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22 January 2013 @ 02:09 am
You Are Going to Die  
You are older at this moment than you’ve ever been before, and it’s the youngest you’re ever going to get.
ex_juan_gan on January 22nd, 2013 07:53 am (UTC)
Omfg. Does it bother you already?
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on January 22nd, 2013 08:55 am (UTC)
"Already"? I've been thinking about it for ~30 years.
When did you start thinking about it?
ex_juan_gan on January 22nd, 2013 04:38 pm (UTC)
I never did; and to me it's totally irrelevant; I rather hold to Tralfamadorean philosophy, as explained in "Slaughterhouse 5".
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on January 22nd, 2013 05:38 pm (UTC)
So you are thinking about it. When did you start thinking about end of life?
ex_juan_gan on January 23rd, 2013 06:04 am (UTC)
Сразу как прекратил пить коньяк по утрам.
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on January 23rd, 2013 06:07 am (UTC)
То есть ты думаешь о жизни вообще, на всём её протяжении, но не о конце жизни?
ex_juan_gan on January 23rd, 2013 07:40 am (UTC)
Да не думаю я о жизни. Я даже такой постановки вопроса не понимаю. Для меня жизнь - это форма существования белковых тел. Я если и думаю, то об апликативных функторах, о тайпклассах, о противоречиях во взглядах людей, которые мне непонятны, о том, куда бы ещё сгонять на велике, а также не пора ли продавать wmt и vz.
someone: pic#86319240esl on January 25th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC)
I'm not. I think it was about 10 years ago when I realized that my death is highly unlikely.

The question that I think about more often is "Am I still going to be me when I enhance my body?"
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on January 25th, 2013 01:55 am (UTC)
Do you still believe that your death is highly unlikely?
Statistically speaking, you are ~93% likely to die (judging by the ratio of people who are alive divided by number of people who ever lived).

So far life enhancing devices are pathetic in comparison with complexity of the human body.
someoneesl on January 25th, 2013 02:41 am (UTC)
The probability of my death is determined by the probabilities of an accident, fatal disease, or a slowdown of scientific progress.
I'm much more optimistic today about it than I was 10 years ago, due to an amazing progress in all relevant branches of science. What people are able to do with cells today is pretty close to magic.

I just need to hang on for another decade or two, which is quite doable, given I'm only 34.
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on January 25th, 2013 04:16 am (UTC)
What kind of biological break-through do you expect in 20 years?
20 years is pretty short amount of time.
For example, early Internet (such as IRC) was already available 20 years ago.
someone: pic#86319240esl on January 25th, 2013 05:31 am (UTC)
In 20 years I expect nothing less than complete control over aging process in a human body. The reasons this didn't happen already are partly due to the lack of social motivation behind the idea of immortality. Majority of people don't want to live long. They want to get old and die. This must be one of the most surprising facts I learned in my entire life.

How can you compare the next 20 years to the last 20 years? Everything accelerates. Better tools, cheaper tools, better access to information (everything is instantly available online), more researchers (due to increasing global population). Amount of knowledge is doubling every few years.

In 2005 building a computer that can beat human players in Jeopardy seemed unrealistic. Yet IBM Watson was built just 5 years later. Its success means more funding, more interest, more applications. I simply can't imagine the capabilities of supercomputers in 20 years.
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on January 25th, 2013 05:47 am (UTC)
Fixing aging has little to do with idea of immortality. Even if aging stops, you still can easily die (e.g. from tragic accident).
Lack of progress with preventing aging has only one solid explanation: it's way too complex to re-program human body.
Yes, technical progress accelerates.
Yes, we are better connected with each other.
Yes, Moore's law is still in effect.
All that helps.
But the goal of understanding and fixing human body is just too distant.

See how life expectancy changed over last 50 years in the US:

The growth is very slow and is linear at best.

The picture looks really grim if you take a look at how life expectancy of 80-years old changed.
It grew less than 5 years in the last 50 years.

That shows that most of the improvement came from preventing small children from dying, not from making older people to live longer.

All these nice things (technical progress, population growth, better connectivity, etc.) were solidly improving in the last 50 years, but did not affect life expectancy that much.
What makes you think that it would suddenly change now?
someone: pic#86319240esl on January 25th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
Your thinking is linear. It's like if in 1930 you looked around at the computing industry, and said: "geez, I don't see a lotta progress happening here in the last 100 years, so not likely to happen much in the next 100".

Yes, not much was done about aging yet, but the curve is about to go up! We've been at the beginning phase, but now we have everything we need to make rapid progress: tools, processing power, and a lot of knowledge (such as decoded genome, stem cells, etc). All we need is to keep pushing. We can now convert any cells to any cells. We can now create synthetic cells from scratch. We can now program cell's genetic code in vivo. We are now starting to grow different types of tissue to repair damage in humans. All that happened just recently - last 10 years. Also, higher education in the field of bioengineering became popular in the last 10 years. As an example, MIT just recently started to offer a bunch of bio-related courses as part of EE/CS curriculum. The bioengineering industry is exploding.

Fixing aging has a lot to do with immortality - accidents account for less than 5% of all deaths. Mostly it's heart failures, cancer, stroke, and infections. But guess what? A 20 year old body is not likely to die from it.
Dennis Gorelik: 2009dennisgorelik on January 25th, 2013 05:50 am (UTC)
By the way, I don't know anyone who want to get old before 100 years old.
I know some old people want to die, but that's because they don't have the choice of being young.
We are discussing the goal of staying young, not preserving us in zomby-shape, right?
someone: pic#86319240esl on January 25th, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
Survey of 30K people by NY Times:

Q: How long do you want to live? Pick number of years: 80; 120, 160, unlimited.

The results: "some 60 percent opted for a life span of 80 years. Another 30 percent chose 120 years, and almost 10 percent chose 150 years. Less than 1 percent embraced the idea that people might avoid death altogether.
Even if I asked them to imagine that a pill had been invented to slow aging down by one-half, allowing a person who is, say, 60 years old to have the body of a 30-year-old, only about 10 percent of audiences switched to favoring a life span of 150 years."

This last paragraph is mind blowing:
80% of people don't want to live past the natural lifespan of 120 even with youth pill.