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Defeating aging, and the avenues ahead of us: Part 3
Eric Schulke   Feb 5, 2014   Ethical Technology  

There is a nice, succinct “Roadmap to Immortality” (http://mariakonovalenko.files.wordpress.com

/2013/01/roadmap_immortality_eng.pdf
) that is great for visualizing the big picture of the pathways that could take us to indefinite life extension. Teachers like mine have been telling students that there is probably no way forward to defeating aging. I like to think of this roadmap as the totality of the response that rose to meet that challenge.

(Part Two)

(Part One)

SENS is the heavy artillery pushing the front lines, and there is a whole army of positions behind them, on the flanks, doing reconnaissance and so forth, for advocates, activists, students, and researchers to consider.

In brief, they are as follows:

Anti-aging therapies and studying aging – SENS and the seven forms of damage are in this category. Within potential anti-aging paths, the two main ones are damage theory and programmed theory. Within those are various hypotheses and numerous near-hypotheses, many of which have been made sense of through the context of SENS. Endocrine work, immune system research, genetic manipulation, calorie restriction, free radicals, telomeres and more, are interesting potential-filled subjects that may hold answers to aging that are greater than many can yet conceive and that many others already do. They are all worth a look, and any one of them could have key answers hidden within them to be brought out by discerning minds. Most of them, however, at this time, cannot be demonstrated to be as comprehensive or straightforward as strategies focused on damage are.

Cryonics – Cryonics fills the deceased with a human-safe anti-freeze of sorts and turns them into glass by slowly cooling them in liquid nitrogen to super low temperatures. This is done so that they can have the glimmer of a hope that future science may be able to unthaw them and fix the maladies that (nearly) killed them.

Victory over infections – Besides aging, there are a lot of diseases and afflictions that we need to work on as well, and we support most all of this work, present and future.

Brain transplantations – The brain is the most complex component of working to reach indefinite life extension. Work in the field of transplantation can yield critical results.

Social changes – Reform is a big part of this. For example, we need aging reclassified as a disease, we need politicians to take this seriously and put this issue on their platforms, we need the media to pay due attention to this, we need primary and secondary school curriculum to incorporate this, etc.

Cloning – Cloning has opened up options and potentials for increasing pools of stem cells, making copies of patient-specific organs, and much more.

Genome and cell regulation – Because of the field, we can already splice genes, and have had success in beating back some diseases through rearrangement of genes already. New machines have figured out how to read entire genomes more rapidly, and the potentials are vast.

Bioinformatics – Bioinformatics helps us to record and analyze the human genome, work with bio-hacking, and achieve a variety of other things. Programs like Stanford University’s Folding@Home protein-analyzing program help to understand the structures of proteins in fractions of the previously required time, which helps researchers to move much faster.

Digital immortality – There are many that believe we might be able to do things like load our minds, intact, largely or wholly as they are, into digital format. They work on a variety of other promising techniques as well, including advancing toward the Singularity.

​Regeneration and artificial organs – 3D organ printing through places like Organovo are on the rise, with things like functional livers predicted for availability in 2014. Stem-cell therapy for repairing damaged heart tissue recently entered potentially paradigm-shifting clinical trials.

Nanomedicine – Nanomedicine holds all kinds of potentials, for specialized delivery, diagnosis, cheap and new drug creation, and more.

Restoring extinct species – This work can go a long way in seeing about bringing about the option to bring deceased humans back to life, including the cryonically preserved.

Reducing the exogenous causes of death – There will probably always be risk of dying from a car crash, drowning, etc., but we aim to decrease the external world’s ability to kill us, and allow people to choose how much risk they may or may not want to engage in.

Artificial intelligence – Super-smart problem-solving machines can help us solve the riddles of aging, disease, and everything else, a lot faster, and time is of the essence. Nobody wants to be the last to die before these potential cures and therapies for indefinite life extension arrive.

Cyborgization – Instead of cleaning the damage out of our biology or any of the other options, what if we could just, so to speak, “clip” on a new body made of the finest precision technology? The field already shows increasing capacities for controlling bionic limbs through the work of pioneers like Dean Kamen, and the organization and expedition of the whole field is now underway through the work of people like Dmitry Itskov of the 2045 initiative.

The necessity of activism on the issues

Act like you’ve seen the growing graveyards in your area, and face the reality that you, too, will be dead soon if the world, which includes you, doesn’t rise to the challenge and do something about it.

Almost everything you do can and should involve this cause. Going on vacation? Bring some books or literature about this to give away. Socializing? Talk to them about it a bit and hang out with the ones that are amicable to this cause when you can. Going on the Internet? Be sure to share or comment on a related topic or three when you can. Looking for a career to get into or ways to spend your free time? Get involved with this cause. I and the people I know do these things and more.

Pick up the proverbial shovel and help with SENS. Help spread awareness, bring more people into the related conferences, write books, work with the media, talk to politicians, etc. Go into research if you have the aptitude for it. You can pick any lead that you find to be viable. Research existing methods to combat the damage, create your own methods, or do an exhaustive study to try to make the case for forms of damage in addition to the seven generally accepted types. Get in where you fit in.

If you need help with it, then ask in just about any of the communities involved in this. Help us get these mountains moved. Through exhausting more and more avenues and pathways, the picture will continue getting clearer. Answers to achieving negligible senescence and extending our happy, healthy life spans, will materialize. There is no “well, it can’t work”, “they aren’t sure if we should yet”, ”it’s too speculative”, etc. It’s not. We are dying, we have options, we get moving. 

As the movement for indefinite life extension premise states,

“We don’t have to know we can get there to go there, but we do have to go there to get there.” (http://www.longecity.org/forum/blog/15/entry-399-the-mile-premise/)

I work with a variety of aspects of this cause. When it comes to SENS, the first of many research projects that I and a team of us crowdfunded back in 2009, took on the accumulation of lipofuscin, which is one of those SENS seven. We raised and put together over $18,000 to help get that sub-branch of that research underway. I personally contacted hundreds of people for 20 or so hours per week to help make that happen. We've also done things like argue for and vote, sometimes by a narrow margin (demonstrating that every voice counts), to give thousands of dollars to the SENS academic research initiative. I remember that I brought one of those proposals to the table and it passed.

In addition to work through a variety of committees and teams, I’ve done extensive work with help in spreading the word by talking to thousands of other people about SENS and related work. I have given away and distributed dozens of copies of Ending Aging, worked with getting SENS presented at more venues, gotten more people to donate to SENS and complementary projects like the Methuselah Mouse Prize, gotten more activists to consider helping SENS, spread SENS news and articles, helped to combat ignorance wielded against them, met with them and other life-extension advocates for planning and strategy on various related projects, and many other things.

There is no shortage of ways to get involved. There are hosts of us life-extension advocates and activists from various groups, teams, and initiatives pitching in to help move SENS forward right now, and continuing to reach growing, critical numbers of people.

As de Grey reminds us,

“SENS is undoubtedly a highly ambitious approach to combating aging. This might condemn it if aging affected only a small minority of the population; or if other, more straightforward strategies seemed likely to postpone aging similarly well if successfully implemented; or if SENS were shown to be flatly unimplementable without several major breakthroughs in our understanding of aging. Since none of these criteria obtains, however, SENS should be both discussed and pursued without delay.” (http://www2.technologyreview.com/sens/docs/mobbs_rebuttal.pdf)

This is what all those critical-thinking lessons and advancements were for over the years. You live with industry as your butler, technology as your tool box, science as your trail-blazing road layer, and you are immersed in the information gulf stream of nearly ubiquitous reach of all known growing mountains of knowledge.

This is our opportunity, our window in time. We have to drop this hammer now. Victory is not guaranteed; not every generation rises to the challenges of their days. The forward push of Rome died and took a thousand years to wake back up.

The goal of indefinite life extension probably cannot be reached in most of our lifetimes without world awareness. The more everybody collectively can be encouraged to think things through, the better. So think it through for yourself and come on board with helping to make the push to inform the world.

As Aubrey writes, and I concur:

“[...] once your pro-aging trance is no more, you – yes, you – can make a difference to how soon aging is defeated, and the fulfillment you will derive from that effort will far outweigh any comfort you may have found in your previous certainty that aging can never be combated.” (17)

“If you can help to change that – whether by giving money yourself, or by influencing friends, or by writing or broadcasting on the subject – you'll be making as much difference to the speed with which aging is overcome as if you were doing the science yourself.” (14)

If you need a hand in finding fitting ways to consider getting involved, go into one of the groups or pages and raise your hand. Help us make the collective push, putting numbers behind all the people, projects, and organizations working toward this goal. Let us ALL join in on working to help get things done. Many hands make light work. Fight for your freedom of life now, or die a slave to aging. 

The ancient Romans used to award a wooden sword called the Rudis to victorious gladiators whom they would set free. We don’t submit to the system, or work for personal accolades. We are led now by those like Spartacus de Grey. Rudis be damned.

Now that you’ve got the gist of it, dig in and help the world move forward.

For further information, I encourage you to look through the SENS conference material.

IABG10 (2003)

SENS2 (2005)

SENS3 (2007)

SENS4 (2009)

SENS5 (2011)

SENS6 (2013)


Eric Schulke
Eric Schulke is an activist with the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension. He was a Director, Teams Coordinator, and Marketing & Outreach team leader at Longecity – Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans (2009-2012). He attended University of Wisconsin.



COMMENTS

“Restoring extinct species – This work can go a long way in seeing about bringing about the option to bring deceased humans back to life, including the cryonically preserved.”

Species restoration in its latest incantation doesn’t aim to bring back frozen animals but to regrow the from DNA or breed them backward- taking a living species genetically related to the extinct one and pruning your way to the extinct one.

http://longnow.org/revive/

So I am not sure, Eric, how this relates to cryonics and bringing the dead back to life.



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