Marek Veneny


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I purely enjoyed the read about the State of the Art. I had no clue there's so much going on behind the scenes. 

If I may, I would like to steer the discussion from technology towards ethical and practical matters. 

The argument could go like this:

We're living on the cusp of technological progress. We (most western countries) enjoy easy access to more resources than we could ever consume and enjoy. The accessibility of the internet means we can communicate globally. We have cars and fridges and smart homes and Nicolas Cage pillowcases.  Yet are we living happier, more meaningful lives? Some data suggest we aren't, as rising mental health disorders plague more and more people. With barest necessities taken care of, the western countries especially are, well, depressed. And with so much time to think about our existence, the question of meaninglessness crops up. As the famous quote from Fight Club goes: 

“We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

My point is this: Age and suffering give meaning to our lives. Technology slowly but surely eliminates both. Without any struggle - and as close to paradise as ever - where will we find meaning? In continuous progress? In "higher" quality of life?* 

Next, how are we to handle the non-aging population as a society? The initial question is purely pragmatic: more people on Earth living longer lives would mean more energy expenditure, more space needed to accommodate them. Even if this could be technologically solved with higher efficiencies (which themselves would not be offset by behavior adaptation), what will it do to the fabric of society? Will the "anti-aging cure" (considering aging as a disease still rings a bit weird to me) be available to all strata of society? Or will it only enlarge the cleft between haves and have nots? 

While I'd definitely love to enjoy a longer life, in theory, I'm not convinced it would do me (and probably the society) any good. I wonder if, alongside developing the necessary technology to make anti-aging happen, people are considering such issues in parallel. Or if it's another case of "go fast and break things."

Anyway, thanks again for the post!


* a case can be made that we've enjoyed the peak happiness of our species back as hunter-gatherers. For an excellent and purely enjoyable read, I recommend Civilized to Death: What Was Lost on the Way to Modernity from Christopher Ryan.