2019 New Year’s Message – A Call for Medical Progress and Preservation of the Good – Article by Victor Bjoerk

2019 New Year’s Message – A Call for Medical Progress and Preservation of the Good – Article by Victor Bjoerk

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Victor Bjoerk


I celebrated the end of 2018 like normally with neuroscientist Anders Sandberg and several other “transhumanists” or “technoprogressive people” in Stockholm!

Why am I in that place to start with? Well, I’m quite frustrated with the human condition in the first place; I’ve always questioned everything from social norms and different kinds of problems in the world, and there’s still so much misery around that we need to unite and fix. (I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true!)

As people reading this know, the vast majority of human misery worldwide today occurs due to our bodies damaging themselves with the passage of time, the biological process we call aging. This occurs because evolution has no goals and our ancestors died at the age of 30-40 prehistorically, and therefore there was no pressure for evolution to create humans that could repair themselves molecularly to live thousands of years. The closest we get among Eukaryotes/Vertebrates are Greenland sharks, which can live to 500+ years; that is easy to understand since they have no predators and just have to open their mouths to get their daily food. On the opposite side we have as a prominent example the mouse, with a very poor molecular repair system and subsequent 2.5-year lifespan, easy to understand when you realize how dangerous life is in the wild if having a mouse body.

Thanks to our technology, we have created the “paradise Greenland shark scenario” for humans during the past century essentially, creating very comfortable existences where nearly everyone survives.

So if you’re 25 years old, life is really great nowadays in Western countries (unless you like to complain about everything!); the existential risks are so low in the absence of aging that you would live many thousands of years just by being a young person living in Sweden.

So I’ve worked a lot in nursing homes both before and during my studies in molecular biology, and what those people have to endure would be strictly illegal in most countries if we knew how to change it. Imagine if, for example, Saudi Arabia allowed its citizens to age while the Western world had abolished it; wouldn’t Amnesty International intervene?

But what can be done with the human body? Well, I assume quite a lot! We are seeing so many people who can’t stand the medical monopoly and the 17-year bench-to-bedside status quo, which isn’t an abstract academic complaint but which impact their daily lives, so they start self-experimenting with, for example, senolytic medicines to kill their senescent cells, making themselves “younger” in certain aspects, which is pretty cool!

However I’m not someone who constantly calls for change and “progress”; I mean, if something is nice, then why not keep it? As far as I’m concerned, for example, the beautiful architecture from the past can continue to stand for thousands more years. These buildings fulfill their purpose and look nice; I’m quite conservative on those points – but please accelerate the medical research, and it is crucial to spot the techniques that actually do work and to not waste resources on hype!

2018 has brought me many good things, those which one can call “achievements” and those which are not visible. The Eurosymposium on Healthy Aging in Brussels became a success! (And there will be some events during 2019 that I am also announcing for everyone who enjoyed it!)

I’ve been learning a lot about CRISPR and many other techniques both practically and theoretically, though I have not exactly used them to change the world. Medical progress takes forever to achieve, and it’s not exactly helped by a massive web of bureaucracy/hierarchies/prestige/laws, all contributing to slowing down progress for people in need. What can really be done? One needs to focus on the positive and go where the biotech companies can succeed!

So if things are working out for me as I hope now in 2019, I hope being able to really work full time to impact the longevity industry, I really feel like an overripe fruit that needs to get things done, because implementing stuff is what matters and not becoming some passive “longevity encyclopedia”. I’ll keep everyone as usually updated!

So happy new 2019 everyone! And make sure to take good care of yourselves!

Victor Bjoerk has worked for the Gerontology Research Group, the Longevity Reporter, and the Fraunhofer-Institut für Zelltherapie und Immunologie. He has promoted awareness throughout Europe of emerging biomedical research and the efforts to reverse biological aging. 

Happy New Years – Space Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Happy New Years – Space Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Ekaterinya Vladinakova


“Happy New Years” by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Left-click on the image for a fuller view. You can also download this painting (3265 by 5000 pixels) here.

Happy New Years – indefinitely many of them! As we celebrate the arrival of 2019, we can find great inspiration in this painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova. May we someday stand on worlds such as this distant cratered planet and observe nebulas like this one in glorious color.

Ekaterinya Vladinakova is an accomplished digital painter. See her gallery here and her DeviantArt page here.

What President Trump Should Focus on Instead of the Border Wall – Article by Alex Lightman

What President Trump Should Focus on Instead of the Border Wall – Article by Alex Lightman

Alex Lightman


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party is home to many innovative thinkers who offer more forward-looking and far superior policy solutions than those pursued by either of the major political parties in the United States. This brief article by Alex Lightman, Campaign Director for the California Transhumanist Party, is an example of how even a few constructive, inspiring, big-picture ideas by transhumanists could revolutionize politics for the better and help us construct the next era of our civilization. What could Donald Trump be focusing on instead of his brinksmanship over an unnecessary border wall? Mr. Lightman explores the alternatives here.  

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, December 24, 2018


I am stunned by this Presidency. If I were President of the United States, I would be obsessively focused on:

 1. Space Migration – Setting up permanent bases and thriving colonies on the moon (for Helium 3, one shuttle load of which could cleanly power the entire US for a few weeks) and Mars (as a base for jumping off to other worlds and mining the asteroid belt).

2. Intelligence Increase – I would focus on raising average IQ from what I believe to be 87 to over 106, equal to the highest national average in Asia. IQ can be raised by 19 points within six weeks.

3. Life Extension – Average life expectancy in the US has dropped three years in a row after 114 years of steady increase that DOUBLED life expectancy. The USA ranks in the 25-50 range in key health measures, including infant mortality. I think a smart Presidency could boost average life expectancy by 5-15 years.

4. Acceleration of Innovation – just implementing the 200-page national innovation plan I was paid to write by the Obama White House would do this. It’s ready to implement and there is nothing comparable to it ever tried by any nation in history.

5. Smart Green Augmented Cities – I can’t understand why Donald Trump, real-estate developer, doesn’t use some of the $20-25 trillion he has to play with during a four-year term to create a novel, brilliant, beautiful, state-of-the-art city that sets a new high standard and serves as an archetype and living laboratory for all future cities.

Instead, the Border Wall is where his head is.

If I were him, I would ask someone like me, “Why are the people from Mexico and Central America coming? What can we do to make their countries successful?” I spent $300,000 or so of my own money figuring this out, and I shared the results with Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Energy, and Director of Sustainability, and they all said my plan made sense.

My point isn’t that I am the only one with a plan. When you are the US government, you can hire thousands of people like me and have them come up with thousands of possible solutions and then implement these solutions.

Trump claims that his art form is the art of the deal. A deal that helped Mexico and Central America be successful would be easy to strike with Democrats.

Alex Lightman, Campaign Director for the California Transhumanist Party, has 25 years of management and social innovation experience and 15 years of chairman and chief executive experience. He is an award-winning inventor with multiple U.S. patents issued or pending and author of over one million published words, including the first book on 4G wireless, and over 150 articles in major publications. He chaired and organized 17 international conferences with engineers, scientists, and government officials since 2002, with the intention of achieving policy breakthroughs related to innovation. He is a world-class innovator and recipient of the first Economist magazine Readers’ Choice Award for “The Innovation that will Most Radically Change the World over the Decade 2010 to 2020” (awarded Oct. 21, 2010, out of 4,000 initial suggestions and votes over 5 months from 200 countries, and from 32 judges). He is the recipient of the 2nd Reader’s Award (the posthumous recipient announced 10/21/2011 was Steve Jobs). He is also the winner of the only SGI Internet 3D contest (both Entertainment and Grand Prize) out of 800 contestants.

Social innovation work includes repeatedly putting almost unknown technologies and innovation-accelerating policies that can leverage the abilities of humanity into the mainstream of media, business, government, foundations, and standards bodies, including virtual reality, augmented reality, Internet Protocol version 6, and 4G wireless broadband, open spectrum, technology transfer to developing countries, unified standards, crowd-sourcing, and collective intelligence, via over 40 US government agencies, over 40 national governments, and via international entities including the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Political credentials include a national innovation plan entitled “The Acceleration of American Innovation” for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, work for U.S. Senator Paul E. Tsongas (D-MA) and on several state campaigns and U.S. presidential campaigns for Democratic candidates (Gary Hart, Richard Gephardt), presentations to the United Nations, and advisory services to the governments of Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Australia, Philippines, Japan, China, Korea, and India, as well as to the U.S. Congress, the White House (via the Office of Management and Budget), the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Defense Information Systems Agency, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Mr. Lightman is trained as an engineer at MIT and as a prospective diplomat and policy analyst at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Improving Schooling – Ideas to Move Away from the Assembly-Line Method – Article by Lev Polyakov

Improving Schooling – Ideas to Move Away from the Assembly-Line Method – Article by Lev Polyakov

logo_bgLev Polyakov


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this guest article by Lev Polyakov to advance the objectives of Section XII of our Platform, which reads, in part, “The United States Transhumanist Party holds that present and future societies should provide education systems accessible and available to all in pursuit of factual knowledge to increase intellectual acuity; promote critical thinking and logic; foster creativity; form an enlightened collective; attain health; secure the bounty of liberty for all sentient entities for our posterity; and forge new ideas, meanings, and values.” It is clear that contemporary systems of mass education are broken in that they fail to encourage creativity, critical thinking, and even the acquisition and retention of knowledge. However, the ideas provided by Mr. Polyakov – which combine an Internet meritocracy with individualized attention to students and the ability of students to take charge of their learning – offer some promising options for elevating the quality of education and reaching more young minds at crucial formative stages. The U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages its members to consider these ideas and to offer their own perspectives. 

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, December 23, 2018


Today’s kids have outgrown the top-down-style assembly-line schools, and many rightfully hate them. While I don’t have exact numbers to quote, I can tell you I was not a fan of this approach for sure, and a change would be especially good for most boys who are missing the male role models they would have been able to get were this whole thing to have been structured differently from the bottom up.

Combine an Internet meritocracy (master instructors from anywhere) with smaller groups of kids assigned to an apprentice instructor who learns from the master instructors. Instead of sitting in desks facing one direction, the arrangement could be a circle, whose exchange of information the kids can look forward to. Weather permitting, many classes can take place outdoors, and if a kid doesn’t want to participate, he can go and play with some twigs. Eventually, were the class group itself worth being in more than the twig, he’ll come back to the group. The point here is to have these small circles engaging to the curiosity the kids have. And most kids, if they are younger and less jaded by normal school, will have this curiosity. If you don’t put in the effort on your end, the twig wins.

For apprentices new to teaching a group, they would first be the apprentices to a master teacher who would be teaching kids face to face instead of through the Internet. This would involve some travel for the prospective apprentice, depending on how many of these master teachers are in their area. But the understanding is that with time, the apprentice will become the master, and finding a local master teacher in your area will be easier.

These apprentices will also earn various markers based on their performance and what they learn, which will make them more sought after. Certain strengths of theirs can complete a particular neighborhood’s need for this strength. For example, someone good at math in Neighborhood A could more become aware that he or she is needed in Neighborhood B which already has people good at science and geography.

As far as money is concerned, there can be various methods tried out, but in the end, I think it makes sense to have the remuneration be based on the merit of the teacher and results. Perhaps the compensation could even be based on results measured in the long term, as far as the kids giving testimonials about the teachers when they are older, though how this would result in more money is still not clear.

Lastly, classes would start later (giving more time for kids to sleep).


Follow Lev Polyakov’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/levpo

Visit the video channel co-hosted by Lev Polyakov and Jules Hamilton, “Lev and Jules Break the Rules“. U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II was recently honored to be the first guest ever interviewed on “Lev and Jules Break the Rules”. Watch this interview here

Lev Polyakov is an award-winning independent animation director and conceptual artist, whose films were featured on WNET 13, Channel Frederator, and ShortsHD.

Lev Polyakov has been active in the animation world since 2004, starting as an intern for Signe Baumane, one of New York’s most prominent independent animators, and proceeding to write and direct his own animated films. His first short, Piper the Goat and the Peace Pipe, won the first place at the 2005 Ottawa Animation Festival. For his next film, Morning, Day, Evening, Night… and Morning Again, Lev was awarded a grant and an honorary membership from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. During his junior year at SVA, Lev directed and produced Only Love, a 15-minute animated short that premiered at the prestigious Woodstock Film Festival, and has been shown at more than 30 film festivals around the world, winning many first-place awards.

Lev has done work visually appealing character-driven commercial work such as character design, storyboarding, and animation for Giants Are Small’s “Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood” iPad app in partnership with Universal Music; and for the virtual reality studio, The Glimpse Group.

Lev is currently chair of the Art and Technology Committee at the National Arts Club in New York City.

You can see Lev’s work at http://youtube.com/levpolyakov

Follow Lev Polyakov’s Instagram account: https://instagram.com/levpolyakov/

Creating A Physical Map of the Brain – Article by Zena O’Brien

Creating A Physical Map of the Brain – Article by Zena O’Brien

logo_bgZena O’Brien


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party publishes this article by one of our members, Zena O’Brien, as an example of the creative deliberations we encourage in regard to the design of future technologies and their implementation to improve the human condition. Here Ms. O’Brien writes about a possibility for providing a physical brain map that is both structural and functional through the use of sufficiently advanced cryopreservation techniques. We welcome input from our members regarding this concept.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, December 22, 2018


AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM:

So I have this vague and speculative idea. I was trying to come up with a way of somehow overcoming the resolution and storage problems of brain imaging and mapping. I think of this in case we fail within our lifetimes in attaining the goal of extending life indefinitely. At first I thought of imaging the brain in high spatial and temporal resolution, but instead of storing the exabytes of information, you’d transmit them into space in the form of radio waves. You could transmit the radio waves towards a star or series of stars to be gravitationally slingshot back to Earth and received in maybe 200 or 400 years total from transmission to reception. By that time Earth should have developed a storage device with the capacity to store the information. This would solve the storage problem because you don’t have to create a storage device with such capacity. All you have to do is wait. However this would require you to image a brain in high resolution in the first place, and we don’t have that technology yet. We’d probably need advanced nanotechnology of some sort.

A Possibly More Feasible Solution. A Physical Map:

I want to reiterate that these ideas are vague and highly speculative. I came up with the idea of a physical map to overcome the resolution problem. Why image a brain in high resolution when you could just cryopreserve it? There are a lot of issues with this idea on the offset, but I think they can be overcome. The first is the formation of ice crystals. There is a solution to this already. It’s called vitrification. It has to do with the addition of cryoprotectants that prevent the formation of ice crystals and keep individual water molecules in place as the brain is cooled below freezing. This prevents a lot of damage to the brain that would occur if it was just cryopreserved without cryoprotectants.

You can learn more about vitrification here.

However, from what I’ve read, there is still a problem with fractures due to the nature of storage and not necessarily the process of vitrification. This problem will have to be overcome somehow for this idea to work. And some individuals are already working on it.

To learn more about fractures and solutions, read here.

If we could overcome this hurdle, then so far we would have a physical structural map of the brain. However, something’s missing: the pattern of neural activity before you died. The brain is a complex system, and to have the connections without the patterns of activity would mean that your last experiences before you died wouldn’t be reproducible. There would be no sense of continuity, AND this could really affect the development of your consciousness. This is why I propose finding “markers” that could be introduced to the extracellular fluid in the brain and somehow enter neurons when an action potential occurs and reliably transfer from one neuron to the next as the neurons fire so that these atomic or molecular markers always end up in the neuron that was last fired upon. They would have to not interact with or damage any part of the brain and be unable to affect the voltage of the cells. If we can achieve this, then when a person dies, these markers would indicate to us where the activity stopped. And if the brain is vitrified without fractures, then we have not only a physical structural map but a functional map as well. No need for advanced neuroimaging techniques or storage devices with high capacity. What do you think?

Zena O’Brien is a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, a polymath for social change, and a supporter of life extension. 

A Biohacker’s Letter to Santa – Article by Elena Milova

A Biohacker’s Letter to Santa – Article by Elena Milova

Elena Milova


Editor’s Note: Happy Holidays! If Santa Claus were real, life extension would be the greatest gift that he could possibly give. Elena Milova convincingly illustrates why in this letter, originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

                   ~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, U.S. Transhumanist Party, December 21, 2018

Dear Santa,
My name is Elena Milova, and I am from Moscow, Russia. I am a science popularizer, biohacker, and public health advocate in the field of aging and longevity. I am 39, single, and without children, but if you think that I am reaching out to you to ask for a CRISPR-designed baby, I am not. I believe that this type of wish is rather in the pile of letters from China. I am not asking you for a particular health improvement, as one could not wish for a better HOMA-IR (mine is 0.40, because I greatly reduced fast carbs) or total cholesterol level (below 4 mmol/L). I am fine without a new smartphone, too.

The thing that I am going to ask you for is much more tricky to get. I want everyone on Earth to realize that biological aging is amenable to medical intervention and that treatments targeting various mechanisms of aging are already in human clinical trials. 7.6 billion minds, one idea. That is my only wish.

Why this is so important to me

You have probably noticed yourself that your clientele is changing over time. There are more and more people over 60 in the world, and I assume that the number of wishes for recovery from this or that age-related disease are spiking higher every year. This must be a problem for you, as for many diseases of old age, there is still no effective treatment that would actually help to cure people. It must be frustrating to not be able to fulfill a sincere wish of a good person, especially when a child asks for her grandparents to recover so that they can walk and throw snowballs together.

Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2017). World Population Prospects 2017 – Data Booklet (ST/ESA/SER.A/401)

By 2050, the elderly will be a quarter of the global population, and these people will likely be suffering from several chronic diseases at once, gradually losing their health, independence and dignity. For so many people, being a burden on their families because of their deteriorating health is unacceptable, which is why the number of suicides in this age group is so high.

Is aging an invisible problem?

The numbers of these voluntary deaths are very upsetting, but what is even more upsetting is that diseases of old age are the major cause of death worldwide and aging kills around 100,000 people every day. This is the population of a small city. Imagine what would happen if everyone in a city like Cambridge, Massachusetts were to die in one day. I bet that there would be a lot of media attention and that thousands of experts would be on television discussing the potential causes of death and ways of preventing this tragedy in the future. Let’s say that the next day, another city becomes deadly peaceful. Take the Russian city of Domodedovo, which has its own airport. Everyone dead. People in neighboring cities would probably be frightened, and some charismatic politicians would be trying to calm down the public and promising to do something about all these deaths. The next day, this happens to yet another city, maybe in India. Then another one in Australia. It would not take long before G20 would set up an urgent conference call to set up an international commission and allocate money and scientists to investigate and solve the problem.

                                                                                                                                              Source: WHO website

Guess what? This type of thing never happens in relation to aging, because people dying from it are spread around the globe, so the disaster does not make the headlines. The public only notices the problem when an actor, scientist, or other significant public figure dies from an age-related disease – most often heart disease, stroke, or cancer. Do you want an example? “Santa Claus, age 90, dies from a heart attack: a critical blow to the industry of giftmaking.”

Sorry, sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you, but you get the point, right? From looking at your pictures, I could suspect that you might have some minor problems with glucose metabolism, but your extensive physical activity during gift delivery should be compensating for that, so you should be fine. For other people aged 60 and older, aging is an ever-increasing problem. Here, we come to the other important issue.

What is aging? How it can be addressed?

You see, aging is the accumulation of damage that happens due to normal bodily functions. This damage builds up over time, normal cell functions erode, and, at some point, this leads to the manifestation of age-related diseases. Normal operations, damage accumulation, disease, more damage, aggravation of disease, death. Simple.

It turns out that at the beginning of this century, British scientist Aubrey de Grey published an article in which he described several types of damage done by aging. He suggested the heretical idea of targeting these damages with medical interventions instead of trying to cure the symptoms of each age-related disease. He argued that age-related diseases are only a consequence of damage accumulation and that it would be much more effective to address the root causes.

The seed that Dr. de Grey dropped into the fertile soil of scholarship produced nice fruit in 2013, which is when a group of famous researchers of aging published The Hallmarks of Aging, a paper in which they described nine types of damage that accumulate with age and could be made into new therapeutic targets.

Comparison of a mouse treated with senolytics (at right) and a same-age mouse of the control group (at left). Source: Baker, D. J., Childs, B. G., Durik, M., Wijers, M. E., Sieben, C. J., Zhong, J., … & Khazaie, K. (2016). Naturally occurring p16Ink4a-positive cells shorten healthy lifespan. Nature, 530(7589), 184.

There were other fruits as well: animal studies have definitively proven that even only addressing one type of damage can extend the healthy period of life, postpone age-related diseases, keep animals more active, and, as a positive side effect, extend lifespan. It is worms that hold the best record so far, as tweaking some of their longevity-related genes has allowed them to live 10 times longer. The results in mice are also impressive – the researchers can extend both their healthy period of life and lifespan by 30-35%. Honestly, I find myself jealous of these mice, sometimes. I would not mind adding another 30% of youthful and healthy years to my life, even if I would have to take some pills or get some regular injections.

Can we control aging in humans?

You see, Santa, where I am going with this. I am sure that you sometimes leave gifts under the trees of people who work for the FDA. Accumulating a critical mass of knowledge about interventions against murine aging made it possible to develop the same type of interventions for people. Now, drugs and therapies addressing some of the root mechanisms of aging are in official human clinical trials. At some point, some of these trials will be successful, and drugs and therapies targeting aging itself will come to market.

If you don’t believe me, here is the short list of people whose chimneys’ stacks are the best source of additional information on the topic: George Church, Anthony Atala, Judy Campisi, Vadim Gladyshev, Maria Blasco, Michael West, Vera Gorbunova, Irina Conboy, Kelsey Moody, Brian Kennedy, Linda Partridge, Alexey Moskalev, Cynthia Kenyon, Claudio Franceschi, Alex Zhavoronkov, Nir Barzilai, and, of course, Aubrey de Grey. He wears a great beard, so you have more in common with gerontologists than you would think.

Listen to these people tell their families about their research, and you will get my point. We are on the edge of a revolution in rejuvenation biotechnology. Yet, most people don’t know about it and don’t realize what kind of potential benefit this advancement holds for them and for our aging society as a whole. Most importantly, as they know nothing, they have no say in decision making. How can people possibly speed up the pace of aging research if they don’t realize that aging is amenable to intervention? How can they foster technology transfer and local production of the cures for aging, such as senolytics, in their countries? How can they control prices and make future distribution and access equal? How can they ensure that old people in their families, who need these new treatments the most, would get them sooner?

Knowledge is power. We hear this in almost every interview, and you should be hearing it every Christmas from the researchers of aging, too. They have golden brains; the only thing they need is an appropriate amount of funding to solve the problem of aging more quickly. A strong public movement for aging research could be a game changer and could act as leverage to allocate government funding towards researching and developing treatments that target the underlying mechanisms of aging.

Ending aging and age-related diseases is possible

It is obvious that you are a kind person, Santa. You are perceptive and generous; you know what people want, and you try to give them what they want. However, if you don’t help me with my information campaign, in a couple of decades from now, you will be delivering billions of adult diapers and wheelchairs all over the globe. Wouldn’t it be nicer if you were to pile these up in your warehouse to be covered in dust while you give people therapies and drugs that prevent aging and wipe age-related diseases out of human lives? Just imagine how much happier people would be if they could remain healthy and independent, enjoy full and productive lives, achieve more, and stay with their families and friends for longer.

I was a good girl the whole year, attending scientific conferences, interviewing researchers, speaking at public events, and supporting our partners and colleagues in every way I could, even if that much socializing makes me suffer from an introvert’s hangover. I was eating healthy food and promoting evidence-based means to slow down aging among my relatives and friends. I deserve a nice Christmas gift.

All you have to do is to let everyone on the planet know that aging is amenable to intervention and that treatments addressing the root causes of aging are currently being created. For real. That would make me the happiest creature on the planet. Thank you in advance!

Sincerely, Elena

Instead of a conclusion

I am 39 years old, and I am an agnostic. There is not much evidence that Santa Claus exists. However, I do believe that miracles happen: the miracles that we create with our own hands. You who are reading these words (thanks for getting this far, by the way!) possess this special power, too. Use it! Let people around you know that science is close to bringing aging under medical control, and let’s build a world where healthy longevity for everyone is a reality.

As a devoted advocate of rejuvenation technologies since 2013, Elena Milova is providing the community with a systemic vision how aging is affecting our society. Her research interests include global and local policies on aging, demographic changes, public perception of the application of rejuvenation technologies to prevent age-related diseases and extend life, and related public concerns. Elena is a co-author of the book Aging prevention for all (in Russian, 2015) and the organizer of multiple educational events helping the general public adopt the idea of eventually bringing aging under medical control.

Mountain in the Jungle: Habitable Exomoon – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Mountain in the Jungle: Habitable Exomoon – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Ekaterinya Vladinakova


“Mountain in the Jungle: Habitable Exomoon” by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Left-click on the image for a fuller view. You can also download this painting (5000 by 2636 pixels) here.

The terraformed surface of an exomoon – another illustration by Ekaterinya Vladinakova of the lush worlds that can be created as a result of our species’ colonization of the cosmos. Let humanity venture forth to both discover and create such splendid new environments!

Ekaterinya Vladinakova is an accomplished digital painter. See her gallery here and her DeviantArt page here.

Aubrey de Grey – Clinical Trials in Five Years – Interview by Laura Sanz Olacia

Aubrey de Grey – Clinical Trials in Five Years – Interview by Laura Sanz Olacia

logo_bgLaura Sanz Olacia
Aubrey de Grey


Editor’s Note: In this interview originally published by our allies at the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF), Laura Sanz Olacia discusses with Dr. Aubrey de Grey his anticipation that treatments aimed at reversing biological aging may enter clinical trials within five years. The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to feature these insights from Dr. de Grey. 

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, December 18, 2018

 


In November, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, a graduate of the University of Cambridge, was in Spain to attend the Longevity World Forum in the city of Valencia, and he gave a press conference organized by his friend, MIT engineer José Luis Cordeiro.

Dr. Aubrey de Grey is the scientific director (CSO) and founder of the SENS Research Foundation. In Madrid and Valencia, Dr. de Grey reaffirmed for Tendencias21 one of his most striking statements of 2018: “In the future, there will be many different medicines to reverse aging. In five years, we will have many of them working in early clinical trials.”

The Longevity World Forum is a congress on longevity and genomics in Europe. It is heir to the first congress in Spain, the International Longevity and Cryopreservation Summit, which was held at the CSIC headquarters in Madrid in May 2017, and Dr. de Grey also participated in that event. In Valencia, his presentation was recieved with interest, and Dr. de Grey explained to this select audience that aging will be treated as a medical problem in the near future. Rather than treating its symptoms using the infectious disease model, the root causes of aging will themselves be treated.

It was published recently on longevityworldforum.com that a therapy to reverse aging will be a reality within five years. What will be its mechanism of action, roughly?

There will not be just one medicine; there will be a lot of different medicines, and they will all have different mechanisms of action. For example, some of them will be stem cells, where we put cells back into the body in order to replace cells that the body is not replacing on its own. Sometimes, they will be drugs that kill cells that we don’t want. Sometimes, they will be gene therapy treatments that give cells new capabilities to break down waste products, for example. Sometimes, they will be vaccines or other immune therapies to stimulate the immune system to eliminate certain substances. Many different things. In five years from now, we will probably have most of that working. I do not think that we will really have it perfect by then; probably, we will still be at the early stages of clinical trials in some of these things. Then, we will need to combine them, one by one, to make sure that they do not affect each other negatively. So, there will still be some way to go. But, yes, I think it’s quite likely that in five years from now, we will have everything, or almost everything, in clinical trials.

Then clinical trials for seven years until it’s perfected. Don’t clinical trials usually take a long time?

It depends. For example, in aging, because there is this progressive accumulation of damage, you could have therapies that slow down the rate at which damage accumulates, or you could have therapies that repair the damage that has already happened. The second type of therapy is what we think is going to be most effective and is going to be easiest to do, and you can see results from that very quickly, like in one or two years. Now, of course, you still want to know what happens later on, but the first thing is to determine whether this is working at all, and as soon as it starts to work, then you can start to make it available. Clinical trials are changing in that way. Historically, clinical trials had to be completed before anybody could get these drugs, but now we are getting new policies; there is a thing called adaptive licensing, which is becoming popular in the US and elsewhere, where the therapy becomes approved at an earlier stage, and then it’s monitored after that.

Beyond the humanitarian perspective of avoiding the pain and suffering that comes with old age, if increasing the years of healthy life in people will significantly reduce health care spending by governments, why don’t they promote research in this area?

You’re absolutely right. It’s quite strange that governments are so short-sighted. But, of course, the real problem is psychological: it’s not just governments that are short-sighted. Almost everybody in the world is short-sighted about this. The reason I believe why that’s true is people still can’t quite convince themselves that it’s going to happen. Since the beginning of civilization, we have known that there is this terrible thing called aging, and we have been desperate to do something about it, to get rid of it. And people have been coming along, ever since the beginning of civilization, saying, “Yes, here’s the solution, here’s the fountain of youth!” And they’ve always been wrong. So, when the next person comes along and says they think they know how to do it, of course, there is going to be some skepticism until they have really shown that it’s true. Of course, if you don’t think it’s going to work, then you’re not going to support the effort financially. It’s very short-sighted, but it’s understandable.

Why do you think that the pharmaceutical industry does not devote its research and development efforts to this area, which causes the death of 100,000 people every day?

Today, the pharmaceutical industry is geared toward keeping old people alive when they are sick. It makes its money that way. It’s not just the pharmaceutical industry, it’s the whole of the medical industry. And so, most people say that they are worried that maybe the pharmaceutical industry will be against these therapies when they do come along. I don’t think that’s true at all. I think they will be in favor because people will be in favor, but people are not really in favor yet. People don’t really trust preventive medicine. They think “Okay if I am not yet sick…” They don’t trust medicine in general; they know that this is experimental. So, when they are not yet sick, they think “Well, I’ll wait until I am sick,” but we can change that. Eventually, people will understand that it’s going to be much more effective to treat yourself before you get sick, and then the whole medical industry will just respond to that; they will make the medicines that people want to pay for.

So you don’t think that they will be against these therapies?

No. They will follow.

But now, they are not focusing their research into this field.

That’s right because they don’t need to. The big pharmaceutical companies don’t really do much of their own research in the first place. They just wait to see what happens, and then they buy small companies.

In the car analogy that you use, you say that a car is built to last 10 or 15 years, but with proper maintenance, it can last up to 100 years. Isn’t this expressing the idea that aging is programmed and that the life of a car is also programmed?

No, it’s not. All of you know that, a long time ago, Henry Ford invented a concept called planned obsolescence, which was a way of building a car so that you could predict pretty accurately how long it would last. But, of course, the only reason that the prediction works is because people are lazy, and they don’t mind replacing their cars, so they only do the minimum amount of maintenance that the law tells them to. The reason that some cars last 100 years is not because those cars were built differently, it’s because there are a few people out there who fall in love with their cars and they don’t want them to get old. So, it really is exactly the same. In the human body, we have aging, because there are certain types of damage that are not automatically repaired when they happen. Of course, many types of damage in the human body are repaired automatically when they happen, so we don’t need medicine for that, but some of them are not. So, if we can develop medicines that do fix those things, it’s exactly the same as with a car.

If aging is not programmed, why do different species have different lifespans?

Because they have different qualities of built-in repair machinery. When I talk about all these types of damage, they are the types of damage that accumulate in the body, and they accumulate because the body does not have ways to repair them. There are massive amounts of other types of damage that I don’t call damage, and the reason I don’t call them damage is because they don’t accumulate. The reason that they don’t accumulate is because we already have built-in machinery to repair them when they happen. So, long-lived species have more comprehensive automatic repair machinery built into them.

Do you think that first we can focus on just replacing organs and restoring their function, and eventually we can eliminate the root causes of aging? Once we reach longevity escape velocity, maybe we can focus on just eliminating it?

We will never be able to stop the body from creating this damage. The body is going to do that because it is intrinsic to metabolism, but the better we get at repairing the damage, the fewer problems we have.

What healthy habits do you follow now?

I don’t do healthy habits. I’m lucky, I don’t need to do anything; I can drink whatever I like and nothing happens. I don’t even do much exercise, and also I don’t get nearly enough sleep, which is probably shortening my life, but it is worth it because I am hastening the defeat of aging, so it is a net positive.

Which generation will live to be a thousand years old? Do you think it is born already?

I think it is very probably born already, yes. But, of course, we cannot know until we get the medicines.

Which country do you think is more aware, or the people is more aware that this is a problem that we need to fix?

I would say Russia.

Russia?

Yeah. Surprising, isn’t it? But when I go to Russia and I talk about all of this, it’s so wonderful; I don’t get any of the uninformed questions, and everyone seems to understand it.

They don’t ask you ethical questions?

That’s right, yeah. They understand that this is a medical problem, it needs to be fixed, and it can be fixed.

Kriorus [the first and only cryonics company in Eurasia] is there right?

Yeah, I know Kriorus, I know the people very well.

Alcor [the world leader in cryonics located in Arizona] is the most expensive.

It gives the best service. I mean, it makes sense to have a very expensive, high-quality service and also less expensive and lower quality service. That is normal.

Where are you currently living?

I live in the United States, but I go everywhere when I am invited to speak and so on.

Laura Sanz Olacia, has a degree in Pharmacy from the Complutense University of Madrid (2015). Between 2016 and 2017 she worked for nine months in different pharmacies in London. She also worked in a pharmacy laboratory compounding medicines and cosmetics in Madrid. More recently she worked in IQVIA as Data Management Analyst. She is very interested in research and, in particular, in the area of ​aging. During her stay in London, she participated in the organization of the Antiaging Conference London 2016, and back in Madrid, she collaborated closely with the organizing committee of the International Longevity and Cryopreservation Summit 2017. She wants to devote her career to doing research in this field.

The Imperative to Build a Transhumanist Society – Article by C. H. Antony

The Imperative to Build a Transhumanist Society – Article by C. H. Antony

logo_bgC. H. Antony


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party publishes this article by member C. H. Antony as a reminder that the aspirations of the transhumanist movement and the imperative to develop technologies to instantiate it are personal to many of us. Delays in achieving our vision come at the cost of innocent lives. In Section XXII of its Platform, “The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts at political, economic, and cultural experimentation in the form of seasteads and micronations.” To what extent can such experimentation be explicitly transhumanist in nature? To what extent can the U.S. Transhumanist Party collaborate and its members contribute their efforts to advance emerging efforts to create seasteads and micronations – such as Blue Frontiers? Do members agree with Mr. Antony’s critique of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s predominant approach, which is aimed at incrementally reforming existing political systems? Comments from various perspectives are welcome.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, December 17, 2018


        Amanda Y. Bowers

         September 25th, 1984 – December 8th, 2018

My wife had been sick for a long time. Off and on she suffered peculiar gastrointestinal problems and was given a different reason every time. Finally, in 2015, Amanda was diagnosed with celiac sprue symptomatically, though she presented no protein markers. We were told that is sometimes the case and began a gluten-free diet and some important lifestyle changes we hoped would alleviate her suffering. As time went on, we believed every other GI problem to be easily explained by some cross-contamination or hidden filler in something. We had no idea that she was suffering from colorectal cancer that was slowly reaching a critical point. In July of 2018 her left ureter collapsed, and she was sent home with the explanation that she had passed a kidney stone. I came home from a trip to find her more ill than when I had left and brought her back in and had to fight for her admission and testing. The results were inconclusive, the prevailing theory being a progression of Celiac Disease to Crohn’s Disease. She was sent home on a steroidal regiment. Before we could follow up with the GI issues, we found ourselves back in the hospital, where they refused to do imaging and her bowel ruptured right there in front of them. But again she was sent home after the pain meds she was on quieted things down. I brought her back the very next day after begging a hospitalist we hit off with to grease the wheels a little. The result was emergency surgery and an ileostomy. Three days later, after narrowly surviving the rupture and sepsis, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. A week later, as her pleural tissues filled with fluid, and they determined the cancer to be at Stage 4. The last 5 months had been a breakneck race against a clock we couldn’t see. She endured 4 rounds of chemo, a pericardial effusion that she was again sent home with to die, and finally, her lungs began filling with fluid. On Tuesday last week, she came home on hospice; she died that Saturday night.

The longer history of this is filled with misdiagnosis, marginalization, even accusations of attempting to fraudulently obtain opioids. The local hospital corporation, the Veterans’ Administration (VA), all the affiliated specialists – they all guessed and missed. This is an all-too-common story. Cancer is nearly epidemic in our country; patients get passed around and dumped here and there, and diagnoses are rarely found before their deaths. My wife, Amanda, leaves behind two young children and a distraught husband. Her life thus far was rife with struggle and abuse; we had only a short time together for that to abate before she died in the most horrific manner I’ve ever witnessed. It has to stop.

Many investors have sniffed at the idea of breakaway nations, never quite biting in. But I believe it is now critical. The system of cronyism and lobbying that retards advancement and availability of medical science will not be remedied in this or any other nation. We must do it ourselves. My wife died because of this system. Her cancer was not a mutation of her own genes, nor inherited. It was most likely environmental, and most likely caused by the contaminated water on the bases where she was stationed. There will never be enough accountability to atone for this. We are soaked in contaminants we don’t understand and can’t remove from our daily lives. It’s time to take what we do know and start over.

Jeff Bezos recently expressed interest in seastead nations. Imagine if we could have the likes of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and others backing a transhumanist colony? What opportunity for human advancement we would have! The good people at Blue Frontiers are doing their best, but they need more backing and interest. We need a more solid plan; we can’t simply say what we will do; we must show and sell. It’s not enough to simply say “solar”, “materials science”, “sapioponics”; we have to design it and sell the design, down to the last bolt. And we need to sell it to the men who currently captain our industry, make it appealing and beneficial to them as well. Our wants are simple: freedom – the freedom to live without disease or fear in any form we choose, the freedom to never know hunger or disparity, the freedom to explore each of our individual potentials. But we will not have this freedom in America. Freedom here is truly an illusion.

To borrow heavily from greater minds than mine, we of good conscience cannot abide this culture of blinders and muzzles. We can do better and we must. Should great minds like Elon Musk, Bezos, Sir Branson, Ray Kurzweil, and so on come together and help become the architects of the future, we may yet survive the filthy politics of our current condition. I fear that no matter the achievement, it will be boxed up and slow-rolled for as long as politically possible. We can speculate forever the motivations of our various political parties as to why we are so far behind when we know how to be so far ahead; I do not intend to argue these points anymore. Instead, we must ignore the Luddites and move ahead on our own in the hopes that, through our example, the rest of humanity will eventually follow.

The meat of it is that we must acquire sufficient land and sovereignty to live as we wish, invite the industry and economy that we choose to utilize, and encourage the availability of advancements that are necessary to transcend this mortality and banality. We require financiers, captains of industry who want this future as much as we do, a nation attractive to the sciences and technology that we need in our endeavor, UN representation to protect our sovereignty as we pursue our human birthright, and a well thought-out design ethic to ensure no individual is encroached up on by another. We must not only design our nation, but the very infrastructure with purposeful intent.

To put the finest point on it that I can, I submit the following as the most humble beginning of a Transhumanist Nation:

  • A carefully laid-out infrastructure and topography conducive to peaceful coexistence among the population. One idea is a city-center of commerce and industry, surrounded by suburbs for families and recreation, and outskirt establishments for research and development.
  • The layout would prevent the tendencies for crime and predation that emerge when humans are forced to live in close quarters and congestion. Tunnel systems, electric vehicles, solar and other alternative energies, new forms of currency and trade, methods of education will all be prototyped and heavily utilized as a proof of concept for the rest of the world. The stress of daily living can be mitigated further with the adoption of universal basic income, uninfringed property rights, and universal, state-of-the-art medical-care access.
  • The presence of Amazon, Tesla, Neuralink, Virgin, and Google and all their various useful subsidiaries as our primary industry and commerce. This would serve as an enticement for the funding necessary to establish a new nation, no doubt purchased from another nation that may be willing to benefit from the vast technological advancement of a Transhumanist Society. The sponsoring corporations will be free to innovate and advance so long as doing so is in line with Transhumanist ideals and sensibilities.
  • Recruitment of Researchers and Medical Professionals germane to our intent and ideals.
  • Recruitment of Scholars and Philosophers, Artists and Artisans, Educators, and anyone else who believes that we can be more than the sum of our parts.

We need to achieve a society driven by life and betterment, not this crippling stagnation that sees millions die as the pace is slowed to one comfortable for limited minds and ambitions. Again, I cite Blue Frontiers as a group actively trying for this; I suggest we back them vigorously and attempt to build a purposeful society as soon as possible.

The United States Transhumanist Party has already brilliantly laid out the groundwork for this society in its Transhumanist Bill of Rights and Party Platform. We have the foundation of a great nation in our hands, but the status quo will never allow it. Power, such as it is, is too seductive a drug. Were we to gather our resources, both financial and human, I believe we could engineer a new, greater society of free minds and exchange, one where our coming Singularity propels us to heights we can only imagine. But we must come together. My wife was only 34 years old at the time of her death – a young mother, a veteran, a brilliant mind. As a paid intern, she coauthored a USGS study regarding asteroid mining, because she did the math for the researchers – a feat that required her to learn chemistry and new physics on the fly, all while finishing her own degree work. And now she is gone – just like that.

No More.

Let us begin now. Let us come together and create an opportunity, rather than wait for it to present itself. With the deepest respect to this party and its leadership, I believe that we are wasting our precious time attempting to participate in the American political system. I propose we open discussions with Blue Frontiers, Amazon, Virgin, Tesla, and other innovative organizations and begin the process – before more lives are lost.

C. H. Antony is a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. He may be contacted here

Petition to Support Unity and Tolerance in the Transhumanist Movement

Petition to Support Unity and Tolerance in the Transhumanist Movement


The U.S. Transhumanist Party asks its members and others within and outside the transhumanist community to sign the Petition to Support Unity and Tolerance in the Transhumanist Movement on iPetitions.com. Click here to sign.

The text of the petition is also provided below for convenience.


In our highly polarized and divided political climate, online mobs often create harassment campaigns in order to go after the livelihoods of individuals who do not fit their narratives. Recently, a small group of individuals was able to influence Christine Peterson to blacklist fellow Transhumanist artist, writer, and event producer Rachel Haywire from the Foresight Institute.

Rachel had been seeking Foresight sponsorship for her new arts and culture startup in the Bay Area. Although Rachel is a Jewish anarchist, the mob labeled her as “alt-right”. Christine caved to the mob despite the obvious inaccuracy of this label.

This petition is to advocate for Transhumanist unity, equal rights to life extension regardless of political affiliation, and for Christine Peterson, on behalf of the Foresight Institute, to reconsider her decision not to work with Rachel based on mob harassment.

Bullying and unfairly discriminatory behaviors like these are unacceptable. The public and upcoming generations who will inhabit the future deserve better role models.

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The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports this petition as aligned with our Values and Platform – in particular, the following principles:

• Tolerance and inclusivity of all individuals of all races, genders, classes, religions, creeds, national origins, and other characteristics. [Article III, Section II]

• Support for morphological freedom, which also “recognizes that morphological freedom entails the duty to treat all sapients as individuals instead of categorizing them into arbitrary subgroups or demographics”. [Article III, Section VI]

• Support of all values and efforts toward cultivation of science, technology, and reason. [Article III, Section VII]

• Opposition to intolerant, rights-violating, anti-technological, and compulsion-imposing doctrines, be they religious or secular. [Article III, Sections XXV, XL, LXIII]

Our Values therefore strongly favor inclusion over exclusion, discussion and civil debate over refusal to engage, and the ability of different viewpoints to be expressed without adverse legal, economic, or social consequences to individuals merely for expressing them. We therefore strongly hold that infighting, ostracism, and mass-shaming tactics have no place within the transhumanist movement. Both the Right and the Left have succumbed to these anti-rational tactics; transhumanists must resist this downward spiral of toxicity.

Civil society, including private institutions within it, should encourage discourse on different viewpoints where, within the standards of common courtesy and respectful engagement – at which any reasonable being is capable of arriving – no individual need fear the loss of livelihood due to the expression of unconventional or unpopular beliefs. The proper response to a belief with which one disagrees is the civil expression of disagreement, with reasons for that disagreement. No person should experience severe or life-damaging consequences for the mere expression of an idea – and especially not as a result of mere allegations regarding ideas that individual may not even have actually expressed. Only hostile, rights-violating actions, not beliefs or peaceful speech, should bring adverse consequences within a civilized society.

If we are indeed to thoughtfully explore possible futures for humankind, such exploration needs to involve experimental spaces of public discourse where ideas can be substantively engaged and analyzed without anyone fearing that their future prospects will be damaged for expressing the “wrong” ideas according to some self-appointed guardians of purity. No individual or group has a monopoly over the meaning of transhumanism or over the evolution of the transhumanist movement. We need to be comfortable with a heterogeneous, dynamic movement, where we are all contributors of ideas within the space of public discourse, and where our ideas should always be evaluated objectively on their merits by any reasoning beings willing to consider them. No person should be barred from subjecting his, her, or its ideas to such an evaluation. The U.S. Transhumanist Party is and will remain a “big tent” where the culture is to focus scrutiny on ideas rather than people, and where the logical fallacy of ad hominem has no place.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party has no grievance with the Foresight Institute apart from the singular decision to deny a platform to Rachel Haywire over unsubstantiated rumors and allegations perpetrated by a small number of individuals whose conduct and views are not representative of transhumanism or the transhumanist movement at large. The Foresight Institute has done and continues to do valuable work for the in-depth exploration of technology’s impacts in the near and long-term future. It is unfortunate that, in one particular case, the Foresight Institute deviated from its typical commitment to the open exploration of ideas. Rachel Haywire is not “alt-right” and, like all individuals, should be characterized based on her own statements, rather than aspersions cast by others of differing political views. It is dangerous for transhumanists to insist on ideological litmus tests before any interaction is possible; that is the path toward an ultimately self-destroying orthodoxy. Anyone is, of course, free to disagree with any statement made by Rachel Haywire; the appropriate venues of such disagreement are many and involve simply expressing it – rather than punishing the person with whom one disagrees. We hold that the Foresight Institute can still remedy the situation simply by reversing its prior decision.

Unfortunately, transhumanists today are still all too human and therefore still subject to the same vulnerabilities to biases, logical fallacies, tribalism, and in-group thinking that plague all unaugmented humans to some degree. Neither intelligence nor explicit ideological views offer any immunity to these tendencies. Short of upgrading ourselves technologically – hopefully a possibility within our lifetimes – our only safeguard is to consciously recognize our own vulnerabilities and deliberately correct for them using reason and morality. Some transhumanists, unfortunately, have not always done this and have therefore succumbed to the same tragic tendencies that are tearing our broader society apart. Social-media mobs, trolling, and calls for ostracism all arise from these tendencies. Unfortunately, the loudest and most strident voices often dominate the conversation and perceptions – even though they are the least reasonable and, in fact, represent only a tiny minority in the broader community where these voices operate. The overwhelming majority of transhumanists does not side with the strident and divisive few. Any social-media mob or mass-shaming campaign, no matter how ostensibly motivated, is an outgrowth of humans’ worst urges and therefore inherently inimical to the noble values and aspirations of transhumanism. The U.S. Transhumanist Party calls for an end to social-media mob tactics and to infighting in the transhumanist movement more generally. For this reason and the others mentioned above, we endorse this petition and encourage all friends of rationality and opponents of toxicity, within and outside the transhumanist movement, to endorse it as well.