Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Forget Designer Babies And Nanobots, This Is Future Shock For Real

A present full of heady, vertiginous, ecstatic, uncanny, promising futurity.


High Arka said...

Your response follows here: Our Greater Evils.

Dale Carrico said...

Oh, I see. You're just a troll. Boring.

jimf said...

Here's some future shock for you.

The proportion of folks living into their 90s (not just in
this country, but world-wide) is going to be huge in a
few decades -- by 2050, 2% of the US population; 6% of the
Japanese population (YouTube video linked below, 15:30/1:00:09).
Dementia costs (in the US) far more than cancer and heart disease
put together. After age 65, the risk of demential doubles
with every 5 years of life. Between 90 and 94, the risk of dementia is increasing
at 10% per year; between 95 and 99, it doubles to 20%; after 100,
it doubles again to 40% (video, 33:00/1:00:09).

Very little is known about the mechanisms of dementia -- Alzheimer's
(the familiar amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles) is
far from the whole story. Some brains with visible evidence
of Alzheimer's belonged to folks with no symptoms of dementia
at the time of their death; other brains with no apparent
damage belonged to folks **with** symptoms of dementia. Best
guess right now is that symptomatic dementia develops due
to multiple pathologies (video, 48:40/1:00:09).

A talk about the "90+ Study":
“Longevity: Tales from the Oldest Old”
Presented by Claudia H. Kawas, M.D.
by UCI Media Services
Published on Nov 13, 2014

There are no effective interventions currently available
for this.
Matt replied to this comment from Dirk Bruere
May 17, 2015 04:49


> The real holdup in all these [anti-aging] technologies is that they
> are medical, and regulated to the point of totally diminished
> returns in the West. Indeed, any drug that extended healthy
> lifespan through anti-ageing effects could not be licensed
> because old age is not classified as a disease.

Old age increases risk for a lot of specific problems:
weakening bones, hardening arteries, cataracts, dementia,
strokes, cancers... You must see a decrease in some of
these specifics to also see extended healthy lifespan.
Pick just one of the many problems your miracle anti-aging
drug solves and run it through a proper clinical trial.
Call it an anti-osteoporosis drug and do a trial for that
goal, for example. If your miracle drug really prevents
osteoporosis the FDA is not going to block it because
side effects include improved memory and decreased risk
of heart attacks. Once it's approved for one condition
physicians can prescribe it off-label for anything,
and an actual working anti-aging drug will get excellent
word of mouth.

Regulation is not preventing the sale of working anti-aging
drugs. Regulation is preventing people from making miraculous
claims about drugs without miraculous proof. That's an unambiguous good.
Without properly blinded trials even an honest person can be
deluded by their expectations and delude others in turn.

Regulation is preventing rapid and large scale research on
human subjects -- and animal models are poor analogs for many
human medical conditions. This is also good, if not
unambiguously good, given the poor record of experimental
medical ethics in the 20th century.

I am 100% in favor of extending healthy human lifespan if it
can be done. It grates that so many online discussions of it
stray into ritual denunciation of medical regulations and
"deathism." Those aren't real problems. Biology is the
real problem. Denouncing the wrong problems seems like
a displacement activity to avoid the much harder real problem.

jimf said...

> Dementia costs (in the US) far more than cancer and heart disease
> put together.

Wouldn't it be great if all the pending baby-boom dodderers were going
to be be taken care of by the AIs that are only 20 (30?) years

I found a box of cake mix in the cupboard, Frank. If you
don't mind me saying so, I think I could be a big help to
Robot & Frank