BHTV: de Grey and Yudkowsky

by Eliezer Yudkowsky1 min read13th Dec 200813 comments

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My latest on Bloggingheads.tv is up.  BHTV wanted someone to interview Aubrey de Grey of the Methuselah Foundation about basic research in antiagathics, and they picked me to do it.  It made the interview somewhat difficult, since Aubrey and I already agree about most things, but we managed to soldier on.  The interview is mostly Aubrey talking, as it should be.

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I'm very much looking foward to this!

Incidentally, I received my paperback of "Ending Aging" today. For those of you who have the EA's hardback edition: The paperback has an additional 40-page afterword. (This gets probably mentioned in the above interview but I thought it couldn't hurt if I give this comment at least a bit of weight.)

[EDIT in March 2010 for clarity.]

On one point, see the recent TED talk on neurodegeneration and anti-aging: Gregory Petsko: The coming neurological epidemic.

On another, see my essay: http://alife.co.uk/essays/adaptive_senescence/

I appreciate Aubrey de Grey's willingness to make a quantitative prediction of when actuarial escape velocity may be reached, along with an emphasis of the likely variance accompanied by his prediction.

So, Eliezer... have you devised any stock predictions for the media regarding the time until AI breakthroughs? I'm sure everyone would love to hear them, lest we naturally conclude that an intelligence explosion will occur tomorrow or never.

Very good job, Eliezer.

An well-trodden point from my perspective - but de Grey's list of damage makes no mention of pathogens. Yet a number of types of pathogens are long-lived entities that accumulate and eventually do you in. So: a pathogen plan is needed - and dealing with pathogens is not an easy problem.

Tim: What pathogens are you referring to?

Very good job, Eliezer. I recommend you do a BHTV tour of all the big blogging names in cryonics, life extension, and existential risk minimization. Kurzweil, Bostrom, and Hanson too, of course. They're probably asking you to do this already.

Persistent ones that accumulate. Mainly viruses. In a lifetime people gradually rack up a load of Persistent Viral Infections - and many of them strike when a person is ill and their immune system is weakened.

Your point that if I don't give the answer the audience literally has no choice but to make their own guesses, which can only be based on even less information

"The answer": heh. No doubt the audience members are collectively pleased to hear about how poorly informed they supposedly are.

Every time I see Aubrey de Grey talk, I'm struck by how at a gut level it seems appropriate for a guy who works for a place called the Methuselah foundation to have a beard like that. I mean seriously - if the guy can grow a beard like that, why wouldn't you trust him to help you live forever?

"The paperback has an additional 40-page "Afterword"."

Argh. I already have two copies of the hardback, including an autographed one. Now you're tempting me to get a third copy (makes a good gift, I guess).