The usual way to improve your life expectancy is through a healthy lifestyle of some-sort, especially during peace time.

However, in many plausible futures, personal health now seems to have little effect:

  • We create aligned AGI: aligned AGI could presumably solve any health problems we accumulated due to our lifestyle choices.
  • We create unaligned AGI: unaligned AGI would definitely solve any health problems we accumulated due to our lifestyle choices.
  • Humans solve aging without AGI: health problems we accumulated probably don't matter in this scenario.
  • Some other existential crisis occurs.

Whereas the scenarios where health choices do effect longevity seem slim:

  • Humans do not invent AGI and to do not solve aging themselves and no existential catastrophes occur in your lifetime
  • No existential catastrophes occur, we/an AI do find a cure for aging, but medical regulations prevent the cure from being distributed widely (please no 🙏).

One important consideration to keep in mind though is that things that extend our life expectancy usually have short term health benefits as well. For example, sleep, diet, and exercise have a massive effect on energy levels. But if you're only optimizing short-term health, does the optimal lifestyle look different?

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4 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 2:03 PM

Well, they do at least to the extent of helping you live long enough to see the other outcomes. IDK how old you are, but many kinds of unhealthy choices don't just worsen health and shorten life when you're very old. They can increase mortality risk at every age. 

If I thought that those pivotal changes affecting longevity were going to happen next week or next month, then maybe I'd deprioritize sleep and exercise and diet if there were something else worth doing to prepare. I find it much harder to imagine anything I could do now, that would make me healthier for the next few years but less healthy in the long run.

Agreed. I think if anything I would want to prioritize brain health, but basically everything that makes you overall healthy is also better for your brain so that doesn't really make much difference.

But if you're only optimizing short-term health, does the optimal lifestyle look different?

Only if you're optimising short-term health at the expense of long-term health. But offhand, I can't think of anything that does that. It's not like you have a fixed store of "fitness" or "thinking" that you have to ration out.

Besides which, I believe that "if we [whatever], then everything will be wonderful" is a dysfunctional attitude. There will never be an "and then everything will be wonderful" no matter what we achieve. An AGI that relieved us from the necessity of ever doing anything again would not be an aligned one.

I very much believe aligned AGI isn't going to just solve our problems overnight.  It would have to be on the absolute far end of capability for that, IMO.  Less-than-arbitrarily-powerful AGI is going to take time (years to decades) to figure out enough about biology to upload/fix our organic hardware while keeping us intact. Even for me, with my rather lax requirements about continuity (not required) and lax requirements of hardware platform (any), I expect it to take years if not decades.

Humans, barring extinction, will eventually solve aging.  My best guess at the moment is that we'll hit longevity escape velocity around 2050; this is really inconvenient for me, because I am already old. My odds of dying due to organic hardware platform failure are IMO higher than my odds of dying from AGI ruin in that time.

So from my standpoint, investing in platform maintenance (a healthy lifestyle) makes sense.  Platform failure is a substantial chunk of my probability space, and I'm old enough that there are qualify of life benefits to be had as well.

If you're only 20, AGI ruin will probably be a larger part of your probability space than platform failure. YMMV.