Yesterday I visited the facilities of the Russian cryonics company KrioRus, which are located just outside Moscow. That’s the huge dewar flask where the cryopreserved bodies are stored. It’s so big that one needs to climb up a ladder to peek through the steamy nitrogen. And in the picture below Alexei Turchin, a renowned futurologist and expert on global risks, and I are in front of the other dewar flask, now empty and waiting for the new cryo patients. Cryonics is an amazing opportunity to get a chance to find yourself in the future. I believe cryonics is the choice of truly smart people.
Tag Archives: immortalism
The film introduces the ideas of Kurzweil who journeys the world offering his vision of a future in which we will merge with the super-intelligent machines we have created and can live forever…all within the next thirty years!
Kurzweil predicts that with the ever-accelerating rate of technological change, humanity is fast approaching an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly non-biological and trillions of times more powerful than today. This will be the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations. In Kurzweil’s post-biological world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. Human aging and illness will be reversed, world hunger and poverty will be solved, and we will ultimately cure death.
Transcendent man is coming soon to theaters but here is the trailer. This will be a great documentary!
Due to rising interest in artificial intelligence research, I have been pondering this question lately and wanted to share some views on this subject. I think the question is actually rather, what might the human ‘mind’ of the future look like? These questions originated from observations and theoretical findings about science and the ideas from highly specialized fields like: bioengineering, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, computational hardware architecture, visual arts, industrial design, philosophy and psychology.
There’s a good song by Eminem – If I had a million dollars. So, if I had a hypothetical task to give away $30 million to different foundations without having a right to influence the projects, I would distribute them as follows, $3 million for each organization:
1. Nanofactory collaboration, Robert Freitas, Ralph Merkle – developers of molecular nanotechnology and nanomedicine. Robert Freitas is the author of the monography Nanomedicine.
2. Singularity institute, Michael Vassar, Eliezer Yudkowsky – developers and ideologists of the friendly Artificial Intelligence
3. SENS Foundation, Aubrey de Grey – the most active engineering project in life extension, focused on the most promising underfunded areas
4. Cryonics Institute – one of the biggest cryonics firms in the US, they are able to use the additional funding more effectively as compared to Alcor
5. Advanced Neural Biosciences, Aschwin de Wolf – an independent cryonics research center created by ex-researchers from Suspended Animation
6. Brain observatory – brain scanning
7. University Hospital Careggi in Florence, Paolo Macchiarini – growing organs (not an American medical school, because this amount of money won’t make any difference to the leading American centers)
8. Immortality institute – advocating for immortalism, selected experiments
9. IEET – institute of ethics and emerging technologies – promotion of transhumanist ideas
10. Small research grants of $50-300 thousand
Now, if the task is to most effectively invest $30 million dollars, what projects would be chosen? (By effectiveness here I mean increasing the chances of radical life extension)
Well, off the top of my head:
1. The project: “Creation of technologies to grow a human liver” – $7 million. The project itself costs approximately $30-50 million, but $7 million is enough to achieve some significant intermediate results and will definitely attract more funds from potential investors.
2. Break the world record in sustaining viability of a mammalian head separate from the body – $0.7 million
3. Creation of an information system, which characterizes data on changes during aging in humans, integrates biomarkers of aging, and evaluates the role of pharmacological and other interventions in aging processes – $3 million
4. Research in increasing cryoprotectors efficacy – $3 million
5. Creation and realization of a program “Regulation of epigenome” – $5 million
6. Creation, promotion and lobbying of the program on research and fighting aging – $2 million
7. Educational programs in the fields of biogerontology, neuromodelling, regenerative medicine, engineered organs – $1.5 million
8. “Artificial blood” project – $2 million
9. Grants for authors, script writers, and art representatives for creation of pieces promoting transhumanism – $0.5 million
10. SENS Foundation project of removing senescent cells – $2 million
11. Creation of a US-based non-profit, which would protect and lobby the right to live and scientific research in life extension – $2 million
12. Participation of “H+ managers” in conferences, forums and social events – $1 million
13. Advocacy and creating content in social media – $0.3 million
The H+ Summit took place in Boston on June 12-13 at the Harward University Science Center. Here are some photos that I took at the meeting. Above pictured are the organizers David Orban and Alex Lightman introducing Andrea Kuszewski, who worked on enhancing the intelligence of the audience.
Transhumanism is a philosophical movement which implies that the goal of every person is the development of scientific and technological progress dedicated to increasing the viability of a person, radical life extension, and providing unlimited broadening of the individual’s potential.
Transhumanism is a concentrated expression of common sense.
Everyone has got their own values – family, kids, art, love, beauty, freedom, money, traveling, sex, power… But they all make sense only if the person is alive. The basic condition for existence and implementation of all these values is life. The most sensible strategy for every one of us is radical life extension through rational, scientifically provable methods.
Transhumanism is striving towards the ultimate justice and happiness.
There is nothing more unfair than death. Death, senility and disease make a person miserable. The fight against disease and suffering, and for the radical extension of human life, is the fight for justice and happiness for every person.
Transhumanism is a natural expression of the human entity.
The essence of evolution is in development, and a human being represents this at its greatest. It’s in their nature to strive towards broadening their potential, expansion and increasing the scope of their personality.
Transhumanism is an acceleration factor of human evolution.
Life, in the first place, is a form of organization of matter aimed at self-preservation. Life is an anti-entropic process. A person is allotted the ability to self-improve. They can gain new knowledge and skills, and improve them upon using their own body. Human evolution is not only happening in the biological plane, but also in the scientific, technological, and social ones. This refers to the evolution of personality in the first place.
Transhumanism is the resultant vector of progress.
This history of mankind is a history of growing potential and increasing longevity. Everything that makes our lives better, more comfortable, replete and longer is a result of this progress. Still, there are risks and dangers associated with the development of science and technology. They represent the forces of regress and entropy. These phenomena should be considered as the unsolved problems of progress. Transhumanism actualizes the goal of accelerating scientific and technological progress in the interests of every person.
Transhumanism is striving towards the preservation of civilization.
One of the problems facing mankind is global risks, events possibly leading to death of civilization. It is necessary to calculate these risks and withstand the implementation of the negative scenarios. Transhumanism sets the goal of indestructibility of mankind.
Transhumanism is a clear understanding of the unconditional hierarchy of goals.
Given limited financial and intellectual resources, it is essential to distinguish the more important tasks and focus on their implementation. Certainly, the most crucial goal is radical life extension. Flying to Mars, for example, is important for progress, but is less urgent at the moment, because people are dying from senility and diseases.
The fundamental research in the area of life extension should be number 1 on the rating list of the goals of civilization.
Transhumanism is the coordinator of scientific research.
The prospective directions for developing scientific methods and technologies for radical life extension are: regenerative medicine, personalized medicine, preventive medicine, neuroscience and studying the influence of high nervous activity on the processes of aging, neuromodeling, studying the biomarkers of aging, genetic and epigenetic regulation, research into cell differentiation and cellular patterns of aging, cell and hormonal therapy, the Physiome Project, tissue engineering and creation of artificial organs, development of the methods of studying molecular biological processes, development of the methods of cryopreservation of large biological objects, mathematical modeling of aging, creation of artificial intelligence, evolutionary biology of aging, studying the synthetic and fractal theories of aging, and also the theory of consciousness, development of futurology, and studying the Technological Singularityphenomenon. Transhumanism is actively supporting and advocating for the development of these fields.
Transhumanism is an active life position.
Given the limited time frame of a person’s life, it is shortsighted to passively wait for the achievements of progress. It is necessary to do everything possible to extend one’s own life – to use disease prophylaxis methods, lead a healthy lifestyle, increase one’s own scientific competency, actively promote scientific research relevant to the goals of transhumanism, advocate for its ideas, and support cryonics as the means of future recovery of life activities for dead people.
Transhumanism is striving towards broadening the human potential.
The following is vital for a person: enhancement of the intellect, spirit, and will, singleness of purpose, achievement of the freedom of a personality from biological vessels, and an increase in the level of the development of space and energy. The goal of transhumanism is for every person to have these possibilities and to be able to use them to the fullest extent.
Transhumanism is the expression of tolerance.
If someone doesn’t want to live longer, they can refuse to use the achievements of this progress, like the 200,000 Amish (Christian Mennonites), who decided to freeze their technology at the level of the 19th century. Authority in a future society will be necessary only for the purposes of preventing of the global risks and providing to every person the possibility of living for as long as they wish for; the rest of the issues should be regulated at the level of professional communities.
I’d like to tell you about the main problems of scientific immortalism and why the idea is not accepted. But let me start with the definition. Scientific immortalism is a worldview based on the striving to avoid physical death or, at least, to postpone it to the maximum with the help of the achievements of exact, natural, and technical sciences.
So, the main problems are:
1. Negative attitude to the idea of physical immortality in culture
I believe this happened, because in thinking that radical life extension is not possible people assumed it to be unnecessary and harmful. It is much more convenient to think this way: no possibility – no need.
2. Ignoring the idea of the physical immortality of a person in philosophy
Throughout the history of mankind philosophical thought was occupied by justifyng the existence of death. Seeing no real possibility of physical immortality philosophers needed to explain the inevitability of this bloodcurdling unfairness to all people.
3. Awkwardness and uneasiness of people to openly declare and promote immortality ideas
This one’s clear. No one wants to sound crazy. If one speaks about fighting age-related negative changes in a body – that’s taken all right. But this interpretation does not motivate a lot of people. Everybody agrees that it’s a bad thing to be sick, but they are not ready to make some personal effort in order to accelerate scientific progress.
4. Lack of qualitative materials on immortalism. There are no outstanding bestselling books, no great films, no extremely popular websites.
There are a couple of books, of course, but it’s not enough. The idea has to be available to a much larger group of people.
5. Practical absence of philosophical substantiations of immortalism
6. Marginalization of immortalism
It’s no wonder that people with unstable mentality tend to reach to this idea. They create a negative background for it. But the situation has been changing lately, slowly, but changing.
7. Psychological protection against scary thoughts about aging and death
A person doesn’t think about this problem, so it’s like it doesn’t exist. There’s this phychological construct that protects the person from thoughts about death, about their mortality. Otherwise one would develop manias, phobias and suicidal thoughts.
8. Absence of understanding the “psychological keys”
It is now not obvious what arguments can be used in order to persuade people that they have to make a substantial effort to prolong life. It’s hard to prove to them that the expences are nothing compared to this result. If it doesn’t work – well, we’re going to have what we already have.
9. Negative historical experience
People have always been dying. Everyone is used to it.
10. Domination of current problems over the prospective ones
Today’s problems that require immediate actions take up a lot more space in one’s consciousness than some kind of contemplative fight against aging.
11. Absence of scientific outlook, an overall worldview in the majority of people
People quite often have some kind of mess in their heads that consists of sorcery, astrological forecasts, black cats and the migration of souls. Oh, and even more often there’s simply no worldview – just the routine troubles.
12. Ritual character of the realization of authorities’ power. Constant following of stereotypes
Do the authorities really have a goal of making people happy?
13. An uncontemporary position of scientists. Excessive enthusiasm about regalia, ranks, and other attributes
I sometimes have this impression that most researchers do not care about the discoveries, only about the citation idex and budgets.
14. Egoism of the senior generation. Unwillingness to solve a problem with a product that, in their opinion, they cannot take advantage of. Not always, but it happens quite a lot.
15. People do not understand the stage-by-stage approach of problem
solving. The fears of possible risks hinder people to realize their
personal interest in solving scientific problems.
Why do I all the time hear about overpopulation??? Is an imaginary risk a reason to die?
16. Absence of understanding of the unity of personal interests and the
interests of society.
Substantial life extension is a global problem, solving which requires joining the efforts of the majority of people. In this case the maximal personal gain is possible only when one acts on behalf of society, solving the problem both for everybody and for himself or herself.
17. A lot of false information. Swindlers’ activity
Quite many offer the solution, but such a thing doesn’t exist yet.
18. Antagonism against new ideas due to conservative ways of thinking
20. Low awareness in the population of scientific achievements and of immortality ideas
21. Low levels of humanism, philanthrophy in society
People often wish for somebody else’s death.
22. Low level of communication and cooperation between people sharing the ideas of immortalism
23. Absence of an authoritative leader
24. Absence of generalization and analysys of immortality organisations’ activity
25. Negative, consciousness-absorbing influence of commercial and public brands
26. Unimportance of the «meaning of life» question in the minds of people
27. Practical impossibility of public initiatives’ implementation
28. Lack of public, political debates
29. Greed, egoism
30. Alcoholism as refusal of reality, of the necessity of solving essential problems
31. Personal enthusiasm in one concrete area, unwillingness to be engaged
in anything else, as consequence, absence of open-mindedness
32. Mistrust to idea’s supporters, suspicion of ulterior motives
33. Absence of immortalists in the public “elite”
34. Disillusionment with the possibility of changing anything in a great number of the supporters of immortalism ideas
35. Super complexity of the problem
36. Absence of any action strategy or plan