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Genome Pioneer, X Prize Founder Tackle Aging

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the sell-it-on-a-subscription-plan dept.

Biotech 130

An anonymous reader writes "Hot on the heels of Google's spin-off company Calico, another major contender has emerged in the race to develop technologies for extending healthy human lifespan. Dr Craig Venter, who was first to map the entire human genetic code and the first to engineer a synthetic lifeform, has teamed up with founder of the X-Prize, Dr Peter Diamandis, to create Human Longevity Inc. 'Your age is your No. 1 risk factor for almost every disease,' said Dr. Venter. 'Using the combined power of our core areas of expertise—genomics, informatics, and stem cell therapies, we are tackling one of the greatest medical/scientific and societal challenges — aging and aging related diseases,' said Dr. Venter. 'Between 1910 and 2010 improvements in medicine and sanitation increased the human lifespan by 50 percent from 50 to 75 years.....our goal is to make 100-years-old the new 60,' said Diamandis."

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life in prison (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433781)

Great! Now life sentences for American prisoners can be even longer! If America doesn't punish losers for existing, who will?

Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433785)

Life is long enough as it is. Same shit different day. The sooner it ends the better

Re:Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433799)

Have you considered trying some different shit?

Re: Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433931)

You sound suicidal. Many of us greatly enjoy life and do not want it to be involuntarily taken away from us or those we love.

Re: Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434151)

And you sound like you're in denial. You WILL die. Soon. Relatively speaking. So don't be a coward who's waiting for some scientific breakthrough to "save" them. You can't escape the grave.

Re: Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46434209)

You can't escape the grave.

Tell that to Beatrix Kiddo.

Re: Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (1)

kumanopuusan (698669) | about 7 months ago | (#46435893)

The other day a conspiracy nut tried to tell me that Kill Bill wasn't a documentary and that they filmed the whole thing on a sound stage somewhere in Los Angeles.

Re: Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46435841)

And you sound like you're in denial. You WILL die. Soon. Relatively speaking.

Unless of course, the previous poster doesn't die soon.

So don't be a coward who's waiting for some scientific breakthrough to "save" them. You can't escape the grave.

Plenty of people already have. Sure, they're still dying "soon", but they have a better and longer life for it.

Re: Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (1)

abhisri (960175) | about 7 months ago | (#46435435)

Considering that evolution essentially requires the gene pool to be constantly adapted to ever changing environment and circumstances, you sound even more suicidal on the species level. You will selfishly be hogging the resources, that your newer replacements(children) would need. And replacements there must be, since you yourself may not be best equipped to survive in a warmer planer or a world with more carbon mono-oxide. But there you will be, using artificial methods to hang on. As long as you live, you will be consuming resources, and therefore competing with and risking the survival of the children. That is not to say that your life has no value or that you should kill yourself at the earliest, but once you have raised your kids, once you are past your prime age to be an active contributor in general, it is time to let go. Medicine should be focusing on removing diseases and pain, not curing or postponing natural death. You should be enjoying a healthy life, not necessarily a very long one. If you really do actually love your children and their children that is.

Re: Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (1)

vipw (228) | about 7 months ago | (#46436203)

Three counter points:
1. Human evolution is no longer driven by natural selection.
2. More natural is not the same as better.
3. Even with arbitrarily long human life spans, suicide would be an effective mechanism of death.

Re: Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46435717)

Oh great just what the rest of the world needs greedy fat capitalist religious fanatic merkins that live forever.

Re: Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46437047)

I am.

Some rich man basically just bought my girlfriend, my father lost his job and I'm forced to work 7 days a week to support my family, my grandmother just died, my job sucks, there's rely nothing to live for anymore. Only thing that's keeping me alive is I don't have the time to plan my suicide yet.

Re: Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46437201)

I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope you find some happiness or at least relief. If you haven't already, I suggest you investigate medical help - there are some antidepressant medications available now that might make you feel better.

I would like to give another option/perspective: the longer a person's lifespan, the more time and chances they will have to improve their lot in life. Death, on the ther hand, means the extinction of all possibility. Humanity has continued to make rapid impressive improvements in the standard of living and general development for well over a century now. Antidepressants are one example of that. Given past and current trends the chances of having a healthy and happy existence will only increase the longer a person lives.

Re:Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46435111)

Just kill yourself.

Re: Why the fuck do you want to live forever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46437053)

Would you feel guilty if I did?

Eef (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433787)

This kind of research always sounds great on paper, but i hate to think what sort of either overpopulation problems result if its easily available or what sort of divisive resentment and classism it would spawn if its cost prohibitive.

Room for quadrillions of people in space habitats (3, Informative)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 7 months ago | (#46434001)

And people are dying early now due to the rich-poor divide. So why not fix that now?
http://overpopulationisamyth.c... [overpopula...samyth.com]

Also, such research ignores the low-hanging fruit of better nutrition as I mention here: http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org]

How to get healthier for most people in the Western world: https://www.drfuhrman.com/libr... [drfuhrman.com]
http://www.bluezones.com/ [bluezones.com]
http://www.motherjones.com/env... [motherjones.com]
http://www.grassrootshealth.ne... [grassrootshealth.net]
https://www.lef.org/magazine/m... [lef.org]

But it is hard to make huge profits from suggesting people live well and clean up their environment and thus prevent and cure disease... There are a lot more profits to keeping people on patented drugs by just treating chronic "conditions" or reducing the pains associated with them.

To be clear, I'm not against anti-aging research or genomics. I'm just saying, we as a society and scientific community are often ignoring the obvious well-proven paths to better health and extended life-span and diminished "frail span" for most people.

Of course, genomics also has a dark side -- the potential for customized plagues that may destroy humanity in the next few decades, like I worry about here: http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

So, I'd suggest we build healthier and more secure and equitable communities for everyone right now, before the plague potential of genomics fully emerges, in order to have the community spirit needed to deal with the dark side of such innovation.

Re:Room for quadrillions of people in space habita (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434259)

Also, there really isn't a way to place too much emphasis on the importance of exercise. A friend of mine just turned 70 and when he meets new people they think he's in his early 50's. He's worked construction and general contracting stuff for 40 years and never got too crazy with any substances. Fucker can motor.

Re: Eef (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434373)

Also, try asking an old person what they think about the prospect of having years added to their lives. You'll hear a few that say Great. They'll be the ones lucky enough to be skiing and flirting at 80. And you'll hear a lot that say No Thanks. They'll be the rest. Ie, you and me.

Re:Eef (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 7 months ago | (#46435005)

Drive from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City.

You'll realize the "overpopulation problem" is a fragrant load.

Re:Eef (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 7 months ago | (#46436303)

Carrying capacity of the environment.

Look it up.

Up until you have unlimited energy it's a very real limit to growth (now, where have I heard that phrase before).

Re:Eef (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 7 months ago | (#46436967)

We have unlimited energy. It's the real bright light in the room with the blue ceiling.

The entire population of Earth could live comfortably in Texas. Add Oklahoma and they can all have swimming pools.

Knock it off.

menopause still happens at 50 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433793)

So remember, golddiggers, wait until you're at least 50 years too old to have children. You can never have enough precious, precious money.

Which means (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 7 months ago | (#46433807)

You're getting your pension 40 years later. Enjoy!

Re:Which means (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433815)

What pension? You're still getting fired one month before retirement. But the good news is, your corporate overlords are getting another 40 years of labor out of you.

Re: Which means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433863)

Yeh, quality of life wouldn't improve. Everything would just slew up by 40 years. And pensions? You must be an old fart! No one under 40 has one! And most over 40 won't be reciving theirs. Pensions have be a corporate cash cow since W changed all that, where have you been?

Re:Which means (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433881)

If the motivation required to get funding for this research is that it will allow corporations to keep their employees (read: investment in training, knowledge base, experience and whatever) longer, then I don't fucking care: sign me up for that biological immortality, motherfuckers!

It seems absolutely silly to avoid this area of research.

What the hell is point of medicine if not to extend life, anyway? Clearly it would be more cost effective to do something about that "number one risk factor" for all those expensive chronic / terminal diseases. And who wouldn't want to be healthier and live longer?

Sure you get a lot of loudmouths who speak before they think blurbing about Malthusian crises, ancient Greek mythology (psh...) and religious baloney about "God's plan", but if there were a pill that could guarantee you the ability to live to the age of three hundred, you couldn't manufacture them fast enough.

Re:Which means (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 7 months ago | (#46433979)

What the hell is point of medicine if not to extend life, anyway?

Improving quality of life is more important than length of it. There's little point in extending life into the 100s, if those years are spent being unwell.

And who wouldn't want to be healthier and live longer?

Somewhere between 70 and 80 would do me nicely.

Sure you get a lot of loudmouths who speak before they think blurbing about Malthusian crises

It's a perfectly valid concern. This planet is finite, and the day when there's somewhere that would be pleasant to live that's off this planet seems like it's a very long way away.

Re: Which means (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434105)

Somewhere between 70 and 80 would do me nicely.

Funny how that just happens to be around the average current lifespan at this point in time. I wonder, if you had lived in 1910, would your figure have been only 50 years(the average lifespan at that time)?

Death and the disabilities of aging are so horrible that people attempt to rationalize it away by being "content" with whatever they think they can confidently expect in the way of lifespan. It is "sour grapes" of the highest order. Then, when the possibility of a longer lifespan comes along(thanks to Google or whoever), they find it disrupting and destabilizing to their rationalization, and unfortunately this sometimes lead to just a tighter grasping to the rationalization.

Thanks to science and medicine you may live much longer than 70 to 80 years, I say embrace it.

Re:Which means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434539)

Extending lifespan implies improving quality of life (especially in this context), as loss of quality of life is usually directly tied to approaching death.

They're not talking about coming up with new machines to keep you alive longer once you're bed ridden, they're talking about slowing down aging.

Re:Which means (3, Insightful)

EvolutionInAction (2623513) | about 7 months ago | (#46434697)

Thank you. I'm always confused by the idiots in threads like this that immediately start talking about how horrible it would be, with an extra forty or fifty years of suffering. That's not how it works! You're suffering and miserable at the end of your life because there's a bunch of stuff killing you.

I generally consider Aubrey de Grey a quack, and hate that he's the face of the longevity movement (I suspect it's just the mind-blowing beard). But there is one thing he said that I really like. To paraphrase, if you ask people if they want an extra forty years of life, a lot will say no. If you ask instead if they want to keep the body of a thirty year old until they're eighty, with the consequence that they live an extra forty years, they almost all say yes.

Re:Which means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46435449)

It's not idiots, if you look at the quality of life of the elderly now versus in the past, it's not good. A lot of that expansion in life expectancy came from saving people that wouldn't have been saved previously. A lot of the founding father's of the US lived to a ripe old age even by modern standards. For example, Ben Frankly lived to be 84 and Samuel Adams was 81.

Most of the expansion in life expectancy came from childhood mortality rates. But another significant factor was that we got better at saving people that probably shouldn't have been saved. Keeping people in a diminished capacity that would previously have had to accept their fate and not suffer the indignity of decades of serious disability followed by inevitable death.

Length of life does not imply quality of life, and the way the medical system is run in the US, there's definitely more focus on saving lives that considering the quality of the lives that are being saved.

Re:Which means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46436961)

A "quack" is a doctor of questionable reputation. De Grey is not a doctor.

Re:Which means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46435411)

No, it doesn't. I take it you haven't spent much time around the elderly.

The mind can go many, many years before the body does and the other way around. Unless the two haves degrade at a similar rate you wind up with low quality of life.

Until we figure out how to get people to make the most of the lifespan we have, I see no reason for such an astronomical expansion in life expectancy. Even just things like getting people to put down the porkchops and get an hour or so of moderate exercise a week is more than they can handle.

Re:Which means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433919)

It also means my superannuation also gets 40 more years of growth.

Re:Which means (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46434113)

What's a pension and where do I get one?

Yay! Serious effort to stop aging! (4, Interesting)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 7 months ago | (#46433823)

It's about time. As for all the Death Cultists posting previously about the horrors of remaining alive, bite me.

Re:Yay! Serious effort to stop aging! (4, Interesting)

MindPrison (864299) | about 7 months ago | (#46433833)

^ Someone mod this guy UP!

Telomere breakdown, and cell deterioration is one of our biggest issues - solve that, and we're well on our way to a longer healthier life. A think I've thinking about a lot though, is how our food directly affects our aging. More consumption + burning seem to equal faster living and accelerated aging. The slower the heartbeat, the longer some creatures seem to live.

Re:Yay! Serious effort to stop aging! (2)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 7 months ago | (#46434043)

> Telomere breakdown, and cell deterioration is one of our biggest issues

And if we stopped entropy, cell detioration would not occur. It's about as likely, I'm afraid. Telomeres are a molecular _answer_ to DNA deterioration, preenting the connection of one DNA molecule to another at the end points. And some types of system damage are cumulative, especially since scar tissue accumulates and regrowth of neural tissue has never been mastered.

Re:Yay! Serious effort to stop aging! (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 7 months ago | (#46434087)

And if we stopped entropy, cell detioration would not occur. It's about as likely, I'm afraid. Telomeres are a molecular _answer_ to DNA deterioration, preenting the connection of one DNA molecule to another at the end points. And some types of system damage are cumulative, especially since scar tissue accumulates and regrowth of neural tissue has never been mastered.

"Has never been mastered"? What kind of argument is that?

Telomeres are one answer to DNA deterioration. It's folly to think that there are no others. Evolution is not a system for finding optimal solutions in bounded time. Or are you arguing that we're already optimally designed?

Re:Yay! Serious effort to stop aging! (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 7 months ago | (#46434577)

There was a time when a lot of diseases were thought incurable... and then they became so. Claiming that anything is impossible (which is what you're doing) is a bit foolish, since that puts an upper bound on human ingenuity. You almost invariably get proven wrong.

Re:Yay! Serious effort to stop aging! (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46435767)

And if we stopped entropy, cell detioration would not occur.

The stars will die out long before entropy becomes relevant here. One doesn't need to stop cell deterioration, instead one merely needs to replace cells and such when they do deteriorate.

especially since scar tissue accumulates and regrowth of neural tissue has never been mastered.

Neither which is a permanent problem.

Re: Yay! Serious effort to stop aging! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433991)

For the people who are (supposedly) against extending their lifespans, you can always just not take the treatments. Oh what's that, on your deathbed you changed your mind? WHAT A SURPRISE!

Re: Yay! Serious effort to stop aging! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434391)

Too bad we cant know the (actual) age of everyone contributing to this blather. I think it'd be telling.

Re:Yay! Serious effort to stop aging! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46435551)

Don't forget about the Space Nutters who are all for technology when it comes to things that don't exist (and never will) like a space elevator, but get all upset when you want to extend our lifespan, which has already happened.

They really think we'll "colonize" (more like suicide-ize) the universe (the whole thing!) with a barely-modified ape with a handful of decades of useful lifespan.

Target : 12 billion? (4, Insightful)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 7 months ago | (#46433867)

our goal is to make 100-years-old the new 60,' said Diamandis."

And where are we gonna get the water, gas , food etc for all these 12 Billion people ?
Oh wait .. maybe the longetivity is only for the rich .

Re:Target : 12 billion? (0)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 7 months ago | (#46433941)

And where are we gonna get the water, gas , food etc for all these 12 Billion people ?

That answers itself . . . just make one out of the other . . . Soylent Green.

As to gas, on my last trip to a mall in the US, I was wondering about all that fat that is stored up in people. After all, fat is energy. If we could start harvesting fat from people to create energy, all our energy problems would be solved.

Water? There's plenty in the ocean. Just pump it into the water system without any desalination. If people complain that it tastes salty, just say that it is "Margarita Style".

Re:Target : 12 billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46436849)

As to gas, on my last trip to a mall in the US, I was wondering about all that fat that is stored up in people. After all, fat is energy. If we could start harvesting fat from people to create energy, all our energy problems would be solved.

A gallon of fat weighs about 7 pounds and has about 80% of the energy of a gallon of gasoline. So, if someone is 200 lbs overweight, that's about 23 gallons of gasoline worth. That's less than two tanks worth for a typical passenger vehicle. Maybe 700 miles of travel. Not too shabby, but really nothing compared to the fuel consumption of a typical person.

Re:Target : 12 billion? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433945)

I hope so. The last thing we need is a plague of blood sucking progressives with their hands in our pockets for a century a pop.

Re: Target : 12 billion? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434013)

Humanity has always faced challenges, and there will be many challenges in the future regardless of the development of life extension technologies. One of the most beautiful things about humanity is that we can raise to the challenge; we dream, then develop and then deploy solutions to problems. Aging and death are two of the biggest problems humans face. I say that as the intelligent and resourceful beings that we are, we should not only have a desire to, but in fact a moral obligation to overcome the blind forces of evolution that have dealt humanity the cruelty of aging and death.

Re: Target : 12 billion? (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 7 months ago | (#46434179)

I say that as the intelligent and resourceful beings that we are

I say , excellent sense of humor sire.

Re:Target : 12 billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434327)

Breed less?

Re:Target : 12 billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434557)

The people benefiting from various medical improvements are not the ones overpopulating the planet. Some 98%+ of the population growth is in underdeveloped nations.

Re:Target : 12 billion? (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 7 months ago | (#46435101)

There are plenty of resources on the land of planet Earth to sustainably support 50,000,000,000 (50 Billion) people with ease. Live frugally, not just financially but in the resources you use and you will make room for many more people. We need a lot more people to solve the big problems.

The real issue with living longer is people's unrealistic expectation at at 65 years old all of a sudden they deserve a free ride and can retire. That's the fantasy that is unsustainable.

Re:Target : 12 billion? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 7 months ago | (#46436371)

Why in the hell would you want 50 billion people on the planet? There may be 'room' for them - as in a 2 x 2 x 3 meter box for every human, but not much of a lifestyle for that many parasites. You would turn vasts swaths of the planet into monocultural time bomb and you would have to come up with some really neat ways to power that civilization. You seem to think that somewhere in that sea of flesh would be a couple of people that could think our way out of the giant morass we would have created. Really?

Do you have any grasp of human history?

Try and be just a little more reasonable, shall we?

Re:Target : 12 billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46435613)

"aybe the longetivity is only for the rich ."

It already is. May I suggest then that you immediately give up all the benefits you have right now?

Re:Target : 12 billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46435751)

That's a brilliant idea!

If longevity were only for the rich, then society would gradually move away from being dominated by the political representatives of people who have chaotic lives and a history of making poor choices and being unable to look after themselves, and would instead become more sensitive to the priorities of those who can plan carefully and execute over a period of decades.

Alleviate one issue, cause another (3, Interesting)

geekmux (1040042) | about 7 months ago | (#46433871)

So, what if we were to create a race of human beings that could remain fairly healthy to age 100 (the "new 60").

What then?

We have serious issues globally today with overcrowding in certain areas. Resources will be stripped that much faster from the planet, from food to precious metals. Don't even get me started on unemployment. Not just one family, but multiple families might have be supported by a single income. Taxes would skyrocket 10% or more to try and pay for welfare programs for all those still living that we have no jobs for.

I'm also assuming they will have solved all those "old people" diseases while creating the 120-year old human too. After all, what good is a ton of people unable to work because their body is good, but their mind left them long ago. Alzheimer's is an absolute nightmare to experience and support second-hand, as anyone supporting a loved one can attest. I cannot imagine living it for decades because my body now says I can.

Let me put it this way. The world could not even handle every tobacco smoker quitting tomorrow, and people no longer dying from that particular population-stripping addiction, much less a significant shift with longevity.

Fantastic research, noble cause, but perhaps pointless and likely dangerous until we solve a shitload of other issues, or get the hell off this rock.

Re: Alleviate one issue, cause another (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434055)

It seems ridiculous now, but in earlier times, due to increasing population, people were worried that the streets would be clogged up entirely by horse manure, since all these extra people would need horses to transport them around.

The point is, the future is very hard to predict. But there are two things we know for certain:

1: Aging and death and the suffering that these almost always bring are an absolutely horrible fate that any sane person wants to avoid.

2: Humans are very very good at solving problems and just generally remaking their world.

Just the fact that we may be on the threshold of substantially increasing lifespan shows how good we are at solving problems. Not long ago the possibility of extending lifespan would have been viewed as ridiculous, but now we're seeing billions of dollars invested in it - it is a very serious business.

If a problem as big as death and aging are potentially in our grasp to overcome, why would we not think that we may also be able to deal with any problems that may come along with an extended lifespan?

Me? I'm optimistic. I know that within a few generations we've gone from horses, to cars, to planes, to spacecraft. I know that we've gone from word of mouth, to telegraph, to telephone, to television, to internet.

I don't want to be subject to involuntary death and the diseases of aging. I don't want my loved one's to be subject to involuntary death and diseases of aging. In fact, I don't want any decent human being to be subject to these horrors.

We need to stop defending aging and death. When aging and death were completely beyond possibility of cure it may have served us as a helpful and comforting psychological crutch to try to derive some meaning and benefit from these horrors, but now this psychological crutch could hold us back from developing the necessarily technologies to overcome them.

Step bravely forward. Otherwise, you don't just have something to lose, you have EVERYTHING to lose. There are few unintended problems that come along with extended lifespan that could possibly be worse...

Re:Alleviate one issue, cause another (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434093)

With all due respect, screw you. I'm not interested in solving longevity 300 years from now, I'm interested in solving it 30 years from now when I may still be around to see any benefit out of it.

See also: nirvana fallacy.

Re:Alleviate one issue, cause another (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 7 months ago | (#46436403)

No, I think it's more likely that you will be screwed.

Longevity isn't going to come out with a pill or a single treatment that gives you an additional 10, 20, 30, whatever years. It will be comprised of fits and starts - a treatment that decreases / cures / effectively treats Alzheimer's or diabetes or even some common form of cancer. Another treatment that keeps joints from failing. Another treatment that can regenerate say, your kidneys and then your heart. Implantable this and that to take the place of the original equipment that failed.

There is not going to be a 'magic bullet' that gets you to 100 routinely and in good health. Never works out that way.

So, you're doomed chucko. Just keep those tax checks coming....

Cause is not so clear (2)

sinij (911942) | about 7 months ago | (#46434153)

Following your 'logic', solving "shitload of other issues" would cause shitload of other problems. Your argument for ignorance overlooks all the positives of such discovery and instead presents hypothetical drawbacks in opposition.

Yes, you are correct in pointing out that old age problems like Alzheimers will still remain with us and possibly become leading source of death, so how we die will likely change. Did you make the same argument against research into cardiology when leading source of death was heart attacks?

Let me clarify the strawmen you're attacking. (3, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 7 months ago | (#46434185)

First, you seem to assume that "more people" (ignoring the fact that birth rates are already decreasing) will mean "resources will be stripped that much faster", without creating new jobs or new tax revenue. You also seem to assume that people will reproduce more ("multiple families") as they live longer. That doesn't match what we see happening in the real world today.

Finally, if you "assume they will have solved" age-related diseases, why do you rely on those diseases as your main argument against longevity?

Re:Alleviate one issue, cause another (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434299)

All of these other issues are exactly that: *other* issues. You can't avoid solving one problem because it doesn't solve every problem.

Also: The issue to controlling the population is simple: 2 kids per couple. In fact, population goes down slightly with 2 per couple due to accidental death and some choosing not to have children. Without that policy, in the past few centuries, the earth's population has doubled several times (even without 100 year lifespans).

Re:Alleviate one issue, cause another (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 7 months ago | (#46434683)

Unemployment?

Is there a fixed number of jobs that can exist in the universe?

People who view mass death as an answer for ANY problem absolutely sicken me.

Re:Alleviate one issue, cause another (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46435803)

Fantastic research, noble cause, but perhaps pointless and likely dangerous until we solve a shitload of other issues, or get the hell off this rock.

Well, given that the "shitload" of problems aren't any harder than the original longevity research, what's the cause for concern? Are we going to exceed our allowed quota of problems solved?

Re:Alleviate one issue, cause another (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46436645)

"get the hell off this rock"

Um, what?

Lies, damn lies, and statistics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433875)

Yeah, we've done a lot to deal with infant death over the last century, and we've avoided big wars and epidemics recently too.

But medicine actually hasn't done that much to increase the life expectancy of an adult.

Never attribute to technology that which is adequately explained as salesmanship.

I wish them luck... (4, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 7 months ago | (#46433895)

We're probably all going to die of old age around the same time we would regardless. But this sort of thing might eventually solve the aging problem.

Yes, that might lead to other issues such as over population etc... but its worth it.

Think of what percentage of the population is capable of high levels of education.

Then what percentage of that percentage actually gets it.

Then what percentage of that percentage that does anything useful with the education.

Then what percentage of their lives are left for productive work after they have been educated.

We have men that are useful for maybe 20 years tops after going through about 14 years of education and even during that 20 years there is follow up education to keep them current.

Imagine if they didn't age... if they could be kept productive indefinitely.

Imagine a whole population of polymaths as people learn at their own pace over 100s of years. 20 years as a bar tender. 20 years as a carpenter. 20 years as a fishermen. Life time on life time bleeding into each other.

Its a good thing.

Re:I wish them luck... (2)

geekmux (1040042) | about 7 months ago | (#46433947)

You minimize the overpopulation issue as if it's a purely organic one.

Think of the resources it will take to feed this.

Now think of the greed and corruption that controls that today.

Good vs. Evil? Seriously?

"Ha! Not a chance in hell.", says the ghost that was #Occupy.

They're gonna need more than luck. They're gonna need something to come out above greed. Compassion.

I suppose we'll see where that compassion lies in the price tag, now won't we.

I wonder if extending celebritards lives will be considered a "good thing" when prioritized far above scientists and engineers in society. After all, we know which scenario is likely to happen, especially when they pay to made it into the next reality show.

Re:I wish them luck... (4, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 7 months ago | (#46433987)

The overpopulation issue isn't a certainty. We've already seen massive declines in population growth in the developed world. You can't accurately estimate what our growth rate will be with immortality. It is entirely possible that our population will stabilize with many people infrequently having children.

Remember, there will still be deaths from one thing or another. We will have wars... which will claim thousands at the least and possibly millions on occasion. That is population that will have to be replaced.

Add in car accidents and various medical issues that this won't fix and you'll have a need to replace population.

it will be much lower then what we need today to counter aging. But it will remain significant. So long as our birth rate doesn't much exceed that rate our population will be stable. If it does exceed it then we'll have a major overcrowding issue.

Overcrowding leads to a scarcity of land, increases in prices, and a lower quality of living. In our society that tends to depress the birth rate.

In fact, in the modern world, there is a very keen link between economic prosperity and the birth rate in the middle class. In the very poor there is no such link since they don't actually share the same economy. Their economy is more about welfare stamps and various free housing policies. Its very difficult to quantity their economic prosperity because they don't actually use money per se. Amongst the rich its a non-issue since we can always assume they have enough to justify further breeding.

In any case, with immortality we can assume there are ways to deal with the overcrowding issue. Most of them will self correct.

And you forget the many benefits of immortality such as a highly skilled labor force that is always in prime working age. That means a much much higher level of industrial output and a much higher level of technological and educational sophistication.

With that sort of thing we might just make spreading beyond the planet practical. Far fetched today... but who can say tomorrow.

In any case, I will not retard our technological sophistication simply to satisfy the baseless worries of Luddites.

Re:I wish them luck... (1)

grep -v '.*' * (780312) | about 7 months ago | (#46434045)

In any case, I will not retard our technological sophistication simply to satisfy the baseless worries of Luddites.

Don't worry about it; they'll be more than glad to worry about it for you.

And just guessing here -- if you can appreciably extend life, then you're also putting off "meeting your maker". I could see a fatwa brewing over this, since "if man was meant to live longer God would have done it already."

Or hell, maybe I'm getting too cynical in my old age.

Re:I wish them luck... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 7 months ago | (#46434183)

I've never had a problem with letting morons die for their god.

Re:I wish them luck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434139)

If we gain immortality and still end up going to war with each other, I'd kill myself as I'm obviously surrounded by idiots.

Re:I wish them luck... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 7 months ago | (#46435177)

We're human beings and this is planet earth. Welcome to reality. Of course we're still going to go to war.

Do you know how I know that? Because look around slashdot. Imagine you gave someone in hear power... I mean a lot of power... the power to tell people what to do. And then lets say we do the same thing to another random person on slashdot. Think those two guys are going to remain in peace and harmony forever? Get real.

War happens. Don't seek it but don't shirk from it either. It happens and when it does... win or get used to giving blowjobs for bread.

Re:I wish them luck... (1)

CODiNE (27417) | about 7 months ago | (#46434445)

I don't think people with effectively unending lives would be interested in war. There's too much to lose there. As it stands people say "I'm going to die anyways", or consider their expected lifetime and see it as not much to lose.

In other words if I'm 50 years from inevitable death what's the difference? If I'm 500 years from death whoah I am NOT interested in getting shot at.

And "immortal" means can't die. No humans can ever be immortal.

Re:I wish them luck... (1)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about 7 months ago | (#46434677)

1. I suddenly see an emerging market for elderly war
2. Oh for a mod point

Re:I wish them luck... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 7 months ago | (#46435419)

The politics would change but there will always be war as long as there are people.

Its in our blood.

I am not entirely fatalistic about it. We can resist it and contain it. But we are going to kill each other on occasion.

I suppose the worst thing about immortality is that dictators will get it. And then you'll get someone like Castro that will never die. That is Cuba's only hope here... that the revolutionary generation dies of old age and the following generations are more realistic.

Re:I wish them luck... (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 7 months ago | (#46434101)

Imagine a whole population of polymaths as people learn at their own pace over 100s of years. 20 years as a bar tender. 20 years as a carpenter. 20 years as a fishermen. Life time on life time bleeding into each other.

Its a good thing.

No, no, no! The only way for a species to progress is for its individual members, with all their hard-won experience and wisdom, to each suffer and die after a fairly short lifespan. That's why rabbit culture is so far ahead of our own.

Re: I wish them luck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434117)

Hilarious and brilliant comeback! I'm gonna have to use that myself!

Re: I wish them luck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46437141)

it more than likely is - if Your a rabbit

FUUU Beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433933)

Fuck beta. Fuck it.

How do we kill this thing. This must end.

99% fail rate probably (1)

Circlotron (764156) | about 7 months ago | (#46433967)

Make the magic pill available only to those that switch exclusively to desktop Linux and stay there.

Let us die! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433971)

Isn't it possible to simply accept that we have a limited lifespan and that it is *for the better*? Who is going to be able to afford those "life-extending" treatment apart from dictators, politicians and the super-rich? Do we really want that *those people* last forever? Death is the ultimate justice... When there is nothing else, at least there is hope that time itself may free people of their oppressors.

Hey scientists, how about some ethics every once in a while?

Unnecessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46433997)

Just because I'm old doesn't mean I can't lead a normal -- ow

Just shifting the problem (1, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | about 7 months ago | (#46434005)

This is just shifting the problem.

What we need to cure is: fear of aging.

Re:Just shifting the problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434135)

Hate to break it to you, but dying is objectively bad. There are zero upsides to it that we can prove beyond any doubt, and there are innumerable downsides which I'm sure everyone can easily imagine for themselves. There is nothing wrong with objective fear, it's not a problem to be solved.

Re: Just shifting the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434165)

Objectively bad? How? For who? If it's objectively bad why hasn't any species evolved out of it? You're just a coward. Plain and simple.

Re: Just shifting the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46435283)

For who?

The person dying.

If it's objectively bad why hasn't any species evolved out of it?

For the same reason we haven't evolved out of cancer. Evolution only picks against traits that prevent reproduction, not what's "good" or "bad" for the individual.

You're just a coward.

Ad hominem is not an argument.

Re:Just shifting the problem (2)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 7 months ago | (#46434251)

Fear is not required, just dissatisfaction. I don't get my hair cut because I "fear" having long hair. I don't buy an ergonomic chair because I "fear" lower-back pain, I just prefer not to have it.

You might as well say, the same thing about cancer research, "What we need to cure is: fear of cancer."

Sure, that would also work. But I would prefer to find a cure for cancer instead.

Re:Just shifting the problem (1)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 7 months ago | (#46436955)

All hail the Death Cultist!

Telomeres, baby. (1)

jpellino (202698) | about 7 months ago | (#46434041)

Start there. Go for it.
My training in genetics was late 70s/ early 80s.
Infinitely fascinating, and as with lotsa things in science, it turned out to be the simplified version.
And now the world has expanded once again, telomeres, epigenetics, etc.
A foot and a half away from me is a copy of "The Joy Of Finding Things Out."
Man, this is a blast.

Invest now, this is gonna be huge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434143)

If you thought Microsoft and Apple with the personal computer revolution was huge, wait until this giant takes off. Everyone and their dog is gonna want in on life extension and anti-ageing.

What About GDP? (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 7 months ago | (#46434189)

'Your age is your No. 1 risk factor for almost every disease,' said Dr. Venter.

I'm not sure I believe that. It may be true on an individual level for a person with good health insurance in a first world country, but I bet for most people in the world it is the ability to afford and access the kind of advanced medical care that Dr. Venter will be researching. That observation, of course, leads to things like the quote from the article on Facebook meme evolution [slashdot.org] , "No one should die because they cannot afford health care and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree please post this as your status for the rest of the day." A noble sentiment, to be sure, but is it realistic?

Can we afford to pay for every life extending medical practice for every person? At current prices, I suspect we cannot. Even if we dedicated 100% of GDP to health care, I think we still could not afford every medical treatment that could extend the life of every person on Earth. And that assumes that paying 100% of GDP is sustainable. In practice, of course, doing so would lead to an economic collapse and we would be able to afford even less health care next year, causing more people to die unnecessarily, not fewer.

I suspect that we now have sufficiently advanced medical technology that the most powerful force limiting the ability of medical technology to prevent disease is that the majority of the world populace cannot afford the medical care we have already discovered -- in an absolute "there is not enough GDP, and would be less if we tried" sense.

Aubrey de Grey gives on the hows and whys of overc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46434193)

Aubrey de Grey, a leading figure in life extension, gives a powerful and impressive presentation about the hows and whys of overcoming aging and death:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iYpxRXlboQ

Stay Young (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46435089)

Simple solution, make sure you are born on February 29 (Leap Year)

Re:Stay Young (1)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 7 months ago | (#46436957)

All the aging, only 25% the birthday presents. No thanks.

sssnake oil salesman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46435317)

Don't get your kids vaccinated either or you will make them autistic. Use homeopathic remedies instead.

We already know how to extend the human lifespan. (1)

Jack Zombie (637548) | about 7 months ago | (#46436999)

Good news everyone! It turns out that technologies which extend, augment or otherwise improve human life are already here!

You may have heard of some of them: clean water; urban sanitation; smokeless cooking facilities; free access to healthcare; a guaranteed minimum income; a good, free education. There are more – and you’d be surprised how many of them have been around in one form or another for decades, even centuries! But they’re unevenly distributed at the moment, so the first agenda item for all transhumanists should be looking for ways to get these technologies to everyone on the planet as soon as possible because if they don’t, by their own logic, they are wilfully and consciously permitting millions if not billions of people to suffer totally avoidable misery, poverty, illness and death. Better still, they can start close to home; after all, what better test-case could there be for the even distribution of longevity improvement than the ~17 year lifespan differential between the wealthy and the poor in the United States itself?

Longing for eternal life? (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 7 months ago | (#46437145)

Be sure to long for eternal youth too.
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