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Why Bringing Aging Under Medical Control Probably Will Not Create a Gerontocracy – Article by Nicola Bagalà

Why Bringing Aging Under Medical Control Probably Will Not Create a Gerontocracy – Article by Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà


Editor’s Note: In this article, Mr. Nicola Bagalà discusses Gerontocracy and how it is becoming less likely due to factors such as increasing wide availability of knowledge and equal opportunities.  This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

                      ~ Kenneth Alum, Director of  Publication, U.S. Transhumanist Party, December 05, 2017

 

As I discussed in another article, rejuvenation biotechnology would allow older adults to continue working and producing wealth for much longer than they can today, thus benefiting society in many ways.

However, some people are concerned that this might do more harm than good; imagine all those rejuvenated old farts holding onto their jobs forever, preventing the young from getting jobs themselves! Not to mention the risk of a gerontocratic world, where powerful older people get too attached to their chairs, never allowing younger people a chance!

New is not always better

If you’re more concerned that dictators could live for centuries, then you should have a look at this article; here, I’m going to deal with another scenario: old, rejuvenated people who hold on to positions of power—not necessarily as heads of countries—or their jobs for a really long time.

Quite frankly, what’s wrong with that?

Just because someone has been in charge of the same position for long, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a bad thing. If you think otherwise, you might be making the assumption I rebutted here, namely that, rejuvenated or not, older people will always tend to do things in old ways, eventually making them a worse choice than younger people. On the contrary, their long experience might make them more fit than others, especially if we’re talking about chronologically older but open-minded people who keep up to date. Younger people aren’t necessarily the default better option. Think about all those times when a great person of our time died and you found yourself thinking that the world would have been better off if he or she had lived longer.

Personally, I think what matters is that people in certain positions, whether within government or a company, are the right people for the job. If they aren’t, old or young, they should be replaced by other people who are more fit, and, generally, there are more efficient and humane ways to do so than letting them get age-related diseases—for example, voting for someone else or hiring a different person. Granted, if the person to be kicked out is really powerful, this may well be easier said than done; however, when the holder of a position of such power dies of old age, his successor is rarely a nobody with no string-pulling abilities whatsoever. It’s not really a matter of longevity; rather, it’s that power attracts power, and I doubt that creating or not creating rejuvenation will make much of a difference in this respect.

Where does power come from?

It’s easy to hypothesize that a generation of rejuvenated 200-year-olds could end up becoming a gerontocratic elite that maintains power over younger people, but how would this be accomplished, exactly?

Maybe the older generation is rich and powerful, but unless we’re talking about a totalitarian world in which the masses are intentionally kept ignorant and poor, younger generations do have fair chances to make positions for themselves. Power and wealth come from knowledge, and, these days, knowledge is more freely and widely available than ever before.

Learning new professional skills and acquiring knowledge, in general, is possible for virtually everyone, thanks to the pervasiveness of educational media and the open availability of information on the Internet, including free (or reasonably affordable) online education projects, such as Coursera and Edx. The recent European initiative to ensure that all scientific papers are open access by 2020 represents another step towards a world that shares information rather than hides it.

Truth to be told, power and wealth don’t come only from knowledge; they also come from powerful and wealthy ancestors. If we didn’t develop rejuvenation, certainly all the Scrooge McDucks of the world would die sooner than they would otherwise, but their power and wealth would go to their heirs, and so on over the generations, which wouldn’t do much to prevent the creation of an elite. So, no, old age is not an easy way out of the problem of powerful elites ruling the world, and its absence wouldn’t make the problem any worse, really. The only possible way out is giving everyone equal access to knowledge and equal opportunities.

Inevitably, some will end up being more successful and thus more powerful than others anyway; however, if this allows them to become an oppressive force on the rest of us, I think this is a problem with our socio-economic system, not with the existence of lifesaving medical technology. I don’t know about you, but I’m not very keen on waiting until the “perfect” society or “perfect” economic system are built before we decide to cure the diseases of old age.

The fortune teller’s error

We shouldn’t make the mistake of predicting a negative outcome without considering the actual odds of it happening. I think fears of a society where rejuvenated elderly make younger people’s lives more difficult are misplaced in that they assume present-day scenarios will exist in the far future.

Take the concern about jobs, for example, rejuvenated old people would stick to their jobs forever and make it harder for young people to enter the workforce. It sounds bad, but there are a few assumptions behind it that we should question.

First, would rejuvenated old people actually stick to their jobs forever? Why? You hardly hear of a professional who was in the exact same job for forty years these days. More broadly, career change is a thing already. After all, after 40 years in the same line of work, it’s conceivable you might want to try something else, thus making room for others to take your place.

Will rejuvenated old people be allowed to stick to their jobs forever? Not everyone is a manager in charge of decisions, and your boss may well decide to lay you off, rejuvenated or not, and hire someone else.

Even if old rejuvenated people did stick to the same jobs forever, would they never take a break? Even if you’re in the prime of health, after a few decades, you may well wish to “retire” for a few years before going back to work, and your employer is probably not going to wait for you that long.

Will there be so many chronologically younger people in need of jobs in the future? The world population growth rate has been hopelessly corkscrew-diving for over 50 years now, and it is projected to keep going down as larger portions of the world transition from a developing to a developed economy. (In case you’re wondering, the population growth rate is going down not because more people die, but on the contrary, because fewer are born.)

Will people’s living depend on having a job in the future? We can’t expect indefinite life extension to happen very soon; before we can have 200-year-old people in the workforce, it’ll be at least a century. Is the economy going to be the same as today’s by then? Automation already seems on its way to cause the end of work as we know it.

I’d say it’s rather silly to oppose rejuvenation today for the reason that, in a century or two, it might cause an unemployment problem due to too many people being alive. It’s simply too long a time to make any even remotely accurate predictions on what the job market will be like or if there even will be any. In all honesty, I think it makes more sense to worry about a concrete problem that we already have today—the ill health of old age—than worry about a hypothetical one that might or might not happen in a hundred years’ time—massive unemployment. As time goes by, we’ll have a better picture of potential future problems lying ahead, and we’ll be in a better position than we are in today to do something about them.

Conclusion

I’ve said this many times over: the bottom line is always the same. Yes, life extension will most likely bring challenges along with benefits, but none of these challenges are certain, insurmountable, or not more than compensated for by the expected benefits. Let’s not deny ourselves and our descendants the chance for healthier, longer lives.

About Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà has been an enthusiastic supporter and advocate of rejuvenation science since 2011. Although his preferred approach to treating age related diseases is Aubrey de Grey’s suggested SENS platform, he is very interested in any other potential approach as well. In 2015, he launched the blog Rejuvenaction to advocate for rejuvenation and to answer common concerns that generally come with the prospect of vastly extended healthy lifespans. Originally a mathematician graduated from Helsinki University, his scientific interests range from cosmology to AI, from drawing and writing to music, and he always complains he doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to all of them which is one of the reasons he’s into life extension. He’s also a computer programmer and web developer. All the years spent learning about the science of rejuvenation have sparked his interest in biology, in which he’s planning to get a university degree.

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussion on Prosthetics, Neuroscience, and the Future of Human Potential

U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussion on Prosthetics, Neuroscience, and the Future of Human Potential

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Gennady Stolyarov II

Bobby Ridge

Scott Jurgens


U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II speaks with Secretary-Treasurer Bobby Ridge and Director of Applied Innovation Scott Jurgens regarding their areas of interest in research and study. Topics addressed include emerging advances in prosthetics, orthotics, 3D printing, 3D scanning, the science behind neuroplasticity, brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), artificial intelligence, and the societal implications of these technologies – including the extent to which they, combined with a universal basic income, may facilitate increased self-actualization by more people.

Conversations such as this one are prime examples of why the U.S. Transhumanist Party and the transhumanist movement are positioned to be the vanguard of the next era of our civilization, ready to rebuild it and take it to new heights, given sufficient recognition from and collaboration with the general public.

References

– Hugh Herr – “The new bionics that let us run, climb, and dance” – TED – March 2014
LimbForge – Enable Community Foundation
Autodesk Fusion 360
Thingiverse
– “Metal Gear Solid 5 Inspires an Amazing Prosthetic Arm” – Kendall Ashley – Nerdist – May 23, 2016

Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside. Fill out our Membership Application Form here.

Become a Foreign Ambassador for the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Apply here.

Panel – Artificial Intelligence & Robots: Economy of the Future or End of Free Markets? – Michael Shermer, Edward Hudgins, Zoltan Istvan, Gennady Stolyarov II, Eric Shuss

Panel – Artificial Intelligence & Robots: Economy of the Future or End of Free Markets? – Michael Shermer, Edward Hudgins, Zoltan Istvan, Gennady Stolyarov II, Eric Shuss

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Gennady Stolyarov II


Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, participated in the panel discussion at FreedomFest in Las Vegas on July 21, 2017, entitled “AI & Robots: Economy of the Future or End of Free Markets?” The panelists presented a set of realistic, balanced analyses on the impact of artificial intelligence and automation.

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For this event there was an outstanding speaker lineup, with moderator Michael Shermer, followed by Edward Hudgins, Peter Voss, Zoltan Istvan, Gennady Stolyarov II, and Eric Shuss.

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The general focus of Mr. Stolyarov’s remarks was to dispel AI-oriented doomsaying and convey the likely survival of the capitalist economy for at least the forthcoming several decades – since narrow AI cannot automate away jobs requiring creative human judgment.

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The video was recorded by filmmaker Ford Fischer and is reproduced with his permission.

Visit Ford Fischer’s News2Share channel here.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free by filling out our membership application form here.

Visit the U.S. Transhumanist Party Facebook page here.

Visit the U.S. Transhumanist Party Twitter page here.

Gennady Stolyarov II Discusses Artificial Intelligence with Ford Fischer

Gennady Stolyarov II Discusses Artificial Intelligence with Ford Fischer

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Gennady Stolyarov II


U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II discusses why artificial intelligence is not a threat to humanity’s existence or to jobs in many professions in the proximate several decades.

This discussion was recorded as part of a larger interview with filmmaker Ford Fischer on July 21, 2017. It was intended to preview and elaborate upon some of Mr. Stolyarov’s remarks at the discussion panel later that same day, entitled “AI & Robots: Economy of the Future or End of Free Markets?”

The video is reproduced on Mr. Stolyarov’s YouTube channel with permission from Ford Fischer.

Visit Ford Fischer’s News2Share channel here.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free by filling out our membership application form here.

Visit the U.S. Transhumanist Party Facebook page here.

Visit the U.S. Transhumanist Party Twitter page here.

AI and the Future of Free Markets: A Nuanced View – Preview of FreedomFest 2017 Panel Comments by Gennady Stolyarov II

AI and the Future of Free Markets: A Nuanced View – Preview of FreedomFest 2017 Panel Comments by Gennady Stolyarov II

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Gennady Stolyarov II


Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party, offers a preview of his forthcoming remarks at the July 21, 2017, FreedomFest panel in Las Vegas, entitled “Artificial Intelligence & Robots: Economy of the Future or End of Free Markets?”

Find more information regarding the FreedomFest panel here.

Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free by filling out our concise application form.