From: Marc Geddes (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Dec 08 2004 - 21:00:38 MST
For those people over 40 today it may be best to
pursue stop-gap measures such as anti-aging methods
and cryonics. But for those under 40 (such as
myself), one could argue that Existential threats are
more likely to kill them before aging does. So for
the under 40's at least, donations to FAI research is
probably the more rational option.
My reasoning is this: sometime between 2020-2030, the
nano revolution is going to start hitting, and the
risk from existential threats (Terrorist goo,
Unfriendly A.I) is really going to start becoming
significant. So a definite probability of the
extinction of humanity starts to appear from 2020
onwards, and that probability starts going up from
then on. Without FAI the cumulative probability of
the extinction of humanity may have exceeded 50% by
A person 40 or under today has a greater than 50%
chance of living to 2040 naturally, even assuming no
significant life extension. So you see, the
probability of an under-40 dying from existential
threats assuming no FAI is roughly comparable to the
probability of them dying through natural wear and
tear. The rational option is to prevent death then is
to donate to FAI research, since FAI is the best way
to avert existential threats and it would also be able
to deal with the aging problem.
In fact, I think only FAI will be able to get a real
handle on aging. The human body is an enormously
complex system and the hoped for anti-aging methods so
far have proved to be nothing but hype. In fact most
of the drugs developed by drug companies today
actually have side-effects just as bad as the original
condition they fix. That's the thing with the human
body: a large number of different systems requiring
very precise methods to fix. Lack of precision in
treatments leads to side-effects which shorten life
more than the treatment lengthens life. Then there is
the problem of balances. Altering one part of the
human body system can create an imbalance else where.
In short, aging is one hell of a problem. I wouldn't
put my hopes on cryonics or vitrification either.
FAI's still your best bet for a fix over the longer
Those of you who have been following my posts know, of
course, that I'm not as optimistic about the
time-frame for FAI as Sing Inst enthusiasts. I still
see FAI as being 15-30 years away at the earliest.
Looking at the 30 years or less time frame, then it
might be better to pursue options like cryonics,
bio-medical life extension avenues etc.
The one thing I'm reasonably sure about is this: if
we don't get FAI before 2045 or so, then, to borrow a
phrase from Damian Broderick's 'The Spike': '"We will
all perish most horribly"
"Live Free or Die, Death is not the Worst of Evils."
- Gen. John Stark
"The Universe...or nothing!"
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