Living forever

The man investing Google’s billions says we shouldn’t be afraid to live forever

It has been clear to me since 1974 that indefinite life extension (elimination of the detrimental effects of aging) is a technical possibility.

This is not the same thing as immortality.

Eliminating the dangerous effects of aging is only one small part of the many things that kill people.

One cannot eliminate risk completely – to live is to risk dying, and it does seem possible to substantially reduce most of the risks we face today – so that the average life span is something close to 5,000 years, with some few individuals living hundreds of thousands of years. I quite like the idea of living long enough to see the changes from plate tectonics.

If you really want to live a very long time you need to look at all of the sources of risk to life – to look very carefully at the incentive structures in our systems that tend to produce risk. In this sense, the use of markets as an allocation mechanism when we have the technical ability to produce abundance for all through automation seems to me to be the major risk (and to be clear I am not advocating equality of distribution, and I am advocating that all people have as a minimum all of the essentials of life – air, food, water, education, communication, travel, health care).

And it seems to me that we have a reasonable chance of creating systems that deliver such abundance to every person on the planet, and to achieve that sort of security, and it seems very likely that it will necessitate some conceptual changes in how we organise our social and political processes. A move to global cooperation, with massive technical redundancy, and widely distributed trust networks seems to be the sort of model that offers the lowest risk profiles in the long term.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
This entry was posted in Ideas, Our Future, Philosophy, Technology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Living forever

  1. Bill Struve says:

    Right on, Ted!! One problem IMHO is the need for folks to be creative and productive and automation is currently seen by some as taking away the productive need. As you say this will require changes and change seems to be feared by some. In my under grad graduation ceremony the speaker stated “I’ve seen many changes in my day and I’m proud to say that I was against every one of them.” The sad thing is that I was the only one who laughed. He continued in that vein, so he was not joking. This kind of mindset has always confused me. How would you propose to do the very difficult task of changing mindsets?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Bill,
      Most people seem to learn by doing much more easily than by intellectual exploration of concepts.
      We all learn cooperation by cooperating in activities, be they sports or social clubs, or families or whatever.
      We all seem to come with brains preconfigured to find and punish cheating – we feel deep emotions associated with unfairness.

      So it seems clear to me that it is just a matter of making the case, ever more clearly, at ever more levels, and ever more paradigms, and bringing these systems into reality, and they will be adopted, and it will feel right to most people (even if they do not understand the conceptual levels at play, they will intuitively experience the justice).

      And it will take some frontal assaults on the dominant paradigm of markets equating to freedom, to expose the false assumptions, and why those assumptions worked in the past, but fail now.

      So it is a combination of actions, on many fronts, with many people – one conversation at a time, one person at a time, one system at a time. And there are exponential aspects to the spread of such actions.


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