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Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Roehlano Briones

My biggest "objection" to eliminating ageing: childbearing and rearing will become a scarce commodity. This is merely a sentimental complaint and probably won't prevent me from drinking from the fountain of youth, or me encouraging my loved ones to do so. Still, it's a thought.

Edward Hugh

"My biggest "objection" to eliminating ageing: childbearing and rearing will become a scarce commodity"

I think this is more than sentimental, I think increasing life expectancy and declining fertility are somehow connected. No, ageing is not something to fear, we just need to get the institutional arrangements right, and at present we aren't addressing this anything like seriously enough.

In a certain sense it isn't really ageing at all (my latest conclusion) since what it is is a redistribution of the life history/life cycle over a larger age range. The proportion of your life you get to spend as 'old' may remain the same.

Like with flexible working, the complicated part is our adapting tot he reality.

Edward Hugh

The part people don't seem to like is when they hear this:

"Ok, so you're going to get to live 1,200 years, so that means you will retire in 3,150."

Edward Hugh

Also, on the population dynamics, remember we aren't talking about something overnight here, this is a process. In a certain sense we are already curing ageing, that is slowing it down. We have been doing so since the industrial revolution. And as we live longer, less children get born.

I don't know whether people will ever live 1,200 years and above (although I agree with him, I see no reason in principle why not) but we will be centuries getting there (12 of them at least), and meanwhile children will continue to be born.


How about Mr. Microbiologist cures cancer first? Then when he's done with that work on AIDS, when he's done with that, work on fixing nerve damage so there will be no people in wheelchairs, after that how about he cures blindness? After that how about curing deafness?

Curing aging could be a lucrative proposition since the rich want to live forever at any cost.


I believe accidents would limit life expectancy to around 600 years. Still, 600 years and nothing to do, or nothing to do but what you have done for the last 500. Most aren't cut out for it.


We live during an information age. Human capital and knowledge becomes increasingly important (e.g. increasing returns to scale). As people die, latent social wealth is lost. Some knowledge is never written down, some technologies are trade secrets. Even when information is well-known, some people have elaborate skills that take years to master. Prolonging the time people work, everyone will benefit from a sort of compound interest on the aggregate human capital. Imagine having access now to the likes of daVinci, Einstein, Darwin or Columbus. More great teachers and more great co-workers would transform society for the better. We go to museums and study old documents to learn about the past but without aging much of the past would be in the present among us. Even if some great people die through other means, they would live longer on average, pass more knowledge down and discover more inventions, while alive.

Roehlano Briones


Ah but plummeting birth rates will shrink the pool of new talent - possibly greater than Einstein, Shakespeare, or Mozart.


I know that God will not allow those of you or your children to go unpunished that seek to inhibit the cure to aging.


i think if we do figure out how to live forever the first thing we should do is rid the world of economists.
really economists and there ilk should have no so in the future of the world.
if there is a satan he is the one responsible for economists.


I find many benefits to ending aging. we save lives, we reduce emotional and physical suffering, we save alot of money on healthcare... theres so many benefits. alot of people ive debated with are worried about overpopulation, but there are other options then just letting people die off in huge numbers to keep a good population.
the reason why our population is going crazy right now is due to poverty, incase you haven't noticed nations with high levels of poverty generally have very high birth rates and they have to LOWEST life expectancies.
nations such as hong kong and england aswell as much of europe have lowest poverty rates average lifespans ranging from 76-80+ yet the birth rates there are between 1-2.

when radical life extensions come out, the age at which people begin to bare children will be later in life.

Other technical advances will allow us to be able to sustain a larger population when our population continues to grow, such as vertical farms will replace horizontal farming, renewable energy to replace fossil fuels which will run out soon.
the idea that ending aging will cause the population to go off like a ticking time bomb is actrually very unlikely.


There's really absolutely no reason why we shouldn't find a cure to aging and other diseases.
One of the things that aging shares with other causes of death such as malaria and cancer is that It kills people, and causes great emotional suffering to those around and physical suffering to the victem. The only truelly large difference is that aging is responsible for 2/3s of all deaths in the world.

We invest heavily on saving lives, cancer reseach, ending HIV. We invest to save lives and end suffering. I agree that these are very smart investments, but what about aging? the main killer. Why ignore the big elephant in the room?

We have a moral obligation to continue the war against disease. against death. We have to save as many lives as possible.


According to UN estimates, global population is expected to begin to decrease in 2050. In result, we will have far higher percentages of frail elderly people, much higher then today. If aging aka growing old is not tackled, the elderly population will be a heavy burdon on the working class and tax payers.


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