Where would I invest $10 Million into life extending technology?
It was a question posed on the imminst.org forums. The options and the (sadly sparse) votes:
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Computers and Robotics
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My responding post:
29-Mar 2008, 05:35 PM
I'd give it to Aubrey and trust he'd spend it better than I could right now. Although an option not on the table which I'd follow first would be to invest it narrowly into me. $10 million is a small sum, so I'd probably just invest it in a diversified way, and wait for tangible life extension products to spend on myself. I'd use that level of wealth to do things like live in a safe place near a good teaching hospital, and have emergency medicine residents live with me for free.
I posted: I understand distrust of large, non-human scale bureacracies, but I don't understand selectively distrusting government bureacracies over corporate bureacracies. Nevertheless, I see some overly binary thinking in this thread. If we're going to maximize our odds of achieving immortality, I think we're going to have to elevate critical (which sometimes means nuanced) thinking over pet ideologies. We should be pragmatists first and foremost in my opinion. Sometimes an individualist or market-based approach may be best for our attempts to be immortal. sometimes a collectivist or non-market based approach may be more effective. I think what rationally should matter more to us should be the results (our immortality) rather than a battle over ideology. In my opinion, we can look at our minds as a medium in which memes are in competition, and the memes are not always beholden to our own interests in personal immortality. I'd like to see us at imminst.org give solid, unflinching primacy to maximizing our immortality odds, regardless of how the empirically best approaches align with our various ideological inclinations and affinities.
Mind wrote: "Good things humans are rational and we have a relatively free market. Malthus did not include human ingenuity in his projections of mass starvation. Neither did Ehrlich. How many of us here think people are going to just keep on using more and more electricity until the world stops going? The blackout of 2003 caused quite a stir and people are working on solutions. They don't just sit by and say "oh well, I guess the world will end now...nothing I can do" When gas prices rise people buy smaller cars and drive less. If the supply of electricity runs short, the price will go up, and people will conserve - or get to work developing new sources of electricity and power. And... the great thing is...the people who develop new sources of electricity will get rich."
I replied: "Humanity apparently faces numerous existential challenges, many of them involve collective action problems. I think it's an open question whether "people" are going to successfully solve every colllection action problem we face. with some, irrationality may triumph. With others, even if we're asymptotically rational our abilities may not meet the demands of the challenge. Alternatively, we might be lucky enough that as a species we can solve all these challenges. I do think you and I are vested in these challenges being solved, Mind. But I'm wary of whether it's a functional opiate to rely passively on "human ingenuity", rationality, or free markets. These sounds like tools to help the two of us (and others persist), not magical suits of invincible armor.
My Post: I like this idea primarily because it can be a way to have economies of scale to make available cutting age life extension technology. I'd like the community to be near a major metropolitan center, such as New York City, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, DC or San Francisco, but far enough away to be unlikely to be directly impacted by a major terrorist attack (particularly with regards to New York, DC, or London). I think the center piece of the community should be: (1) the emergency medicine/cryonics services, (2) the security, gated community-style, and (3) the availability of healthy food, fitness, etc. services.
Posted on: 6-Jul 2007, 04:12 PM
My Post: I think New Haven, Connecticut, near Yale Medical School, could be an excellent location for such a community. We could start it as a doorman apartment building (and offer free or subsidized live in housing to ER residents) and expand to a gated community outside of New Haven, or equidistant between New Haven and Greenwich. That way we'd be only 1 hour from New York City, close to Cambridge, MA (epicenter of life extension technology innovation), and breathing the same air and drinking the same water as the most elite, paranoid people in the world (the residents of Greenwich, CT and their kids at Yale).
My post: The scariest thing in this thread is people excited about the singularity -if it actuallyy happens any time soon, it seems to me that it'll be our #1 existential threat: a rapidly expanding intelligence that will probably see the housing of our subjective consciousness (human brains) as more like silicon sand to be repurposed to more productive ends than as a fellow intelligence to altruistically sustain.
I don't think we have much control over it, but if we're lucky, we'll solve SENS and some other problems well before we create entities smarter than us and that have incentives to expand their computational resources at speeds approaching the speed of light.
As for eugenics/dysgenics -I don't think relatively dumb people are any more of a problem than all the other relatively dumb life on planet earth. In fact, if they are getting less intelligent, then they'll be easier to manage: think of the relative ease in managing a pet hamster as oppposed to a pet monkey.
But, since our best resources at solving difficult problems are still very smart people, and since intelligence seems to have a substantial hereditary component, I'd like to see a more aggressive and rational version of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank reinstated. Specifically, I think we should provide financial incentives (so there's no coercive element) and moral encouragement for the men and women living today who demonstrate the best aptitude at solving the most difficult existential problems humanity faces to donate their sperm and egg, for us to create embryos in vitro with them, for us to recruit surrogate mothers to carry them to term in healthy environments and for us to recruit adopting parents to give them healthy formative environments.
We can then create trusts that will provide the children with positive financial incentives to complete advanced education in fields that will facilitate their ability to solve the existential threats we face.
What I like about this approach is that it's completely legal under current law and it violates no existing social norms about human dignity, life, and autonomy.
My post: Lets say you undergo cryonics when you die. Since your brain is no longer working, the flow of your conciousness ceases to exist. However we assume that when a person is brought back to life they will probably feel as if no time had passed between their death and resurrection. So authenticity of a person may be entirely subjective. With the computer simulations, a person will have different atoms, but that person will still subjectively be the same to us. To the person being resurrected they will also claim to be the same exact person. They will feel like they never died at all. So it's sort of like cryonics where the original living persons conciousness will have ended, however unlike cryonics all of the resurrected persons atoms would be different. But since atoms are interchangeable this is exactly what happens to ourselves over the course of time anyway."
I recommend due care. It may be that cryonics ressurects zombies. It may be that simulations recreate zombies. Our subjective consciousness seems to persist, in punctuated form, in our current wet brains over a normal life arc, as the matter in the brain is continuously replaced. It seems to survive sleep. But there's no garuntee that it can survive cryonic suspension, "uploading", or simulation. There's no need for overconfidence, except to the degree it optimizes performance to maximize our persistence odds.
I like this comment from Wanderer in this thread: "Don't indulge in daydreaming too much about such things, but allow that sliver of a fraction of a chance that all is not lost to give you more hope and more strength to accomplish what needs to be accomplished today."
G Snake: "They may be the same to us, but that's not the goal, if it was the goal, we may as well just create simulations based on our experiences and live within those. The goal should be to bring back the original stream of consciousness."
My response: Well-written, G Snake. I agree that that's what our goal should be. We apparently maintain that stream through our punctuated wakeful consciousness and through sleep interruptions. There's no garuntee it can be maintained beyond that, although I think some efforts should be devoted to that (and even to post-cremation ressurection) just as strategy diversification and hedging. But I'm glad at least some of us can be mature enough to acknowledge that speculations on cryonics and simulations may be nothing more than opiates. Our best bet, in my opinion, still lies in the conservative approaches of folks like Aubrey de Gray. We may have a shot at keeping these current bodies and brains going, with incrementalized repairs that mirror current gradual biological processes and using the same materials. I question the wisdom in trying to go beyond that in a transhumanist way: it could just create capricious zombies that start of as our rulers and end up our replacements. Once we solve biological aging and smartly minimize existential risk we apparently have hundreds of millions of years before we face challenges so significant we may need to substrate jump our subjective consciousnesses.
Hi readers. I'm going to repost some old posts of mine from the Imminst.org forums here. I think my caliber of writing back then on how to maximize my persistence odds was much better than it is currently, although for the best of reasons (I've been much more narrowly focused on health and wealth building, with considerable success). But this should help consildate my thoughts in one place for you, dear readers, to react too. The posts follow above.
I think brain banks serve as a great contrast to cryonics facilities. We currently seem to live in an unfortunate moral dark ages, where we don't have the resources to achieve anything close to an aspirational moral ethics of immortality for everyone, here and now. I understand the desire to retreat to various self-deceptions or to simply ignore these hard apparent realities, but it's not a need I feel personally, and I think there's a significant danger it could reduce our persistence odds to indulge in this type of self-deceptive thinking too much.
The bottom line is I think we have to accept a Donner Party type situation. The Donner Party felt the need to resort to cannibalism to maximize their persistence odds. Similarly, we who wish to maximize our persistence odds need to enable, and probably even encourage people to donate their brains and bodies to medical science. And according to the above linked article, we especially need to encourage people who die with healthy brains to do so.
So, those of us plan to be cryonically preserved and yet encourage others to donate their brains to medical science -one could make a case that we're attempting to exploit, that we're freeriders, that we're angling to maximize our odds of persistence by maximizing the odds of information theoretic death for others. As for me, I'm interested in exploring these ideas more thoroughly. How far can we push conventional moral boundaries to maximize our persistence odds? How transparent can we be in the process (because there's probably lower collaboration costs with increased transparency)?
I'd love to have thousands of clones of myself that could be used for all sorts of medical experimentation, used for various trials testing all sorts of ways to maximize my persistence odds. Various limitations on that reality notwithstanding, I'm not concerned about the prospect of thousands of HA's suffering for the purpose of maximizing this HA's survival odds. But that remains the realm of science fiction -at least for now.
More narrowly, I wonder if we can get the default option for bodies to be that the be donated to medical science and organ donation. I wonder if there are any nations, states, or cities where we could get that done. Then I wonder how high we can raise the barrier costs to excepting out of that default option.
I HA am not an organ donor, but I accept transplant organs should I need them.
I HA will not donate any portion of my body to medical science, but I look forward to profitting from the discoveries off of those who do.
I HA aspire to only give to charity such that it maximizes my personal persistence odds (factoring in how the loss of wealth will adversely harm my personal persistence odds).
One might conclude from this post that I would discourage people from cryonic preservation and encourage them to donate their bodies to medical science and organ transplantation instead. Not so. To improve cryonic technology and increase constituents for rejuvanation, we probably need many more people to be cryonically preserved, just like we need many, many more people to donate their bodies to medical science to improve our health solutions.
That's all I have time to write and think about tonight. Good luck to all of us for tomorrow!
It's in my interest to encourage people to be organ donors, but for me to not sign up to be an organ donor -unless I don't want to maximize my persistence odds. For example, how many people signed up to be cryonically preserved by ALCOR have also done the paperwork to donate their brain to medical science should they die? I bet not many. I like this example because I think it's a clear and stark illustration of an area where one has no choice but to be a free rider to maximize one's persistence odds. Beyond that, I'd like to invest as much of my resources into maximizing my persistence odds as possible (rather than into projects for larger communities divorced from that aim), and I'd like others to also invest as much of their resources into things that will maximize my persistence odds.