public Archives takes a cheeky, yet compelling perspective on the issue.

Part 1 / Part 2

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Jul 16, 2016

Beware the Rise of Gerontocracy: Some Hard Lessons for Transhumanism, Not Least from Brexit

Posted by in categories: aging, biological, ethics, futurism, governance, government, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, neuroscience, policy, strategy, thought controlled, transhumanism

Transhumanists will know that the science fiction author Zoltan Istvan has unilaterally leveraged the movement into a political party contesting the 2016 US presidential election. To be sure, many transhumanists have contested Istvan’s own legitimacy, but there is no denying that he has generated enormous publicity for many key transhumanist ideas. Interestingly, his lead idea is that the state should do everything possible to uphold people’s right to live forever. Of course, he means to live forever in a healthy state, fit of mind and body. Istvan cleverly couches this policy as simply an extension of what voters already expect from medical research and welfare provision. And while he may be correct, the policy is fraught with hazards – especially if, as many transhumanists believe, we are on the verge of revealing the secrets to biological immortality.

In June, Istvan and I debated this matter at Brain Bar Budapest. Let me say, for the record, that I think that we are sufficiently close to this prospect that it is not too early to discuss its political and economic implications.

Two months before my encounter with Istvan, I was on a panel at the Edinburgh Science Festival with the great theorist of radical life extension Aubrey de Grey, where he declared that people who live indefinitely will seem like renovated vintage cars. Whatever else, he is suggesting that they would be frozen in time. He may actually be right about this. But is such a state desirable, given that throughout history radical change has been facilitated generational change? Specifically, two simple facts make the young open to doing things differently: The young have no memory of past practices working to anyone else’s benefit, and they have not had the time to invest in those practices to reap their benefits. Whatever good is to be found in the past is hearsay, as far as the young are concerned, which they are being asked to trust as they enter a world that they know is bound to change.

Questions have been already raised about whether tomorrow’s Methuselahs will wish to procreate at all, given the time available to them to realize dreams that in the past would have been transferred to their offspring. After all, as human life expectancy has increased 50% over the past century, the birth rate has correspondingly dropped. One can only imagine what will happen once ageing can be arrested, if not outright reversed!

Continue reading “Beware the Rise of Gerontocracy: Some Hard Lessons for Transhumanism, Not Least from Brexit” »

Mar 18, 2016

Who’s Afraid of Existential Risk? Or, Why It’s Time to Bring the Cold War out of the Cold

Posted by in categories: defense, disruptive technology, economics, existential risks, governance, innovation, military, philosophy, policy, robotics/AI, strategy, theory, transhumanism

At least in public relations terms, transhumanism is a house divided against itself. On the one hand, there are the ingenious efforts of Zoltan Istvan – in the guise of an ongoing US presidential bid — to promote an upbeat image of the movement by focusing on human life extension and other tech-based forms of empowerment that might appeal to ordinary voters. On the other hand, there is transhumanism’s image in the ‘serious’ mainstream media, which is currently dominated by Nick Bostrom’s warnings of a superintelligence-based apocalypse. The smart machines will eat not only our jobs but eat us as well, if we don’t introduce enough security measures.

Of course, as a founder of contemporary transhumanism, Bostrom does not wish to stop artificial intelligence research, and he ultimately believes that we can prevent worst case scenarios if we act now. Thus, we see a growing trade in the management of ‘existential risks’, which focusses on how we might prevent if not predict any such tech-based species-annihilating prospects. Nevertheless, this turn of events has made some observers reasonably wonder whether indeed it might not be better simply to put a halt to artificial intelligence research altogether. As a result, the precautionary principle, previously invoked in the context of environmental and health policy, has been given a new lease on life as generalized world-view.

The idea of ‘existential risk’ capitalizes on the prospect of a very unlikely event that, were it to pass, would be extremely catastrophic for the human condition. Thus, the high value of the outcome psychologically counterbalances its low probability. It’s a bit like Pascal’s wager, whereby the potentially negative consequences of you not believing in God – to wit, eternal damnation — rationally compels you to believe in God, despite your instinctive doubts about the deity’s existence.

However, this line of reasoning underestimates both the weakness and the strength of human intelligence. On the one hand, we’re not so powerful as to create a ‘weapon of mass destruction’, however defined, that could annihilate all of humanity; on the other, we’re not so weak as to be unable to recover from whatever errors of design or judgement that might be committed in the normal advance of science and technology in the human life-world. I make this point not to counsel complacency but to question whether ‘existential risk’ is really the high concept that it is cracked up to be. I don’t believe it is.

Continue reading “Who's Afraid of Existential Risk? Or, Why It's Time to Bring the Cold War out of the Cold” »

Feb 11, 2016

Defend Your Research: What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women — By Anita Woolley and Thomas W. Malone | Harvard Business Review

Posted by in categories: science, strategy

Pallas_Athena_by_Franz_von_Stuck

“The finding: There’s little correlation between a group’s collective intelligence and the IQs of its individual members. But if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises.”

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