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david brin

Good contrast.

Look, I like these guys. They are my kind of nuts! But the fFunny thing about these immortalist fellows. Their calculations always seem to portray it happening in time to save them! But in fact, the news from science seems to keep getting worse for them, not better... e.g. in recent insights into the vastly complex inner intracellular computation abilities of human neurons. It is a case where I’ll be pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong. But I feel grownups should focus on the guaranteed right bet... investing in our posterity.

(PS... To see how far back the fantasy goes, read about Gilgamesh and the Chinese First Emperor, who drank mercury in order to live forever... and died in his forties. Or read the creepily familiar reasonings of very similar fanatics in Huxley’s briliant (if slow) AFTER MANY A SUMMER DIES THE SWAN. A book that you find out on the very LAST PAGE was actually a sci fi novel, all along!)

david brin
http://www.davidbrin.com

Christian Nesheim

David: I don't see working on life extension and investing in posterity as mutually exclusive. Aubrey himself says he only thinks there's a 50/50 chance of realizing this dream by 2030-40, which to me implies that he's not betting on it.

Maybe we can manage to reach indefinite life spans in the not-so-distant future, and maybe we can't, but either way we'll have future generations in mind.

And you're right, it always seems the people working on it think it will come about in time to save them. But in a time such as this, when many would argue we are on the doorstep of a technological singularity, is such hope not more plausible than ever, no matter how far fetched?

NGN

Overpopulation is unlikely to be a real concern. Birth rates are declining in every advanced nation. Japan, South Korea, China, Russia, Canada, and virtually all of Europe now have sub-replacement birth rates. The United States and I think Australia are just exactly at replacement. Other nations such as Iran and Mexico have above replacement for now, but they are trending downward.

Additionally, I think many present scientific obstacles could be overcome more quickly if we had more funding and more people working on them.

The biggest obstacle right now is that few outside transhumanist circles know about true anti-aging efforts.

Christian Nesheim

NGN: I agree that overpopulation is a problem that will solve itself because of the ongoing downward trend in birth rates, not only in wealthy countries but across a broad spectrum of countries. In fact I've written about it here:
http://www.ilookforwardto.com/2010/11/why-the-world-will-have-more-uncultivated-land-in-2040.html

As long as we stay at or below replacement levels we should be fine. However, if people stop dying altogether, the replacement level will be zero children per woman, in which case I can see some challenges in terms of staying below that level.

Jeff Sherry

Presently we live in a closed system on Earth. I think it is a waste of time pursuing eternal life for humans, especially when have eco systems on the verge of collapsing.

If transhumanist groups eventually have breakthroughs for anti-aging, who receives the benefits?

Chris Smedley

some thoughts on your position, not in their original order, if only by way of providing yet another viewpoint.
#2/b. Gene therapy offers some hope for doing this in our own bodies, not just in those of progeny.
#3/c There are already teams working on growing replacement organs in vivo (within the body) ;- no need for organ transplants and the ability to replacing organs with fresh tissue may go a long way to addressing the rejuvenation needed. Replacement of the body on a macro in addition to micro level, may provide some benefits in the overall process.
Your point about integrity of the person being dependent ultimately on the brain, is certainly valid, however there is no reason why new neurons could not be grown in a similar fashion to other organs, albeit the transfer of memories and skills is an additional problem to be addressed.
#4/c As you know, more and more the term uploading is being morphed into the idea of exosomatic cognitive technologies; devices that will effectively house parts of who we are without uploading the individual in their entirety, so I would expect that we will see ourselves moving into the technology and out of the body in terms of capabilities and even identity .
#1. The advance of engineering physical forms, either via the use of nanotech, substrate changes, or other technologies to be determined, will require a large increase in the amount of computing power, but fortunately, we are still (and for the foreseeable future) enjoying the exponential growth of computing technology, its integration into organic systems, as well as the globalization of that technology.
Surely within the 20 to 30 year time frame, I am sure that the computing power of the planet, along with its less capable organic components will be enough to provide potential solutions to the mortality problem.
Of more concern to me, is the political, social and ethical retardants that will try to slow down the process of reaching what should be a primary goal of any self-determinant creatures; the involuntary ending of their own existence. In the past, this idea was so much the pipe dream that it was not worthy of consideration.
If we start from a presumption that something is not possible, then surely we will never attain it.
Perhaps this is exactly the time in history, where the intersection of technology and ambition l allow us to do things never before dreamed..and perhaps it’s time to end mortality as a moral gift to humanity.
Championing death serves no one.
Let’s stop asking if, and move onto how we will do it.

Singularity Utopia

I think we will be able to extend our lives to 500 years by 2035. Indefinite lifespans will possible by year 2045.

Already in year 2010 a patient has had an operation using her own stem cells to regrow then transplant her windpipe: "Doctors regenerated tissue from the patients’ nose and bone marrow stem cells to create windpipes in the laboratory which were biologically identical to the patients’ original organs." http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1299877/British-cancer-girl-saved-windpipe-stem-cells.html

Vision has also been restored, via stem cells, for people suffering chemical burns to their eyes: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7852745/Stem-cell-breakthrough-for-blind-patients-after-treatment-restores-vision.html

Here is a more recent trial regarding stem cells curing blindness: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1331903/On-trial-stem-cells-cure-blindness-Injections-end-problem-young-elderly.html

Here is a trial regarding stem cells being used on a stoke victim: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1329899/Stem-cells-injected-stroke-victims-brain-world-procedure.html

ALL THE ABOVE REPORTS ARE FROM THE YEAR 2010.

Over the next 10 years these breakthrough treatments will increase dramatically, and in the year 2020 the pace of acceleration will *really* quicken! I think it will be possible to extend life to 200 years in the year 2025.

I think both Aubrey and David are conservative in their expectations. Furthermost I don't think my forecasts are over-optimistic.

Expect utopia. Eternal life in 2045.

The power of your expectations is crucial:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-fulfilling_prophecy

http://singularity-2045.org/utopia.html

Mark Plus

@ Singularity Utopia:

"I think we will be able to extend our lives to 500 years by 2035."

That would come as welcome news to someone currently 475 years old who doesn't want to die.

DavidBrin1

I appreciate the enthusiasm of those urging me to BELIEVE(!) that tech-delivered eternal life is just around the bend. Indeed, I am told that BELIEVING(!) is essential to get there and that NOT believing might prevent it from happening.

"The power of your expectations is crucial: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-fulfilling_prophecy " I get the same pitch from SETI zealots, who proclaim that detection of advanced alien civilizations will result in scientific leaps that may solve all our problems.

Now bear in mind that I am a scientist and sci fi author and I have explored concepts of both future and alien with far more eagerness and relentlessness that any hundred other you will ever meet. I want us funding ten times as much scientific research as now. I support SETI and have served on some of the commissions, and my name is on the first contact rolladexes. I know all the singularity guys and have listened to them for hours.

So why do I -- and Vernor Vinge, the coiner of the term "tech singularity" react with sighs and eye-rolls to all this fervent "hossanah" shouting over salvation from above or an imminent Day of Transcendence, when Death shalt be no more and ye true believers will all be rewarded...

...because we've heard it all before. The terminology may be different, but the PSYCHOLOGY is still the same. It's not just the substitution of anecdotes for actual capabilities. (Lots of stem cell papers, but not one regrown nervous system, yet.) Nor the coincidence that Salvation Day always calculates out to be just in time for YOU!

None of that offends me. Heckfire, I hope you guys turn out to be right. It it might happen. I think simplistic notions are stymied by recent results showing how vastly complicated the internal processes of a neuron are -- that the intracellular automata interactions and computations going on in there are FAR more complex than just unrolling an charting the incredibly simple and easy human genome...

...but sure. Let's all hope. But no, I'll tell you what bugs me.

It's the psychology. The incredibly self-centered, solipsistic, self-serving, "I-am Soooooo-darned-important!" narcissism of the fantasy is what bugs me. The hand-rubbing, chortling I-am-So-gonna-live-forever! zealotry that seems never to entail ANY of the virtues that we've long associated with adulthood.

Dig it, find me the extropian who understands how we stand on the shoulders of every generation of parents who tried to raise better kids than themselves, or who ever speaks about the beauty of that chain of pay-forward generosity, the most tragic-poetic tale ever told. ALL I hear is paeans to how grand it will be to receive the end result. Never anything about the OBLIGATION that falls upon us, from that great chain.

I see the quest for individual immortality as kinda cool, tempting... and fundamentally irrelevant to the Great Project that I have inherited -- that WE have inherited. To build and improve the Enlightenment Civilization of Ben Franklin and the others. To ensure we never slump back into darkness. To build something like Star Trek that deserves to move outward. To make kids who are better than us...

...so much better that THEY will have ideas about what's wise and good and proper, wisdom that's far beyond ours. (BTW, this is happening.) Building that posterity is a far greater challenge, yet one our ancestors were up to. It is a project that is far more noble, precedented and plausible than some grand leap to transcendent immortal suppersmart godhood. It is the project that should have YOUR loyalty.

Yeesh... women know all this, almost instinctively. No wonder there are so few women extropians.

Women are too busy for that stuff. They got stuff to do.

Moisterchef

Immortality as a concept is great but immortality for whom? Will it be available for everyone? Millionaires obviously would find immortality great, as would those who are genuinely interested in the world but what about the poor, the starving and those in massive debt? Would the permanent extension of a life spent in poverty be a blessing or a curse? And would denying these (numerically far superior) people immortality be any less morally fraught? Also what effect would a generation of methuselahs have on the economy? Would these people ever want to retire? What happens when they do? Given the current behavior of retirees what would happen to the cash flow of a country with a significant proportion of people with extremely extended lifespans? And if retirement is out of the question what about people who genuinely dislike their jobs? Length of time doing any one thing would become irrelevant and proportion of time much more important. Proportionally, the job would be most of the person's life. Is this viable?

And perhaps the most important issue I can think of is to do with identity. Identity in first world countries is tied strongly to various social groups that have strong boundaries with respect to age. What happens when the individual outlives the social groups and connections that constitute their identity?

Brittanygardner

Our children... we must seek to empower THEM and give them the world.
Far, we have come from those before us. What is so great of this generation that it is deserving of immortality?
how silly and childish it is to ignore the magnificence of what is in progress and think that somehow we are the "End All"
We are not.

Our children, and grandchildren, are the gods of our dreams, that is our grand responsibility, the mind-blowing reality, that as far as we felt we could take the planet from the hands of our forefathers, how far our children can and will go beyond our juvenile fantasies.
Our intelligent parents would know that our bandwidth was so much greater than theirs. They would treat us with trust, empowerment, and respect, while offering us their advantages of knowledge, wisdom, and capacity to love and support.
All the love we can offer our children, all the respect, support, reverence, and guidance, can only be borne out of realization that greater things are possible to them. Greater things that we have no possibility, no CHANCE of achieving. This knowingness fills me with peace, wonder, and excitement for the future generation, and it implores that I do my absolute best for I am in SERVICE of greatness.

All that is possible, will be achieved through them. Have the vision and foresight to see that the real empowerment is possible only through the next generation, and we need to get it right. Our education system is in shambles, our children are excluded from society in all ways, we keep them in classrooms away from the world, we insult their questions with responses like 'because I said so' or 'that's just the way it is', letting them be entertained by media and movies while we exclude them from anything of importance.
It's abhorrent that we think we are somehow capable or worthy of being super beings when we can't even recognize the value of our own children. The magnificent creations already in our midst.

I do not care that I will not live forever. Humanity is far greater than that.

Brittanygardner

Most pressing, crucial issue is educating our children. How are we doing it? Answer: criminally wrong.

Until we understand how to empower them, we will continue to fumble in the dark in all areas. Children deserve the best foundation, and empowerment, that we can give them.
We are so far from that now.

There is much work to be done, and much learning to be had on this topic...

Mark Plus

I could see David Brin as a decision maker regarding those miners in Chile, complaining about their expensive and unreasonable demands for rescue:

'It's the psychology. The incredibly self-centered, solipsistic, self-serving, "I-am Soooooo-darned-important!" narcissism of the fantasy is what bugs me. The hand-rubbing, chortling I-am-So-gonna-live-forever! zealotry that seems never to entail ANY of the virtues that we've long associated with adulthood.'

Singularity Utopia

David, you say you react with "sighs and eye-rolls" to my positive utopian outlook. Maybe this is your problem, you have become cynical. Yes, previously there have been many incorrect proclamations of utopia just around the corner. In the 6...0s people proclaimed we would all be flying around on jetpacks etc by now. This is a bit like the boy who cried wolf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_Who_Cried_Wolf

Now that utopia IS possible, people such as yourself who've heard it all before (false cries of wolf) are now too cynical to listen. Previous false proclamations created your cynicism. Your cynicism is a damaging trait now that utopia is possible. Your cynicism is harmful.

Let's consider psychology. David you mention psychology. You describe the pro-utopia outlook in the following terms: solipsistic, self-serving, "I-am Soooooo-darned-important!" narcissism. This view of yours reveals an interesting antagonism, anger perhaps, regarding hope and survival. You critique of pro-immortality (utopia) continues by berating the supposed "hand-rubbing" practiced by people who have a "I-am-So-gonna-live-forever" mentality.

David, there are many aspects in your psychological assessment demanding a reply. Firstly I want to address the issue of self-importance. Is it wrong to have a high opinion of yourself? Having an extremely low opinion of your "importance" often is associated with mental health problems, poor mental health. When people feel they are worthless, unimportant trash, they are inclined to be despondent and lacking in motivation, they lack self respect. So perhaps if more people thought they were VERY important, "Soooooo-darned-important" as you amusingly put it, then perhaps the world would be a better place? When I mention self-importance I am not referring to pretentiousness, I am referring to logical and justifiable beliefs of a person (humans) being important; it is about the importance of life, I think people are VERY important and naturally I am biased towards myself but this is not mindless selfishness, which leads in the the next point I want make.

David your psychological assessment touches upon survival: living forever. The desire to survive is an ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL evolutionary trait. Evolution is all about survival. What makes humans such a superior species is our ability to survive. Luck has played some part in our survival ability, but our defiant animal will to live is a vital factor. This desire to survive has created medicine and has led to massive breeding because humans generally want to live, ardently, passionately, with utter determination. This is not mere "hand-rubbing, chortling I-am-So-gonna-live-forever!" This is a human appreciation of consciousness, self awareness, it is an appreciation of life. If people want to die because they think they are unimportant then that is because they are evolutionary failures. The self importance I refer to shouldn't be confused with mindless selfishness. An intelligent being will naturally want to protect itself but via intelligence a strong appreciation of interconnectedness also exists: ecological harmony.

I think you are wrong to compare "SETI zealots" with utopian-Singulararians. You are wrong because there is no evidence of high-tech or even low-tech aliens, whereas the evidence of high-technology is already around us, furthermore by plotting the progression of science and technology 20 or 30 years into the future it is easy to see how utopia is entirely possible.

You mention the "vastly complicated the internal processes of a neuron", but come on David, at one point in history brain surgery was vastly complicated well beyond the powers of culture at the time of Henry The 8th http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_the_8th The question is this: Now that we have reached a certain level of competence regarding our understanding of the human organism, how quickly we will progress? Complexity of systems is ultimately no obstacle. I feel our rate of progress is accelerating, and the evidence seems to corroborate the acceleration, therefore complexity issues regarding neurons will be solved within 35 years, but if some aspects of human complexity elude us in the short term, I continue to maintain medicine and tech will nevertheless allow for RADICAL life extension and utopia within 35 years.

Regarding your "tent show revival" aspersion, I find it funny how people want to link hope regarding technology to hope in God. David you talk about the coincidence regarding how utopia arrives just about in time for me, or you; but that is ALL it is; it is merely a coincidence. COINCIDENCES DO HAPPEN, get over it. Let's assume that utopia can arise and that at some point in the future it will arise. Now let's assume utopia is almost upon us; is it valid to criticize the imminent arrival of utopia because it fits in with the belief system of a person expecting utopia? Imagine in the year 2005 you were waiting for stem cell therapy to cure your blindness and you said to people: "It looks like stem cells will cure my blindness within 15 years." Would it be fair criticism to say such an optimistic view (regarding a stem cell cure for blindness) is suspiciously coincidental even if the evidence points to an actual cure? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1331903/On-trial-stem-cells-cure-blindness-Injections-end-problem-young-elderly.html

I assure you if I was born 200 years ago I would not believe in any form of technological-utopia. I'm a rational and logical person. It is via my logic and rationality that I believe utopia and eternal life are possible. This is NOT some pathetic death-aversion, escapist fantasy, or God-delusion, or tent-show revival. Please!

I assure you I am aware of the history of civilization: culture, past generations, and I'm aware of possible future generations. "Enlightenment of Civilization" is an indomitably crucial component, of ineffable significance, regarding my motivations. A "grand leap to transcendent immortal suppersmart godhood" is a vital aspect of civilization becoming ENLIGHTENED (truly educated) because it will ensure civilization never descends into darkness. This is not "transcendentalist crap", it is education on super-steroids (hyper-supreme EDUCATION of a moral an intellectual type). It is not merely one mother (or father) educating her few offspring, it is education given to millions or billions of minds in cyberspace. It is intelligence exploding.

It is all about breaking the vicious cycle of idiocy, cynicism, negativity, and self-defeating ideology.

It is about educating people regarding how they have the power to change the world, civilization, reality, their minds.

Our thoughts and views have an impact upon the collective consciousness of the human race. The question is this: what pebbles will you throw into the pool of this cyberspace? Will you create positive ripples? Whatever way you choose to act I assure you utopia will be created because I am VERY important, more powerful than you can possible imagine, and I will manifest my importance in an extremely powerful way. This is not a petty ego battle, I am merely aware that I am alive, exceedingly AWARE. I am aware of Self-Fulfilling prophecy. Hopefully my self-confidence will rub off on you and others but whatever happens I assure you utopia is coming by 2045 at the latest.

The age of blind-sycophantic-thralldom will end. Everyone will unleash their power, even if they are not authors or scientists.

Singularity Utopia

David, you say you react with "sighs and eye-rolls" to my positive utopian outlook. Maybe this is your problem, you have become cynical. Yes, previously there have been many incorrect proclamations of utopia just around the corner. In the 60s people proclaimed we would all be flying around on jetpacks etc by now. This is a bit like the boy who cried wolf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_Who_Cried_Wolf

Now that utopia IS possible, people such as yourself who've heard it all before (false cries of wolf) are now too cynical to listen. Previous false proclamations created your cynicism. Your cynicism is a damaging trait now that utopia is possible. Your cynicism is harmful.

Let's consider psychology. David you mention psychology. You describe the pro-utopia outlook in the following terms: solipsistic, self-serving, "I-am Soooooo-darned-important!" narcissism. This view of yours reveals an interesting antagonism, anger perhaps, regarding hope and survival. Your critique of pro-immortality (utopia) continues by berating the supposed "hand-rubbing" practiced by people who have a "I-am-So-gonna-live-forever" mentality.

David, there are many aspects in your psychological assessment demanding a reply. Firstly I want to address the issue of self-importance. Is it wrong to have a high opinion of yourself? Having an extremely low opinion of your "importance" often is associated with mental health problems, poor mental health. When people feel they are worthless, unimportant trash, they are inclined to be despondent and lacking in motivation, they lack self respect. So perhaps if more people thought they were VERY important, "Soooooo-darned-important" as you amusingly put it, then perhaps the world would be a better place? When I mention self-importance I am not referring to pretentiousness, I am referring to logical and justifiable beliefs of a person (humans) being important; it is about the importance of life, I think people are VERY important and naturally I am biased towards myself but this is not mindless selfishness, which leads in the the next point I want make.

David your psychological assessment touches upon survival: living forever. The desire to survive is an ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL evolutionary trait. Evolution is all about survival. What makes humans such a superior species is our ability to survive. Luck has played some part in our survival ability, but our defiant animal will to live is a vital factor. This desire to survive has created medicine and has led to massive breeding because humans generally want to live, ardently, passionately, with utter determination. This is not mere "hand-rubbing, chortling I-am-So-gonna-live-forever!" This is a human appreciation of consciousness, self awareness, it is an appreciation of life. If people want to die because they think they are unimportant then that is because they are evolutionary failures. The self importance I refer to shouldn't be confused with mindless selfishness. An intelligent being will naturally want to protect itself but via intelligence a strong appreciation of interconnectedness also exists: ecological harmony.

I think you are wrong to compare "SETI zealots" with utopian-Singulararians. You are wrong because there is no evidence of high-tech or even low-tech aliens, whereas the evidence of high-technology is already around us, furthermore by plotting the progression of science and technology 20 or 30 years into the future it is easy to see how utopia is entirely possible.

You mention the "vastly complicated the internal processes of a neuron", but come on David, at one point in history brain surgery was vastly complicated well beyond the powers of culture at the time of Henry The 8th http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_the_8th The question is this: Now that we have reached a certain level of competence regarding our understanding of the human organism, how quickly we will progress? Complexity of systems is ultimately no obstacle. I feel our rate of progress is accelerating, and the evidence seems to corroborate the acceleration, therefore complexity issues regarding neurons will be solved within 35 years, but if some aspects of human complexity elude us in the short term, I continue to maintain medicine and tech will nevertheless allow for RADICAL life extension and utopia within 35 years.

Regarding your "tent show revival" aspersion, I find it funny how people want to link hope regarding technology to hope in God. David you talk about the coincidence regarding how utopia arrives just about in time for me, or you; but that is ALL it is; it is merely a coincidence. COINCIDENCES DO HAPPEN, get over it. Let's assume that utopia can arise and that at some point in the future it will arise. Now let's assume utopia is almost upon us; is it valid to criticize the imminent arrival of utopia because it fits in with the belief system of a person expecting utopia? Imagine in the year 2005 you were waiting for stem cell therapy to cure your blindness and you said to people: "It looks like stem cells will cure my blindness within 15 years." Would it be fair criticism to say such an optimistic view (regarding a stem cell cure for blindness) is suspiciously coincidental even if the evidence points to an actual cure? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1331903/On-trial-stem-cells-cure-blindness-Injections-end-problem-young-elderly.html

I assure you if I was born 200 years ago I would not believe in any form of technological-utopia. I'm a rational and logical person. It is via my logic and rationality that I believe utopia and eternal life are possible. This is NOT some pathetic death-aversion, escapist fantasy, or God-delusion, or tent-show revival. Please!

I assure you I am aware of the history of civilization: culture, past generations, and I'm aware of possible future generations. "Enlightenment of Civilization" is an indomitably crucial component, of ineffable significance, regarding my motivations. A "grand leap to transcendent immortal suppersmart godhood" is a vital aspect of civilization becoming ENLIGHTENED (truly educated) because it will ensure civilization never descends into darkness. This is not "transcendentalist crap", it is education on super-steroids (hyper-supreme EDUCATION of a moral an intellectual type). It is not merely one mother (or father) educating her few offspring, it is education given to millions or billions of minds in cyberspace. It is intelligence exploding.

It is all about breaking the vicious cycle of idiocy, cynicism, negativity, and self-defeating ideology.

It is about educating people regarding how they have the power to change the world, civilization, reality, their minds.

Our thoughts and views have an impact upon the collective consciousness of the human race. The question is this: what pebbles will you throw into the pool of this cyberspace? Will you create positive ripples? Whatever way you choose to act I assure you utopia will be created because I am VERY important, more powerful than you can possible imagine, and I will manifest my importance in an extremely powerful way. This is not a petty ego battle, I am merely aware that I am alive, exceedingly AWARE. I am aware of Self-Fulfilling prophecy. Hopefully my self-confidence will rub off on you and others but whatever happens I assure you utopia is coming by 2045 at the latest.

The age of blind-sycophantic-thralldom will end. Everyone will unleash their power, even if they are not authors or scientists.

Singularity Utopia

I think I need a proof-reader for my comments, or maybe I should curtail my frustration and post responses at a more leisurely pace.

Anyway, I wanted to add this final comment. If David Brin is a "consultant to NASA" (I find this hard to believe and I hope they don't pay him too much for his advice) then he should try and take on-board the sentiments of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden who said in April 2010:

"We're going to turn science fiction into science fact."

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=12783063

Brin is sadly lacking Vision, perhaps he should try reading H G Wells: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Country_of_the_Blind

Singularity Utopia

I seemed to have provoked quite a response from David and others. There has been a severe argument in comments ongoing on David's Facebook page. Inevitably in the chaos of battle things became quite confusing with comments posted here and duplicated on Facebook and vice-versa.

I have just noticed one part of David's above comment is incomplete compared to the comment he made on Facebook. The comment I refer to is the one critical of my Self-Fulfilling Prophecy utopian stance, so here is an excerpt from Facebook which David wrote on Facebook and it gives a fuller picture. Phew!

"...because we've heard it all before. The terminology may be different, but the PSYCHOLOGY is still the same as in every tent show revival meeting across 6,000 years. It's not just the substitution of anecdotes for actual capabilities. (Lots of stem cell papers, but not one regrown nervous system, yet.) Nor the coincidence that Salvation Day always calculates out to be just in time for YOU!"

You can read, on my blog, some of my other comments to David Brin and other people, which I posted on Facebook, prompted by this article:

http://singularity-utopia.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-response-to-david-brin-critcism.html

This link should hopefully take you to all the Facebook comments but I am unsure how permanent or reliable this link is: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=173652842662224&id=3501412&notif_t=share_reply

Mr.Pink

"Yeesh... women know all this, almost instinctively. No wonder there are so few women extropians.

Women are too busy for that stuff. They got stuff to do."

Ok, that ruined it for me. Of course women are spiritually more developed and not narcisstic at all. Are you kidding me? This is old feminist thinking and just shows how limited your view is.

Nikolai Torp Dragnes

David, I think you are being overly pesemistic about what stemcells may do in the future. Considering that stemcells division may be possible to make into the many different types of body cells and something so simple as injecting and killing off age damaged DNA cells, it holds promises for rejuvination therapy for the whole body. Since stemcells are the orgin of the body it is not unlikely at all that discoveries of how stemcells can be made into cell cultures of the different body cells will be made, in fact it must only be a matter of time. Granted that current genetic energineering is about as crude as the stone age tools, stemcells therapy need not be so complex. There may not be a need for laborotory growing organs, sceletons and tissue and replacing them, if stemcells can be made into any type of body cells and cultured and then "injected" (the word of injected is just use because I know of no technology on this yet).

Nikolai Torp Dragnes

Even when cell replacement technology by

a) organ replacement from laboratory grown organs (which already is quite advanced)
b) stemcells made into different bodycells cultures cell replacement therapy

There will still not be longivety for a the majority as 2/3 get cancer at current life, while other life style diseases are rampant, and e.g. alzheimers and dementia affect a lot of eldery people. It will infact only be the ones living very healthy that will benefit from longevity and definitly not "just the richest."

Nikolai Torp Dragnes

On DNA injection/replacement through viruses there is much less hope for discoveries, this I base on the fact that a radically different aproach that only has slight simulaties with virusproteins need to be atomically engineered and be possible to mass produce, as no viruses are able to carry a whole genome (they are way to small) and all viruses damage the cells they inject theu RNA or DNA into. So even gene therapy is unrealistic to consider as a possibility with current knowledge, as there is no hypothetical delivery method of a gene into a human cell withour damaging and destroying the cell. Viruses are interesting because they are the only known items that can inject genes, but they are quite uninteresting also because if there was possible to create a virus that could inject itself into a body cell's core DNA without eventually always destroying the cell then I am quite sure evolution would have made such viruses billions of years ago. So expecting gene therapy involving the injection of genes into body cells is still science fiction as much as complex self replicating nanomachinery, and probably even less likely. Again because it would involve atomically engineering a revolutionary new delivery that could travel the blood and how even such a thing would look theoretically is totally blank and is likely to stay that way for a long time, even with large supercomputers crunching proteinstructure and cell structure data.

JD

Length would be fun, but I'm more concerned about the quality of life. Yes, a brain will crumble at 100+ and there's probably not much we can do about it in near future without messing too much with who we are. But the rest of the body should be easier to repair, by cyborgisation, grown replacement organs or some genetic rejuvenation therapies. Being physically healthy and fully active at 100 is a life extension in itself - compared to life that needs to slow down starting at 40+, it feels almost like living twice as long indeed. And that seems to be achievable for our generation.

John Ordover

We are designed by evolution to wear out about the time our grandchildren are growing up. It's possible that we'll one day be able to counter each orgam problem as it develops, but in the end when the body loses the ability to maintain homeostasis on its own we're pretty much done for. It is doubtful that technology will be able to create simple cure - more like more and more external support will be required until the "fires" start up too quickly to put out.

lsp

David, the passive psychology of accepting death from aging as normal sounds like a very good example of an attitude we don't want to pass on to the next generation. Especially if they have a hope of defeating it and we don't.

Theo Richel

I like to compare the aging problem with the climate problem, I do not have exact figures but it appears to me that aging research gets more than 10 times less money as climate research and I'd rather see the opposite. You may take global warming serious, but aging is a lot more serious. The number of people that can be saved this way is much much larger.

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