paddyfool on April 03, 2011, 08:32:15 am
So... in EFT, and in a lot of the rest of the sci-fi here, the concept of rejuvenative medicine keeps coming up. 

How realistic do people here think such tech actually is?  Could it consist of single occasional treatments as seen in EFT, or would it likely necessitate long term treatment etc. to stay young?

Right now, actively altering the ageing process itself, rather than merely treating its symptoms, seems a bit far off, even if we can do it in worms etc.  I'm hopeful about better treatments for many of the major diseases of ageing, particularly Alzheimer's and osteoporosis, but actually slowing the ageing process itself is something we haven't begun to do yet.  What are your views on this?

SandySandfort on April 03, 2011, 10:44:06 am
Right now, actively altering the ageing process itself, rather than merely treating its symptoms, seems a bit far off, even if we can do it in worms etc.  I'm hopeful about better treatments for many of the major diseases of ageing, particularly Alzheimer's and osteoporosis, but actually slowing the ageing process itself is something we haven't begun to do yet.  What are your views on this?

From what I read, if you can last 15-20 more years, you will never die of disease or old age. That puts me right on the cusp. I will either be one of the last generation to die of age and disease, or one of the first generation to live indefinitely. For a good overview read Kurzweil's Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever.

spudit on April 03, 2011, 10:52:32 am
Mostly what sickens and kills us now is caused by our own choices. Look at all the biggies in no special order, hell, we all know the list. Don't smoke and a big chunk of them drop away, watch your weight, a bunch more, don't expect to be a drunk with a healthy liver, unlikely in the long term. If the EFT folks avoid all that destructive foolishness or mitigate the bad effects, more work for the same results, they are way ahead.

So if the newlyweds, and I was teasing about the chick flick stuff, really I was. If the newlyweds know enough to not break their innards, fixing age is easier. Then it comes down to normal wear and tear repair.

But treatments for damage teach us how to fix things. If you can regenerate a smoker's lungs a nonsmoker's is way easier. All the smokers out there are in a way subsidizing it for the rest. I wonder how much HIV has taught doctors about the immune system, fixing of. Not one machine or one treatment all at once though but the first steps are all around us.
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spudit on April 03, 2011, 10:57:05 am
Recently 2 of my younger brothers got fat, then hypertensive and diabetic. I'm with Sandy on this one, I got too much to do I can't do dead. And no way I'm getting fat.
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paddyfool on April 03, 2011, 12:49:43 pm
@Sandy,

Thank you for your speedy reply on this!

From what I read, if you can last 15-20 more years, you will never die of disease or old age. That puts me right on the cusp. I will either be one of the last generation to die of age and disease, or one of the first generation to live indefinitely. For a good overview read Kurzweil's Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever.

Thanks for that reference.  Skimming the three free chapters they have online was fairly interesting.  It seems the crux of their book is to put a case for "three bridges":

Quote
This book describes three bridges.
1. The First Bridge—Ray & Terry’s Longevity Program—consists of present-day therapies and guidance that will enable you to remain healthy long enough to take full advantage of the construction of the Second Bridge.

2. The Second Bridge is the biotechnology revolution. As we learn the genetic and protein codes of our biology, we are gaining the means of turning off disease and aging while we turn on our full human potential. This Second Bridge, in turn, will lead to the Third Bridge.

3. The Third Bridge is the nanotechnology-AI (artificial intelligence) revolution. This revolution will enable us to rebuild our bodies and brains at the molecular level.2

Personally, I'm extremely skeptical of any predicted timescale for that "Third Bridge".  We haven't seen any fruits of nanotechnology yet visavis human health.  As for the second bridge... the timescale on dramatic improvements in health from biotech seems to be continually moved back.  We were promised great things from fiddling with telomeres, but their degradation actually seems to fulfil a useful role, so stopping it doesn't altogether help.  We were promised the same from stem cells... but we've learned we have to be very careful indeed with them, since our own stem cells are ultimately at the root of the vast majority of cancer (and the rest are caused by other cells starting to act like stem cells).  Certainly, we can expect to find further treatments and prophylaxis for all sorts of things, and there is more research into the mechanisms of ageing itself than ever before, but I'm very unconvinced of a 10-15 year timescale on a real gamechanger. Finally, on the "first bridge"... the big issue here is that a lot of people simply can't and won't be bothered.  But yes, we are finally getting a handle on what the good advice really is for healthy living (although whether I'd agree with their suggestions is an open question, since the first three chapters don't get into that).  And whether or not you think it'll help you live long enough live forever, we can be pretty sure it can keep you healthier longer, which has to be worth something.

Overall, if I can be forgiven a personal view... I'm 30, and fundamentally pretty healthy, but I really don't expect to live forever, whatever they and Aubrey de Grey (whom they reference) might promise. 

@spudit,

Mostly what sickens and kills us now is caused by our own choices. Look at all the biggies in no special order, hell, we all know the list. Don't smoke and a big chunk of them drop away, watch your weight, a bunch more, don't expect to be a drunk with a healthy liver, unlikely in the long term.

I'm with you on all those bits of advice, and would particularly add "exercise regularly" and "try and maintain a happy social life and good long term friends and relationships".

If the EFT folks avoid all that destructive foolishness or mitigate the bad effects, more work for the same results, they are way ahead.

So if the newlyweds, and I was teasing about the chick flick stuff, really I was. If the newlyweds know enough to not break their innards, fixing age is easier. Then it comes down to normal wear and tear repair.

But treatments for damage teach us how to fix things. If you can regenerate a smoker's lungs a nonsmoker's is way easier. All the smokers out there are in a way subsidizing it for the rest. I wonder how much HIV has taught doctors about the immune system, fixing of. Not one machine or one treatment all at once though but the first steps are all around us.

We do indeed learn a fair bit from treatments for such damage.  But we still don't have effective treatments for many of these - to take the example of regenerating smokers' lungs, lung cancer remains a killer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease a largely irreversible disabling condition (without a lung transplant, anyway).  HIV, meanwhile, did help drive research into aspects of immunology that were fundamentally hard to reach; but it remains an area where we've made ourselves promises visavis what we might be able to achieve that we haven't been able to reach (cures and vaccines have been promised "within 10 years" for 25 years now; so far, one person in all the world may actually have been cured of HIV, and that's about it).

J Thomas on April 03, 2011, 01:49:40 pm
Mostly what sickens and kills us now is caused by our own choices. Look at all the biggies in no special order, hell, we all know the list. Don't smoke and a big chunk of them drop away, watch your weight, a bunch more, don't expect to be a drunk with a healthy liver, unlikely in the long term. If the EFT folks avoid all that destructive foolishness or mitigate the bad effects, more work for the same results, they are way ahead.

Any of those mistakess can take maybe 20 years off your life. But without something new that we don't have much clue about yet, you'll still die by the time you're 120 of a collection of things we might as well call old age.

Talking about life extension beyond the obvious stuff means guessing about future technology. We don't know what we'll find. We won't know until we find out. Maybe there will be some easy way to double lifespan. Maybe there will be a long slog of individual problems that can be solved each separately. If it's the latter, then people who are rich enough can spend their money on life extension, and the rest of us won't have that luxury.

Even if the costs aren't outrageous, wouldn't it be owners and not employees who would get treatment? If you want to hire somebody, would you prefer a young person who doesn't have too many of his own ideas, and can be easily molded? Or an older person with more expensive health needs, who's probably getting set in his ways? If you aren't independently wealthy by the time you're, say, 50 it might be too late for you to get rejuvenation. Unless of course the government makes another boondoggle of it.

SandySandfort on April 03, 2011, 04:38:14 pm
Maybe there will be a long slog of individual problems that can be solved each separately. If it's the latter, then people who are rich enough can spend their money on life extension, and the rest of us won't have that luxury.

Yes, and also "the rest of us" will never will have computers. Only governments, huge corporations and universities will be able to afford them. And don't get me started about airplanes! Playthings for only the rich. The idea of the "average American" flying from coast to coast or off to Europe is the purest fantasy! Poor people owning portable telephones? Give me a break. If you believe that, you've clearly been reading too much science fiction!

J Thomas on April 03, 2011, 04:57:19 pm
Maybe there will be a long slog of individual problems that can be solved each separately. If it's the latter, then people who are rich enough can spend their money on life extension, and the rest of us won't have that luxury.

Yes, and also "the rest of us" will never will have computers. Only governments, huge corporations and universities will be able to afford them. And don't get me started about airplanes! Playthings for only the rich. The idea of the "average American" flying from coast to coast or off to Europe is the purest fantasy! Poor people owning portable telephones? Give me a break. If you believe that, you've clearly been reading too much science fiction!

If you can find solutions which can be repeated for everybody then it turns cheap. if you're stuck with customized solutions then it stays expensive.

We can mass-produce computers, cellphones, etc. So those turned cheap. When we can mass-produce healthcare then we'll be able to afford it for most people.

We might get just the right breakthroughs that let us have life extension and rejuvenation for everybody. Or we might not. I have no idea how to predict that. We have cellphones for practically everybody and we don't have helicopters or personal jetpacks for everybody. When I was a kid some rich guy visited his poorer relatives across the street. His helicopter landed on the vacant lot and he got out carrying his helmet under his arm. It was impressive. I don't expect to have millions of private helicopters any time soon. Not while they run on fossil fuel. And I could be wrong.

Whether we get working rejuv, and how expensive it will stay, depends on technology which has not yet been developed -- based on science which has not yet been discovered. You can have it your way in your story and I agree it could come out like that.

GlennWatson on April 03, 2011, 07:04:08 pm
I think what will happen is that we will gradually be able to cure many diseases, cancer being the big one.  But stopping aging, I don't think so, and honestly I do not think it would be a great world to live in if people lived forever.

One small problem of many.  Think of young athletes having to compete with say Michel Jordan forever.

SandySandfort on April 03, 2011, 08:08:50 pm
Whether we get working rejuv, and how expensive it will stay, depends on technology which has not yet been developed -- based on science which has not yet been discovered. You can have it your way in your story and I agree it could come out like that.

Read Kurzweil and other peoples in the Extropian, Transhuman, Life Extension fields, then come back and argue from knowledge instead of from ignorance. If you don't agree with these folks after that, fine and dandy, but you have no standing to argue anything but uniformed personal opinions otherwise.

wdg3rd on April 03, 2011, 09:28:33 pm
I think what will happen is that we will gradually be able to cure many diseases, cancer being the big one.  But stopping aging, I don't think so, and honestly I do not think it would be a great world to live in if people lived forever.


If you don't want to live forever, it's your choice.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

paddyfool on April 03, 2011, 09:52:07 pm
Without doing a full review of his writing, I can, instead, do a quick review of his critical reception - and it seems that he may have been overly optimistic in the past in terms of guessing at future mortality trends.

And in thinking about life expectancy, it's worth noting that while growth in computing power has been exponential, growth in senescent life expectancy in rich countries - ie the lifespan you can expect to have before dying of a disease of old age, ignoring unrelated mortality - has been pretty linear, at a rate of 0.15 years per year (considerably less than the >1 year per year you'd need for immortality, and largely attributable to relatively low-tech interventions, such as smoking decline).  The trend in overall life expectancy has been similarly linear; e.g., in the USA, it went from 69.8 in 1960 to 74.6 in 1984 and 78.4 in 2008.

On the whole, I'd be willing to make a 15-year gentleman's bet that life expectancy won't dramatically accelerate.  Between 1998 and 2008, life expectancy in the USA increased by 1.8 years, in line with its overall trend over previous decades; I'd be very willing to make the (somewhat morbid) bet that between 2011 and 2026, the growth in life expectancy in the USA will be less than 4.5 years (ie <3 years per decade).  Let's say... the price of a 1/10 Krugerrand on April 4th 2026.  You can promise it to a charity of my choice if I win, and I to a charity of yours.  (I'll pick medicins sans frontieres, since I'm also pretty confident that war and natural disaster won't have stopped in this timeframe).  Anyone want to take this bet?  (I'm open to downwards or currency negotiation on what's at stake).

spudit on April 03, 2011, 11:21:51 pm
Medically, one size does not fit all. I have never smoked so an insurance company would quote me a different rate than a smoker, and todays overweight kids have a different life expectancy than the skinny ones. Even if a treatment existed to level the field, it absorbs resources better used to enhance what you have.

So I guess the answer is to only have the bad habits needed for sanity and don't paint yourself into any corners, avoid the biggest threats and hope Sandy is right. No matter what, the person with the fewest preexisting conditions is the best candidate for life extension.

Nasty thought, mandnatory rejuvination for prison lifers. That guy who gets 450 years, or 7 life sentences for whacking a whole car load of tourists serves them all.
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dough560 on April 04, 2011, 01:35:52 am
Doc Taylor's books "Warp Speed" and "Quantum Connection"  delve into emerging nano tech.  I expect like any other technology there will be a steady but minor development, until we reach the point a paradigm shift occurs.  Then massive changes will occur.

From government's perspective, people with long healthy lives, the freedom to create and the ability to retain profits from their creativity; will have little use for a government stealing 3/4 of their profits through direct and hidden taxes.  Such people are a direct threat to any suppressive government.  Yes, I'm including the USA.

One thing is guaranteed. Government will move to limit access through regulation.  Regulations designed to drive up costs.  Just look at our current experiences with health care.  Again the government will claim, only Government  can solve the resulting problems.  Again increasing costs through regulations and taxes.  Such as our new Health Care Law.

quadibloc on April 04, 2011, 02:25:48 am
Mostly what sickens and kills us now is caused by our own choices.
Really? How come I never see anyone who made the right choices, and lived to be 200?

 

anything