Extremely large payoff from life extension
We live in special period of time when radical life extension is not far. We just need to survive until the moment when all the necessary technologies will be created.
The positive scenario suggests it could happen by 2050 (plus or minus 20 years), when humanity will create an advanced and powerful AI, highly developed nanotechnologies and a cure for aging.
Many young people could reach the year 2050 without even doing anything special.
But for many other people an opportunity to extend their life for just 10-20 years is the key to achieving radical life extension (at least for a thousand of years, perhaps even more), because they will be able to survive until the creation of strong life extension technologies.
That is why even a slight life extension today means a potentially eternal prize. This map of the currently available life extension methods could help in it. The map contains a description of the initial stage of plan A from the “Personal Immortality Roadmap” (where plan B is cryonics, plan C – digital immortality and plan D – quantum immortality).
Brain is most important for life extension
The main idea of this map is that all efforts towards life extension must start from our brain, and in fact, they must finish there too.
First of all, you must have the will to conquer aging and death, and do it using scientific methods.
This is probably the most difficult part of the life extension journey. The vast majority of people simply don't think about life extension, while those who do care about it (usually when it's too late) use weak and non-scientific ways and methods; they simply don't understand that the prize of this game is not ten of healthy latter years, but almost eternal life.
Secondly, you need to develop or mobilize the qualities inside yourself which are necessary for simple, daily procedures, which can almost guarantee life extension by an average of 10-20 years. e.g. avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption, daily mobility, daily intake of medicines and dietary supplements.
Most people find it incredibly difficult to perform simple actions on a permanent basis, for example even taking one pill every day for a year would be too much for most people. Not to mention quitting smoking or regular health check-ups.
A human who has the motivation to extend his life, a proper understanding of how to achieve it and the necessary skills to realize his plans, should be considered as almost a superman.
On other hand, while all of our body systems are affected by aging, our brain damage during aging plays the biggest role in total productivity reduction. Even though our crystallized intelligence increases with age, our fluid intelligence, our memory, and the possibility of making radical changes and acquiring new skills all decrease significantly with aging.
And these abilities decrease at the very time when they are needed most – to fight the aging process! Young people usually don't care too much about the aging process, because it's beyond their planning horizon. These qualities are vital in order to build the motivation and skills required to maintain health.
Thus, this leads to the idea of the map, which says that all main efforts to combat aging must be focused on brain aging. If you can keep your brain youthful, it will create and implement new skills to extend your life, helping you to find new information in a sea of new publications and technologies.
If Alzheimers is the first sign of aging to reach your body, you will have to crawl for a tablet of validol without even knowing that it is harmful. And even worse, you will crystallize some harmful beliefs. A person can think that he is a genius in some fields, receive approval from others, but continue his journey in the wrong direction – in the direction of death. (Of course early detection of cancer and a healthy heart are really important to extend your life, but it will be too difficult to deal with such problems if your brain is not working properly).
The second reason to invest in brain health and regeneration is a direct connection of its state with the state of many other systems in your body through nervous and hormonal connections.
In order to preserve your brain health we have to use antidepressants, nootropics and substances which promote its regeneration.
The example of Rita Montalchni is incredibly interesting (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rita_Levi-Montalcini). She administered a nerve growth factor (NGF) as eye drops and lived for 101 years while her twin sister died when she was 91. (Bearing in mind the average life duration difference of twins is six years, we can conclude that she gained about four years.)
Thus, providing that we understand the priority of tasks, life extension now can be reached through three fine-spun blocks: a lifestyle, a medication and the prevention of aging itself.
Collective efforts in life extension
This map doesn't include one really important social aspect of aging prevention. If we could absorb all the money (through crowdfunding), which people use to buy supplements (around 300 billion per year), and use it to perform experiments in the field of life extension instead, we could invent new anti-aging medicine and other life extension tools. These methods and medicines could be used by those who initially donated money for such experiments; they could also benefit from sales of such products. Thus, such crowdfunding would include IPO too.
You won't find other social aspects in the map such as promotion of the idea of the fight against aging, political activism and art. All of these aspects are mentioned in the main Immortality Roadmap.
The map also doesn't include a temporal aspect. Our knowledge about the best methods of life extension changes almost daily. This map contains ideas which are valid in 2015, but it will require a significant update in just five years. If you aim to extend your life you must perform a constant analysis of scientific research in this area. Currently many new methods are appearing every day, e.g. ways of lengthening telomeres and gene therapy. Additionally, the older you are the riskier new methods you should try.
The map of ideas
In fact, the map contains a systemized analysis of ideas, which can lead to life extension, but not a bunch of well-proven tips. In an ideal situation such a map should contain links to research about all the listed items, as well as an evaluation of their real effects, so any help on improving the map will be welcomed.
This map (like all my other maps) is intended to help you navigate through the world of ideas. In this case it includes life extension ideas.
Moreover, one single idea may become a salvation for a person, e.g. eradicating a certain chronic disease. Of course, no single person can complete all of the ideas and suggestions in this map or indeed in any other list. I'm pretty sure that people will not be able to implement more than one advice per month – and I'm no exception.
My approach: I drink alcohol on really rare occasions, I don't smoke (but sometimes I use nicotine wrapping with nootropic objectives), I sleep a lot, I try to walk at least 4 km every day, I avoid risky activities and I always fasten my seatbelt.
I also invest a lot of effort in preventing my brain from aging and in combating depression. (I will provide you with a map about depression and nootropics later).
The pdf of the map is here, and jpg is below.
Previous posts with maps:
A map: AI failures modes and levels
A Roadmap: How to Survive the End of the Universe
A map: Typology of human extinction risks
Roadmap: Plan of Action to Prevent Human Extinction Risks
Future planned maps:
Brut force AIXI-style attack on Identity problem
Ways of mind-improvement
Fermi paradox map
Ways of depression prevention map
Quantum immortality map
Interpretations of quantum mechanics ma
Map of cognitive biases in global risks research
Map of double catastrophes scenarios in global risks
Probability of global catastrophe
Map of unknown unknowns as global risks
Map of reality theories, qualia and God
Map of death levels
Map of resurrections technologies
Map of aging theories
Flowchart «How to build a map»
Map of ideas about artificail explosions in space
Future as Markov chain
EDIT: due to temporary hosting error, check the map here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/286606304/Life-Extension-Map
Actually, all we can conclude is that you have managed to find a single anecdote to support your point. (Sidenote: according to the link she died at 103 years of age.)
After reading turchin's post on my phone last night, I was going to make this same point when I got to my PC this morning.
While turchin calls this "incredibly interesting", it seems pretty uninteresting to me. The very least of reasons being that the average life duration difference between twins being six years can easily mean vast swaths of twins die at the same age difference Rita Montalchni did.
Very small group of people remain productive scientists after age 100.
And almost no one invented life extension method, used it on herself and lived until 100.
Of course it still could be fluctuation, and I put this not as a statistical evidence but as as an example of the approach. Unfortunately, NGF as well as other promising life extension drugs which were known for many years remain unstudied.
For example, metphormin is known for more than 40 years and it was known for long tome that it extends life on mice, but only in 2015 FDA gave permission to try it as antiaging medication on humans.
NGF was not available for other people until 2015 also, now some people on Longecity ordered it in China.
So, it is not only my problem that I managed to find so small evidence for my points. It is the problem of all humanity that so much needed research was not made and millions life were not saved.
Basically my idea was not to support any points, but to write short introduction to the map, which include many different things.
I think that idea of preventing brain decline as focal point in personal life extension is important, but its best supports comes not from anecdotes, which I used just for illustration, but from logical reasons.
To consciously put efforts into life extension someone need clear and rational mind. It is necessary condition. That is why it is rational to invest most in preventing age related brain decline. Such investment for now should mostly be in the form in research as very small amount of actual interventions is known to work. (Apart from pure NGF, good studies are about green tea in Japan, and also about lithum and taurin).
I think, I should improve the map by concentrating them in one box (with links).
But basically it is the same logic as for AI that invest most resources in self-improvement. We also need best mind condition to be able to fight aging. If my IQ fell below certain threshold, I will be unable to rise it back as well as implement new life extension technics.
Here is discussion about IQ and aging: http://lesswrong.com/lw/4gi/age_fluid_intelligence_and_intelligent_posts/
Also the statistical difference in 12 years is still strong in this case as Hompertz curve is much steeper in 90th that in 70th.
For example, after 100 a person has the probability to die 50 per cent a year. In this case gaining several years is very unprobable event. For example for 91 years old person to survive until 103 has probability around 1 in 1000.
The statistic for twins is also probably distorted by earlier deaths of most twins (like 65 and 71) - because most people die earlier than Hompertz curve is not so steep.
I agree that it is some support, but I do not have any knowledge of the statistical distribution of differences between twins deaths. I would assume that there are enough twins that such a large difference is not terribly unlikely to happen just by chance alone.
However, it's quite clear to me that you are more informed about this than I am, so it would be nice if you could point me toward some resources with stats on this.
I think this sort of transhumanism is part of the reason that a lot of people don't take life extension seriously. I don't know if it's worse that concrete timelines are almost never well-supported and almost certainly wrong, or that they're superfluous to the argument in favor of researching and applying life extension methods.
The only thing you have to argue is that continuous technological progress, molecular nanotechnology, cryonics, mind uploading, and biological immortality are in line with our current scientific generalizations, and that the invention of these technologies is far more probable than it has been historically, such that it's relevant to decision-making. You don't need to give exact years or even 20-year confidence intervals. It's not that no one should ever try to come up with a timeline estimate, but it's not necessary and it gives people who don't take this seriously the opportunity to reduce your social status by poking holes in arguments that are noncentral to the main point, a point which is sound and life-or-death important.
If you do have something to support your timeline, then that seems like something worth making explicit.
I like the map and have liked your other maps.
By saying that these technologies are relevant to the decisionmaking of a currently alive human, you are implicitly giving a timeline estimate. It's just hidden "so that people don't lower my social status". That sounds like the opposite of rational debate to me.
These arguments rely on timelines, which IMO should be explicitly stated in the appropriate probabilistic language.
Ok. I generally agree with your response. I have realized that nuance about implicit timelines before, when I was giving a list of what existential risks would be rendered negligible on an arbitrary long timescale by the construction of a successful extraterrestrial colony. Molecular nanotechnology was an atypical example of a risk that would be mitigated in the short term future but not in the long term. So, I agree that saying without qualification that there is no need for any timeline estimates is misleading. You can't talk about probability estimates without talking about time constraints, even if implicitly.
My real objection is to saying things that are implicitly giving estimates like P(Invention of artificial general intelligence in 5 years) = 0.95. That is wildly overconfident. And things like this:
Yes, that was in the article. So I still think it's valid to say that there are elements of what makes bad transhumanism in this article. You should be appropriately confident, you shouldn't color the wrong parts with your values, and you shouldn't say things that do nothing helpful and probably do something harmful, even if that's just lowering your social status in the eyes of the people that you need to persuade.
I do still think that actually saving as many people as possible might not look like what rational debate looks like ideally in your mind. My mind jumps to the people who are making surface-level generalizations on the level of "This is weird, so it is wrong." And since we want to actually save lives, we should ask ourselves how effective saying something like "My probability estimate for X in Y years is Z; my probability estimate for..." would actually be, and also be concerned with our social status because that affects how effective we are at persuading other humans.
I think the OP would be much better if it were rephrased with probabilistic timelines, even if they were clearly wrong/overconfident.
This could be deciphered to mean "there is a 95% chance that an average motivated individual of age 25 today will ride the life extension bandwagon to live to be >1000 years old".
Which IMO is incorrect, but I like it much more now that it's making itself maximally vulnerable to criticism.
That's not how it works. You can't do calculation on this on a individual basis.
I recommend putting your lists of past and future maps below the current map.
I recommend that he makes his list of future maps an independent post.
I believe that there a decent probability that Thomas Hanna's thesis that sensor-motor amnesia (SMA) is causing 50% of all aging effects is true and SMA is neglegted by SENS.
What's Hanna's line of thought?
I think SMA is a big deal, but not that big a deal. If there was one thing that had a huge effect on aging which was somewhat under people's control (mood, SMA, diet), there'd be a lot more very long lived people.
F.M. Alexander lived to be 86.
Moshe Feldenkrais lived to be 80.
Chen Man Ching, 72.
Ueshiba (founder of aikido), 86
I haven't kept numbers, but the people who get eulogies in Tai Chi Magazine seem to mostly live into their late eighties.
I see two factors pushing in opposite directions-- one is that people are apt to do things to improve SMA because they have physical problems. On the other hand, people who can do what it takes to get famous at this sort of thing may need to be reasonably healthy in later life.
I think maintaining/improving quality of movement helps a lot with quality of life, but it seems unlikely to me that it adds more than 5 or 10 years. Or is that much life extension equivalent to eliminating 50% of aging effects?
Basically that's double to three times the effect size of curing cancer. I haven't done the math in detail but I think it might cut the chance of dying in the next year by half when you are 80.
I think SMA is even more of a deal for healthy years of life than it's for total years of life. I'm around people who are more physically flexible in their late 50's than they were when they were ten years ago.
If you look at an issue like heart problems due to high blood pressure that looks to me and Hanna like a SMA problem. There are muscles that tense up and increase blood pressure. If those muscles would relax than the blood pressure would be lower. That doesn't mean that the average Tai Chi master is skilled enough to resolve those issues. Tai Chi isn't bad but it's not a framework that's optimized by scientific research to solve all SMA issues.
Last week I got two of my wisdom teeth drawn. Those at the top. I got local anesthitia for the actual drawing but afterwards took care of the wounds with body work and hypnosis. Later that day I went to a party with my NLP friends.
While hugging a friend said: "Your heart rate seems pretty high." I answered "Yes, I got my wisdom teeth drawn today." He told my I look good for that because there was no swelling. He told me that after he got his wisdom teeth drawn he cold the area to prevent swelling. Cooling to prevent swelling would be the standard way things are done in society. I think there a good chance that leaves unresolved trauma and a bit of SMA.
Then I spoke to a friend who used no anesthetia at all for getting his wisdom teeth drawn. He prepared himself beforehand. When he sat at the chair of the dentist he told the dentist that today, they are doing it without anesthesia. After a bit of shock the dentist agreed. The dentist put the pliers on a teeth of my friend. My friend thought, crap, I thought I would have a bit more time to switch off the sensation in that area. But fortunately he was fast enough and he felt no pain during the procedure. When the teeth was finally out it felt really great to him.
On the other hand when the teeth got out for me I didn't really feel it going out. There was no great feeling involved because everything was numb. My friend did nothing further with the wound after the process was over. There was no swelling. I would guess that the process also left no trauma that induced SMA in him.
Why do I believe that a normal person might get a bit of SMA from having their wisdom teeth drawn? The fact that the body is perfectly capable of handling the situation without swelling when properly dealing with the information send by the nerves in the region suggests to me that the typical process is far from optimal.
I personally had a ward on my fingers a while ago. I killed it with a cooling stick. When activated the stick cools down to be very cold (maybe -50C or something like that) and that get's hold against the ward to kill it. It was a very specific sensation that I don't think I felt anywhere else in my life. A year later when I was releasing physical trauma's in my body I felt that sensation again in that finger. The trauma was still there and had to be released. Without release there's likely a bit SMA.
Is there currently scientific way to detect that ward cooling based SMA? No, there isn't. As a result an old person will get SMA from various medical intervention and that SMA will kill them sooner or later. If you look at the average 70 year old you see how the are full of SMA and tense up a lot of muscles that don't have to be tensed up.
Would standard Tai Chi be enough to release the ward-cooling based SMA? I dunno. I don't have much Tai Chi experience but I'm not confident that it will given that I observe people who regularly practice Tai Chi for decades that are full of SMA as seen by the fact that they tense up a lot of muscles that don't have to be tensed up.
Thanks. So you're talking about SMA work which is much better than is commonly used. I wasn't just talking about average tai chi practitioners-- Cheng Man Ching is a big name in tai chi history, and anyone who gets a eulogy in Tai Chi Magazine is at least well above average.
Secrets of the Pelvis for Martial Arts might be an effort at serious SMA removal. It's by an engineer, and he goes very deep into the subject, including a look at the emotional difficulties.
I believe you about accumulated SMA from a big range of traumas, including smallish ones-- (I even suspect that diapers cause SMA), and I'm able to manage tinnitus with relaxation. There's a huge amount of possibility. Have you heard of Eric Franklin? He's a dancer and anatomist, and does a lot with imagery.
I googled his name to find his cause of death and there seem to be rumors that he got poisoned.
What are they studying? How much time/money are they putting into it?
We had a conversation at a Danis Bois Method / Perceptive Pedagogy class to that effect and it was true for the teacher and the other person in the room with a decade exposure.
Both of those people earn their living with working with clients, so counting money and time isn't trival. The teacher has I think twelve years in the method and was previously teacher yoga and before that a dancer. Yoga didn't do the same thing for her that she's now getting.
I unfortunately don't have data about people who do it for a decade at that age who aren't working professionally with it.
I'm guessing you mean "wart", not ward.
It would not surprise the hell out of me if there were ordinary scientific methods like checking the amount of blood-circulation in different parts of the body that could identify SMA, it's just that no one is looking.
My notion that serious work on SMA would add 5-10 years of life is just a wild-assed guess.
For what it's worth about Hanna's theory about lowering blood pressure, I did have a massage session (somatic experience practionerer, eclectic massage approach which includes working with various body systems) which gave me a moment of feeling that my heart had more room. I didn't check my blood pressure, though.
There's research which shows that even modest amounts of tai chi practice makes old people less likely to fall, but I don't know how much that would add to lifespan.
I can believe that people do tai chi for years and still have a lot of tension-- if you aren't ambitious about making your tai chi better, it's not going to get a lot better.
In general making estimates like that isn't easy.
From my perspective there are two points to be made:
1) The average person who wants to life a long term would profit from doing some form of somatics. I think you are right that it's likely less than a decade of additional life years for the average person with current systems.
2) Even if we solve all those issues that SENS plans to solve people will still die due to SMA. SMA happens to be neglegted in popular antiaging discussion even when it's an important part. As a result it doesn't get the scientific researcht that it needs.
If you're thinking of Aubrey de Grey's estimates on the cost (~1b USD) required to reach the point where we can add 30 years of healthy human life to people who have already aged quite a bit, I've always wondered exactly how optimistic those are. I do like Aubrey, and think that SENS is probably a good use of funding (though I bet the VOI on what SENS's cost effectiveness is high, too). Anyhow, it feels like the same sorts of errors that come up in doing charity cost-effectiveness estimates a-la-Givewell would come up in doing cost-effectiveness estimates of SENS, such that we might expect the cost-effectiveness of SENS to drop by a couple of orders of magnitude (or more) after we do the appropriate multilevel modeling. At the same time, Aubrey has always been precise and consistent enough in his estimates of what it will take to get SENS off the ground that he does inspire social confidence.
I'd like to be on the record as thinking that hard-nanotech/nanobots a-la-Drexler are silly and unfeasible, even with FAI. (Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned this, since I'm a bit too depressed to have a proper debate about this today. Hmm).
This seems especially true for those who would otherwise be quite motivated to implement various life-extending interventions.
Basically SENS is not relevant for this map. If you survive until FAI in 2050 without SENS it is completely ok and quiet possible. Also SENS is not the only approach to antaging. Exiting drugs cocktail probably could slow aging as they did on mice.
But if FAI is delayed until 2100, you should ride the wave of life extension methods: antiaging, cyborgization, head transplanation, brain in vat and finally uploading.
Proposition: how much you should prioritize using currently available life extension methods depends heavily on how highly you value arbitrary life extension. The exponential progress of technology means that on the small chance a healthier lifestyle* nontrivially increases your lifespan, there is a fairly good chance you get arbitrary life extension a result. So the outcome is pretty binary - live forever or get an extra few months. If you're content with current lifespans, as most people seem to be, the chance at immortality is probably still small enough to ignore.
*healthier than the obvious (exercise, don't smoke, etc.)
I think it depends of the age of a person. If he is in 60 or 70's, he should be more interested in cryonics. If he is 20, he will probably immortal anyway (if no accidents or x-risks happens). But for middle age guy like me it is more tricky. Also I think that is normal to want to live very long life, but somehow most people don't thinks so, and it is the biggest mystery for me.
One minor nitpick; I'm not sure that there is a lot of evidence showing that avoiding spicy foods extends lifespan. In fact, there was recently a study in China that seemed to show a correlation between eating spicy foods and a longer lifespan.
Of course that kind of study is only weak evidence, because of the problems with that kind of correlation; still, I don't think avoiding spicy foods is likely to be helpful.
I think it strongly depends of type of spices. Curcumin (carry) is known to be benefitial, while peper is known to be cancerogenic. So someone could have beneficial spices
Short search for "black pepper carcinogenicity" doesn't turn up anything except a few studies on rats and mice, and one of them shows no adverse effect. Do you have anything better?
Ok, replaced on "smoked products".
Not far indeed: global life expectancy at birth was 26 years in the Bronze Age, and in 2010 was 67.2. Five years ago our life expectancy at birth was more than double what it had been. wikipedia
The future cannot always be predicted from the past, but it can help us avoid repeating mistakes and it can help us avoid thinking something is new when it has happened before.
I like your maps!
This is a little misleading because low life expectancy at birth was to a large extent a function of very high infant mortality. It is true that even if one takes into account infant mortality (for example by looking at life expectancy at three years of age) that life expectancy has gone up. However, this is primarily average life expectancy. Maximum life expectancy has barely budged. This is sometimes referred to as rectangularization of mortality curves.
I do think it is likely that we are going to see substantial improvements in maximum life expectancy in the next few years, but the change in life expectancy up to this time isn't really indicative of it.
Indeed, if you reached age 10 in the Roman empire you'd probably reach age 50 and if you reached age 20 your expectancy is near 60.
Infectious disease has always been awful.
And again, indeed the age of the OLDEST people has barely budged since ancient Greece.
Here're some numbers! According to this paper](http://www.jstor.org/stable/25434609 (conclusions on page 349), once hunter-gatherers passed the age of 15, the average age age of death was 72 years. (!) Compare with the 2013 US average life expectancy of 78.8 years.
That data must be flawed. Only by 1980 did life expectancy pass 52 years at at the age of 20. That paper suggests that hunter-gatherers were healthier than people in 1980's which cannot be true. (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005140.html)
They are not saying that hunter gatherers reached this age on average; they are saying that in a "state of nature", as judged by looking at hunter gatherer societies, it is reasonable to assume, based on their evidence, that the human body and mind was adapted to work until 68-78 years of age. When they use the term 'modal age' (as they do in their conclusion, and their introduction), they mean 'modal' in the sense of modal possibility -- 'could be' or 'would be'.
Edit: Sorry, that was unclear. To quote from the article, "the modal age at death may be the age at which most people experience sufficient physical decline such that if they do not die from one cause, they soon die from another." That is, it is the age that the body starts to wear out, and one might be considered enfeebled.
That seems to indicate that summarizing what they've said as the average age of death being 72 years is not accurate.
Yes. That summary is totally inaccurate.
I don't think we have any good data on life expectancy among hunter-gatherers. Many people argue that life expectancy went down significantly with the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural societies. That may or may not be true but the statistics you link are not relevant to the claim. Just because life expectancy has been going up for the last few hundred years does not prove that it was even lower some thousands of years ago.