Quora – most recent research about aging

What is the most recent research about aging?

I really don’t know with absolute certainty, and I have a lot of indications that give me a reasonable level of confidence, though not yet a confidence “beyond all reasonable doubt”.

I suspect that there has been some very successful research done by groups like Calico, but none of that has been reported in the last year.

Foresight Institute published some interesting videos on youtube recently, that point to some interesting directions in research and understanding, and I suspect that those few individuals with access to the full power of google’s latest AI algorithms will have made significantly greater progress than that being publicly reported.

If that is the case, then it poses a suite of issues:

Do they make the technology generally available?

Can one actually have a reasonable probability of living a long time with reasonable freedom if it is not generally available? (My investigations indicate the answer to that is clearly no – but I have not developed a formal proof for that which I can communicate to others in any reasonable time-frame.)

How do we scale that technology for general delivery?

What sort of changes are required to social, political and technical institutions to actually give individuals who are biologically capable of living indefinitely a reasonable probability of doing so with reasonable degrees of freedom? (That question has dominated my life since completing my undergraduate biochemistry studies in 1974 and being clear that indefinite life extension was logically possible {it is in fact the default mode for cellular life}).

One major issue is, that once one starts working with really complex systems, and one develops internal techniques that allow for recursive abstraction of ideas from multiple domains, then the ability to communicate the complexity involved decreases exponentially (the bandwidth of current communication technologies is just too low). All one can really do is point to a path, and answer any questions with as much attention and clarity as possible.

Another major issue is our current social institutions. They are very complex, and do many levels of vital functions; yet most are predicated on a market measure of value which is itself predicated on scarcity, and fails under conditions of universal abundance which are both possible and essential for many classes of output when fully automated systems are deployed (put simply, markets and capitalism fail when faced with fully automated systems – but that concepts seems too difficult for many to even consider, let alone accept). So it gets quite complex, quite quickly.

I strongly suspect that there are people alive now who know how to extend life indefinitely, but they do not yet know how to scale that technology in a way that it can be delivered universally. Until they do know how to scale it, then admitting that it can be done at all poses existential level risk to everyone (if the resources required to sustain some now are diverted to extend the lives of others indefinitely – that is not a stable solution – ever!!! Is your life really that much more valuable than mine?)

And I strongly suspect that, if we manage to avoid all the many existential level dangers that are present and coming, then such technology could be universally available by the mid 2030s, if sufficient resources are devoted now to developing it. It is a subject I have been watching reasonably closely for 45 years. And I have been consistent for all of that time in saying that it is a technical possibility, if not yet a technical reality (but I am a bit of a weird geek with a reasonably high IQ who spends much more time reading and thinking than socialising – and has done so for over 50 years).

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 www.tedhowardnz.com/money
This entry was posted in economics, Longevity, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

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