Tag Archives: hplus

Nick Bostrom on TED – Our Biggest Problems: Death, Existential Risks and Limitations of Humans

Philosopher Nick Bostrom, founder of the World Transhumanist Association (Now Humanity+) and current director of Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, presented on humanity’s three biggest problems including death, existential risk and that “life isn’t usually as wonderful as it could be.”

150,000 people die every day. This is a huge number that’s hard to imagine. That’s one of the reasons why people don’t recognize death as a problem, because it’s too big. The other reason is because it’s very familiar. Bostrom gives a beautiful example of comparing people to books. 52 million people died in 2004, which is equal to the loss of 3 Libraries of Congress. This comparison helps to understand the scope of our greatest problem – death. Aging is responsible for a huge portion of human deaths, but unfortunately, there are not enough efforts to cure it.

Existential risk is an important, but neglected problem. The major goal of humanity has to be to survive, but there are very few people who work on evaluating global risks, not to mention prevention of potential catastrophes.

The third problem is basically that humans are limited in so many ways. It would be so great if our life was at its best all the time, but there are quite a lot of obstacles, physical and mental. Nick Bostrom brilliantly explains the idea of transhumanism, which is all about creating and applying technologies that are able to improve ourselves.

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How would you spend 30 million dollars?

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

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H+ Summit in Boston

H+ Summit, H+, hplus, hplussummit, boston, conference, meeting, ray kurzweil, aubrey de grey, david orban, alex lightman, harward university, transhumanism, immortalism, technology development, intelligence

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.

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