rodeo_flagellum's Shortform

post by rodeo_flagellum · 2021-09-30T22:11:48.664Z · EA · GW · 1 comments

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comment by rodeo_flagellum · 2021-09-30T22:11:48.861Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

As of September 30th, 2021, 80000 Hours lists ageing under Other longtermist issues, which means that, at the moment, it is not one of their Highest priority areas. 

Despite this, I am interested in learning more about research on longevity and ageing. The sequence Gears of Ageing [? · GW], Laura Deming's Longevity FAQ, and the paper Hallmarks of Aging, are all on my reading list. 

Relatedly, my friends have sometimes inquired how long I would like to live, if I could hypothetically live invincibly for however long I wanted, and I have routinely defaulted to the answer: "10,000 years". I have not expended much thought as to why this number comes to mind, but it may have to do with the fact that the first known permanent settlements occurred roughly 10,000 years ago (assuming I recall this accurately), and that I thought it'd be interesting to see where human civilization is in this amount of time (starting from when I was born). 

Several of Aubrey de Grey's talks on Gerontology and ageing have also resonated with me. From Wikipedia:

In 2008 Aubrey de Grey said that in case of suitable funding and involvement of specialists there is a 50% chance, that in 25-30 years humans will have technology saving people from dying of old age, regardless of the age at which they will be at that time.[26] His idea is to repair inside cells and between them all that can be repaired using modern technology, allowing people to live until time when technology progress will allow to cure deeper damage. This concept got the name "longevity escape velocity".

In one TED talk, he made the case that ageing research was highly neglected, but I can't recall just how neglected. Given that I do not want to die, I really would like to see a cultural shift towards prioritizing anti-ageing research. 

There may be a strong negative impact on humanity's long-term and/or short-term potential as a result of extending people's lifespans, but I think that whether the magnitude of positive impact (reduction of existential risk, improvements to collective well-being) of this intervention/technology/research outweighs the negative impact is still highly uncertain in my mind. 

Maybe writing a future-history (a story that traces the societal changes engendered by hypothetical sequences of scientific/cultural advancements) on different scenarios for anti-ageing research breakthroughs and implementations could stir the community into thinking more about its potential (for existential risk increase or reduction, among other things).