Transdisciplinary Agora for Future Discussions
Transdisciplinary Agora for Future Discussions
In late January 2021 I joined a protest against political persecution at the Russian Consulate in New York City and at Times Square.
The reason I wrote what I wrote on my sign is that Vladimir Putin’s regime is very dangerous not only for the people of Russia (spoiler alert: it is dangerous for everyone who is within reach of the current Russian state). It’s dangerous for humanity. This regime is a source of a whole bouquet of existential risks.
Humanity needs a free, prosperous, and responsible Russia! Humanity needs a Russia which will be able to help solve world problems, not to add to them. That’s why Putin and his kleptocratic administration has to leave right now!
Pavel Ilin is the Secretary of the United States Transhumanist Party.
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages its members to support the petition created by our allies at Biogerontology Global, which aims to declare aging the largest global risk. The U.S. Transhumanist Party holds significant life extension as its first Core Ideal, and biological aging is the greatest barrier to significant life extension. Overcoming biological aging through the progress of science and technology is therefore the greatest moral imperative of our time.
~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, August 21, 2020
Sign this petition on Change.org here.
TL;DR: You have a terminal disease and so does everyone you love. Human aging kills more people (100,000 per day), causes more suffering, and harms society more than anything else – by a large margin. Scientific discoveries and technological advancements are making it clearer by the day that given enough funding and effort, human aging can be cured. In other words, we should cure aging and we can cure aging. For that to happen, however, a large cultural shift must take place in favor and support of the idea – which currently faces significant opposition and neglect. The Global Risks Report is an annual publication released by the World Economic Forum that ranks global risks. It is read by a large portion of world leaders and citizens alike. If human aging were to top this list of risks or, at the very least, make the cut, it would help the world see aging as an urgent threat and potentially save the life of whomever is reading this. Sign this petition if you want to help declare aging the top global risk.
Each year, the World Economic Forum, with support from Marsh and McLennan Companies, releases a Global Risks Report. This report, as the name suggests, includes detailed analyses and rankings of the greatest threats facing the world each year. Each major threat is referred to as a risk. The two-part centerpiece of this report consists of a ranking of the top 5 risks in terms of likelihood, and another ranking of the top 5 risks in terms of impact. There are also “trends”. Per the World Economic Forum, a “trend” is defined as a long-term pattern that is currently evolving and that could contribute to amplifying global risks and/or altering the relationship between them. Simply put, trends are not seen as the major global threats, but instead as factors that may influence them. In past years “population ageing” has sometimes been recognized as a trend, but nothing more.
The purpose of this petition is to get the World Economic Forum to not only recognize human aging as a global risk but as the global risk. Human aging kills approximately 100,000 people per day. In developed countries, 90% of all deaths are at the hands of age-related disease. How could it be that the largest cause of human death (by an immense margin) is not seen as the most pressing issue in the world? Not to mention, the amount of human suffering caused by the diseases of old age is arguably unparalleled. Why is this mass suffering and death justified rather than fought?
In 2020, the top 5 global risks in terms of likelihood were all environmental. Solving aging would significantly lessen these risks. Without human aging, people would not be planning to die. They would have a stake in the long-term future of the environment. This radical sociological shift could be the push humanity needs to start consistently making environmentally beneficial decisions. Overpopulation should not be a concern, as we have more than enough land and resources to accommodate a much larger population on planet Earth. More efficient methods of resource allocation are the remedy for current problems that are often falsely attributed to a growing global population. Additionally, emerging agricultural technologies such as hydroponics, which can boost crop yields by up to 11 times, and vertical farming, which can further maximize that factor, will continue to make it even easier to feed more people.
Without human aging, we would no longer have such a substantial portion of society that is sick and unable to work or enjoy the activities that they so loved in their youth. This could work wonders for global productivity. Not to mention, people who are not gripped by old age and stay in the workforce much longer than they do now would become more experienced than the workers of today, boosting global productivity even further.
People would be happier in a world without death by aging. They would have much more time with their loved ones. They would be able to have and achieve long-term goals without the inevitability of death by aging to get in the way. They would have the time to live fuller lives. Happier societies commit less crime, so that is another societal ill that curing aging could help dismantle.
Many of humanity’s greatest threats are directly or indirectly the result of human aging. If we were to solve aging, many of the global risks mentioned in past Global Risks Reports would no longer be major issues.
We tend to think of death by aging as an inevitability of life. However, scientists in the field of biogerontology (the study of biological aging), billionaire businesspeople and philanthropists, technologists, and many other professionals/activists are working to make death by aging optional. Science and technology have already drastically improved lifespan and health in recent years by a considerable margin; however, it can do more. The molecular mechanisms by which we age (The Hallmarks of Aging) have been identified by scientists. Interventions such as senolytic drugs have already been proven to counteract some of these mechanisms. Cellular pathways have been genetically modified to extend the lifespans of model organisms to the equivalent of 500 human years. Google has launched and given over a billion dollars to its subsidiary, Calico, which researches aging. Many other companies and nonprofits, including the SENS Research Foundation and Methuselah Foundation, are tackling aging or its subparts. Growing support and advancement makes it clear that humanity will cure aging eventually, but so many people die each day of aging that eventually is not good enough. We must cure aging as soon as possible to save ourselves and those we love.
This petition recognizes that a cultural shift at every level of society is necessary for leaders and organizations in this space to garner enough support to cure human aging within our lifetimes. If this petition were to succeed, that cultural shift would come easier. Between the large portions of world leaders and citizens that read and respect the Global Risks Report, many more people would recognize aging as a problem they can solve and should solve if the report were to name aging as a global risk. This would lead to increased funding to cure aging, more talented scientists and technologists joining the space, and a greater opportunity to cure aging within our lifetimes!
Aging is objectively the largest global risk to humanity in terms of likelihood and impact. We ask that the World Economic Forum recognize this and act accordingly.
Sign this petition to help forge a better existence for yourself, your loved ones, and all of humanity.
Learn more at @biogerontology on Instagram.
Osinakachi Akuma Kalu
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this announcement by Osinakachi Akuma Kalu of the Transdisciplinary Agora for Future Discussions (TAFFDs), originally published on their site. The announcement brings attention to a new conference from TAFFDs, focusing on technological advancements for prosperity, which the U.S. Transhumanist Party supports as part of our policy goals.
~ Brent Reitze, Director of Publication, United States Transhumanist Party, September 9, 2019
For the first time, futurists, transhumanists, longevity scientists, leadership experts and vertical farming agriculturists will be gathering in Africa. So, all is set for staging the International Conference on Technoscientific Awareness in Solving 21st Century Problems, a groundbreaking event organized by the Transdisciplinary Agora for Future Discussions (TAFFDs) in collaboration with the University of Rwanda. Themed “The 21st Century Information Tech/Digitization and Sustainable Governance in Developing Countries”, the program (slated to run from 7th – 11th of October 2019) shall provide spaces for exploration of the accelerating pace of technology adoption in Africa and other developing countries, the links between digitization and governance, and how technological effects could be channeled into developmental gains for these societies. There shall also be a futurist and transhumanist edge to the gathering, as ideas and innovations with orientations in transhumanism and life extension shall be discussed and related to Africa’s growth potentials. Leadership experts will bring insights especially in political and managerial terms on how these processes could best be guided into fruition.
As an assembly meant to attract fine and revolutionary global thinkers (futurism, transhumanism, life extensionism, vertical farming, IoT, digital leadership), the conference shall be deepened by a credible line-up of global delegates representing the Association of Professional Futurists, the Transhumanist Party, Singularity University, and several other leading groups in the sector of futurist tech, strategy, and societal development. With a platform presented to link inventors/inventions featured at the Conference’s tech (and particularly infotech and biotech) exhibition with key investors, further pragmatic opportunities are envisaged to be opened up in boosting start-up tech innovations to large industrial scales in Africa for diverse socio-economic benefits. The vision, essentially, is that of the Fourth Industrial Revolution being engineered into manifestation in Africa. Rwanda, with its recent achievements and growing acclaim as Africa’s emerging tech capital, was so strategically chosen as the symbolic venue where this dawn of a new tech-driven age in Africa should occur.
Endorsements for the Conference have been received from the Scientific Innovation Research Group (SIRG), U.S. Transhumanist Party, Futurist New Deal Podcast, International Longevity Alliance, Open Source Mode, and MyTalent Africa, among others. More endorsements would yet be appreciated, as well as a response to our call for sponsorship and partnership. A host of benefits are assured for stakeholders and attendees of the Conference, not least the fact that much more in terms of reputational capital stands to be garnered by individuals and institutions who get to participate in this very significant, historic, and transformative project.
Visa is on arrival and easily accessible.
For more info, contact:
Conference site: https://conference2019.taffds.org/
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this article by Keith Comito of the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF), originally published on the LEAF site on May 20th, 2019. The article brings attention to a new project from XPRIZE, focusing on Human Longevity, which the U.S. Transhumanist Party supports as part of our policy goals.
~ Brent Reitze, Director of Publication, United States Transhumanist Party, August 4, 2019
On April 29th and 30th, the XPRIZE Foundation hosted an event at its headquarters in Culver City, California that could have a profound effect on the evolving landscape of biorejuvenation research: the Future of Longevity Impact Roadmap Lab.
For those unfamiliar, the XPRIZE Foundation is famous for designing multi-million-dollar, global competitions to incentivize the development of technological breakthroughs, perhaps the most well-known being its first: the Ansari XPRIZE, which offered a $10,000,000 award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.
With this event, the purpose of which was to gather subject matter experts to brainstorm a potential longevity-research prize, XPRIZE has turned its focus towards solving the critical problem of age-related diseases on society and extending healthy human lifespan for all. As I was fortunate enough to directly participate in this exciting meeting, I’d like to share some of my experiences with you all.
The Room Where It Happens
The first thing I noticed upon entering the XPRIZE headquarters was how impressive it is, both in terms of size and in its almost museum-like quality of showcasing innovations in which the foundation has had a hand over the past few decades — statues, trophies, a large rocketship model hanging from the ceiling. Simply put, it is a facility designed to make you think “big things happen here”, and the significance of the fact that attendees such as myself were gathered here to “discover innovative and accessible ways to radically extend everyone’s healthy lifespan” was not lost on me. The times are changing, and changing fast — the tide is turning.
The second thing I noticed was just how diverse the group of attendees was, a veritable who’s who of the broader pro-longevity movement: researchers such as Drs. Steve Horvath and Greg Fahy, investors such as Sergey Young (board member of XPRIZE and creator of the $100m Longevity Vision Fund), long-time advocates such as myself, Aubrey de Grey, and Jim Strole, global policy makers, journalists, cryonicists such as Max More, transhumanists such as Zoltan Istvan and Natasha Vita-More, and of course XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis.
I confess that I was not initially sure how this eclectic group would gel together in the brainstorming sessions to follow, but what was clear to me was that this could be the beginning of a watershed moment for overcoming the diseases of aging. This is the kind of room where it happens.
The Task at Hand
After the stage-setting opening talk by noted futurist Ray Kurzweil, the proceedings quickly shifted to the stated purpose of the gathering: brainstorming the most impactful and audacious ideas to overcome the negative aspects of aging and age-related disease on society.
To facilitate this, the attendees, numbering approximately 70, were divided into tables of four or five — each person tasked with generating a preliminary idea for a longevity-focused XPRIZE and further charged with convincing the rest of their table that their proposed idea should be the one put forth by their table to the rest of the group for consideration. My table happened to include Aubrey de Grey, and thus I knew that a lively discussion was all but assured.
Before beginning to debate the design of an ideal contest, however, it is necessary to understand what qualities and parameters typically make for an effective XPRIZE, and, as such, we were presented with some examples of these — having clearly verifiable goals, the ability to catalyze new markets by targeting specific industry failures, projecting a telegenic vision of hope that the public can rally behind, etc.
The entire group of attendees was also engaged to discuss how the realities of healthy life extension might relate to these various parameters, and, in this exercise, I am glad to note how instrumental the analytical work done by our outreach and writing departments at LEAF was in providing actionable information to the group. One example: when the XPRIZE team asked how the concept of gender inclusivity might relate to an ideal longevity-focused prize, the work of our team allowed me to quickly relay relevant statistics such as how a high percentage of family healthcare decisions are made by women, polling data on the desirability of life extension for both men and women, and how disparities in perception of increased longevity alter depending on how the topic is framed.
When it came time to begin brainstorming, many interesting ideas were discussed at our particular table, including the development of composite biomarkers to validate therapies targeting the aging process, and ways in which blockchain technologies could be used to accelerate drug discovery.
The idea I personally put forth was a conceptually simple one: meaningful physiological remediation of dementia (not just proxy diagnostics or biomarkers) by 2030. I thought this was well suited to the the XPRIZE qualities of “bold, but feasible” and “define the problem, not the solution”, and it has several other factors in its favor, namely that dementia is by far the most damaging aspect of aging in terms of protracted emotional suffering and large-scale socioeconomic effects, it is the one aspect of aging that everyone already unequivocally believes is horrific and needs solving, the existing system has failed to solve it for decades, many promising therapy angles have no traditional profit motive and thus will not come to market without additional incentive, success would be clear to validate, and curing it would create an amazing and hopeful narrative with which to enlist the entire world in overcoming all of the diseases of aging.
Aubrey apparently agreed, and with his vote of confidence, this idea became one of the prize concepts pitched to the entire group for consideration. Ideas arising from the other tables’ groups covered a wide range of topics as well, included growing fully functional organs from stem cells, demonstrating the arrest of epigenetic markers of aging, successful brain transplantation, creation of an ageless mouse, and restoration of homeostatic and damage repair mechanisms in the elderly. After the completion of these presentations, it was time for lunch, with the expectation that upon their return, each attendee would join the table of whichever idea they believed in the most and help to refine it.
It was at this time that I became most uncertain of the future of my own pitched concept, as just prior to the break, one of the organizers mentioned that XPRIZE was already planning an Alzheimer’s-focused contest, and several attendees mentioned during lunch that they had planned to join our table but now supposed that it was better to support a different project instead. Sure enough, when lunch was completed, my table had become empty, but as the contest idea that I was advocating was actually quite different and larger in scope than the mentioned existing initiative, I chose to continue refining it during the ensuing session.
The final activity for the first day was for the team leaders of the newly reorganized tables to present their refined concepts on a poster shown to the entire group of attendees, who would then place stickers to vote for the concepts that they felt most worthy of actually becoming an XPRIZE. There were 18 concepts in total, all interesting, but one that I felt was noteworthy for its difference from the rest was a $5 million “Longevity Peace Prize” for whoever could convince a national government to declare aging to be a disease. This bears similarity to one of the concepts I sent to XPRIZE ahead of the event — to award $10 million to whoever could convince a national government to allocate $10 billion to aging research (a 1000x impact return and in line with other initiatives, such as the Human Genome Project and the Brain Initiative) — and one that I believe is important to have in the running in order to remind the attendees that some of the most impactful initiatives that we could choose may actually not be directly related to research.
When it came time for the actual voting, I confess that my expectations were not high for my own pitched concept, given what had transpired earlier. Thus, I was honestly shocked when it emerged as one of the top three choices along with the arresting of epigenetic markers concept mentioned above and one from Aubrey focusing on limited, but specifically measured, human rejuvenation by 2032.
As some of you reading this may know, the terrors of dementia have had a profound impact on my own family – a story that is now becoming all too common – and it would be a lie to state that seeing the support for eradicating this affliction at an event such as this did not challenge my emotional composure.
Audacity and the Time for Impact
On the second and final day of the event, I happened to meet Aubrey on the road to the venue, as it turned out that both of us preferred to walk from our hotels a few miles away. It was a nice day, and this was a welcome pleasure before returning to meet the rest of the attendees.
Once gathered again at the XPRIZE headquarters, the focus of the group became much narrower than it was on the previous day, as we were tasked to assess the top five highly voted projects from earlier on very specific criteria: How audacious is the concept? How impactful will its success and/or attempts at success be towards achieving the ultimate goal? In what timeframe can we reasonably expect a proof-of-concept? In what timeframe can we reasonably expect wide-scale adoption?
In terms of an ideal XPRIZE contest, the sought-after configuration was maximal impact and audacity, a proof-of-concept expected date achievable within 10 or 15 years, and with the shortest possible time period between proof-of-concept and widespread adoption.
The assigning of these metrics for each proposal involved a discussion among the entire group on each point, and it is interesting to note that, despite the wide diversity of backgrounds represented in the room, there was generally strong consensus on how each concept was ranked in all cases.
When all was said and done, two concepts stood firmly in the upper-right quadrant of the charts that we had collectively made, which denoted “XPRIZE Territory”. These were the aforementioned proposals put forth by Aubrey and myself: limited but specifically measured human rejuvenation by 2032 and meaningful physiological remediation of dementia by 2030.
It was at this time that my emotional composure circuits may have suffered a minor systems failure, but I won’t tell anyone if you won’t.
Now the Turning of the Tide
Of course, with the current exercise completed and the attendees now back to their respective homes and workplaces, it remains to be seen just how the outcome will inform the immediate plans of the XPRIZE Foundation.
Regardless of how quickly a longevity-focused XPRIZE contest is launched, my personal assessment is that this event was an extremely positive one — another clear marker that for whatever battles lie ahead of us to overcome the diseases of aging, some critical battles have already been won. Public perception in terms of the feasibility and desirability of positively affecting the aging processes is profoundly changing, and fast. Influential stakeholders and organizations such as XPRIZE are seeing that the time is now to drive forward a future in which diseases such as Alzheimer’s are just a memory. That is partly because of you, and especially those of you who have been fighting for many years for this cause — take a moment to feel that. Ten years ago, this would not have happened.
Finally, I would like to say that it was a truly humbling and exciting experience to participate in this event, working with a dynamic group of experts to come up with the most impactful and audacious ideas for overcoming the negative aspects of aging on society. Thank you to all who attended and organized; I look forward to meeting again.
Keith Comito is President of LEAF / Lifespan.io and a long-time advocate of longevity research. He is also a computer programmer, mathematician, musician, lover of life, and perhaps a man with too many hobbies. He earned a B.S. in Mathematics, B.S. in Computer science, and M.S. in Applied Mathematics at Hofstra University, where his work included analysis of the LMNA protein.
To find out more and register, visit the RAAD Fest website at https://www.raadfest.com/.
Watch the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s prior appearances at RAAD Fests in 2017 and 2018 below.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party – Pursuing a Peaceful Political Revolution for Longevity – August 11, 2017
The U.S. Transhumanist Party: Four Years of Advocating for the Future – Gennady Stolyarov II at RAAD Fest 2018 – September 21, 2018
Gennady Stolyarov II Interviews Ray Kurzweil at RAAD Fest 2018 – September 21, 2018
U.S. Transhumanist Party Meeting at RAAD Fest 2018 – September 22, 2018
Andrés Grases Interviews Gennady Stolyarov II on Transhumanism and the Transition to the Next Technological Era – September 23, 2018
Register for RAAD Fest 2019 here.
Nicola Bagalà and Michael Nuschke
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this article by Nicola Bagalà and Michael Nuschke of the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF), originally published on the LEAF site on May 15th, 2019. The article brings attention to and responds to concerns related to the impacts of increased longevity on pension systems, a possible result of our mission of ending age-related diseases, which the U.S. Transhumanist Party supports as part of our policy goals.
~ Brent Reitze, Director of Publication, United States Transhumanist Party, June 15th, 2019
If you work in social security, it’s possible that your nightmares are full of undying elderly people who keep knocking on your door for pensions that you have no way of paying out. Tossing and turning in your bed, you beg for mercy, explaining that there’s just too many old people who need pensions and not enough young people who could cover for it with their contributions; the money’s just not there to sustain a social security system that, when it was conceived in the mid-1930s, didn’t expect that many people would ever make it into their 80s and 90s. Your oneiric persecutors won’t listen: they gave the country the best years of their lives, and now it’s time for the country to pay them their due.
When you wake up, you’re relieved to realize that there can’t be any such thing as people who have ever-worsening degenerative diseases yet never die from them, but that doesn’t make your problem all that better; you still have quite a few old people, living longer than the pension system had anticipated, to pay pensions to, and the bad news is that in as little as about 30 years, the number of 65+ people worldwide will skyrocket to around 2.1 billion, growing faster than all younger groups put together . Where in the world is your institution going to find the budget?
That’s why, whether you work in social security or not, the words “life extension” might make you feel like you were listening to an orchestra playing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with forks on a blackboard; we’re likely to have a pension crisis on our hands as it is because of the growth in life expectancy, and some people have the effrontery to suggest that we should make life even longer?!
Why, yes, some people do have the effrontery, and believe it or not, it may actually be a good idea—possibly, and only apparently counterintuitively, the idea that will prevent the pension crisis from happening in the first place.
Suppose for a moment that human aging never existed and that, barring accidents and communicable diseases, people went on living for centuries—their health, independence, and most importantly, ability to work, remaining pretty much constant over time; in order to tell apart a 150-year-old from a 25-year-old, you’d have to look at their papers.
In a scenario like this, it’s difficult to imagine why any government would go through the trouble of setting up a pension system that works the way the current one does. It would make sense to have measures in place to support people who couldn’t work after being paralyzed by injuries, but paying out money to perfectly able-bodied people to do nothing for the rest of their lives just because they’re over 65 would make no sense at all. It’s surely possible that, after 40 years of work, you’d rather be on vacation forever, but it’s somewhat unrealistic to expect that your country would be prepared to pay you a pension for centuries to come, in exchange for a meager 40 years of contributions, simply because you’re tired of working.
In other words, if people past a certain age have a right to retire until death and receive a pension, it’s essentially because, past that certain age, their health tends to worsen to the point that they’re unfit for work, and it can be expected to worsen in the following years; it’s not because the government or insurance companies feel like sending people on indefinite paid vacations. Depressing, perhaps, but true.
Of course, you could try to put a positive spin on this and look at retirement as a time of financial independence, when, either because you receive a pension or you have enough savings, you can enjoy life without having to go to work every day. This is a much better way to look at it, but we must account for the fact that most people who retire do so either because they hit retirement age or because other circumstances, such as ill health, forced them to retire early —not because they managed to save up enough to retire in their 40s. The health of average retirees doesn’t interfere just with their ability to work but also to enjoy life in general. Most people over the age of 65 suffer two or more chronic illnesses [2,3,4]; the risk of developing diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, and so on skyrockets with age , and your financial independence (not to mention your life in general) would be a lot more enjoyable if you didn’t have to put up with any of these.
The takeaway here is that retirement exists out of necessity more than desire, and even if you try to look at it from a different angle, you’ve still got the problem of the burden represented by age-related diseases. Given these facts, it’s important to understand how retirement works before we can establish if and why the feared pension crisis expected in a few decades from now is actually going to happen and whether life extension will make the problem better or worse.
A pension is a regular payment typically paid monthly to retirees. It can be paid to individuals by governments or employers, or it can come from personal savings, often in the form of special individual retirement accounts that provide some tax incentive to save. This three-pillar system, devised around a hundred years ago, exists in several countries around the world. The purpose is to provide an income after people stop working, i.e. during retirement until death.
Often, pensions can be received only after a certain age or number of years of work and would be deferred if you retire before the minimum is reached; if you decide to retire at age 30, well before you hit retirement age or have worked anywhere near the minimum number of years that you were supposed to, you’re going to wait for a while before you see a dime from your pension.
The funding of a pension depends on the type of pension. In the case of government pensions, like those paid by Social Security in the U.S., the funding is a combination of individual contributions (paycheck deductions) and government funding. Federal and state regulations are in place to ultimately ensure that the future pension income “belongs” to each individual contributor, but of course, contributions that you pay out today aren’t simply set aside for thirty years until you can collect them; they’re used to pay the pensions of present-day retirees; similarly, the money owed to pay your pension will come from the contributions of the workforce at the time of your retirement.
Why a crisis might be on its way
This pension system works well under the assumptions made back when it was devised, but, a hundred years later, things aren’t quite the same anymore.
For example, in the 1930—when the US Social Security system was conceived—the average life expectancy at birth was about 58 for men and 62 for women, whereas the retirement age was 65. This doesn’t mean that everyone checked out before they could cash in, because life expectancy at birth was pulled down by a higher infant mortality; in reality, people who reached adulthood had respectable chances to make it to retirement age and go on to collect their pensions for up to about 13 years; that is, just about before they hit age 80. However, in the year 2015, life expectancy at birth in the US was 79.2, which is around the maximum age that people were expected to reach at the dawn of the pension system; in 2014, the remaining life expectancy at age 79 of people in the US was 8.77 years for men and 10.24 for women. Therefore, in a worst-case scenario, people today can expect to live at least well above the maximum expected lifespan of the 1930s, and, in a best-case scenario, ten additional years. (From the point of view of the pension payer, best- and worst-case scenarios are probably the other way around.) The global average life expectancy in 2015 was 71.4, and even though the remaining life expectancy at that age varies depending on the country, it’s not difficult to see why the funding costs of pensions are mushrooming—simply put, people are living for longer; therefore, they need to be paid pensions for longer—longer than the pension system was designed to handle.
This spells trouble already, but there’s more bad news. As noted above, the global number of people over age 60 is projected to increase significantly in a few decades’ time, more than doubling between 2017 and 2050 (from 1.0 to 2.1 billion), whereas the 10-24 age cohort is expected to increase by a meager 200 million (from 1.8 to 2.0 billion) and the 25-59 cohort by 0.9 billion (from 3.4 to 4.3 billion) . In particular, the number of people aged 85 and above is projected to grow more than threefold, from 137 million to 425 million, over the same span of time. Speaking of pensions alone, this is like having a piggy bank that a fast-growing number of people keeps drawing from and a slow-growing number of people puts money into. (As a side note, the number of children aged 0-9 is projected to stay the same between 2030 and 2050—that is, in twenty years’ time, we won’t have any more future contributors than we used to, while the people needing those contributions will have grown by 0.7 billion over the same 20 years.)
These two facts—the increase of life expectancy and the decrease of fertility rates—constitute what is known as population aging, which is pretty much the core of the problem; external factors that make matters worse, as some people maintain, are poor decision-making and unrealistic promises by politicians and, in general, the people managing pension systems. These might be the result of a lack of understanding of the problem or simply not genuinely caring about the consequences, but, in any case, making clear decisions on the actions to be taken is not an easy task, as tinkering with policies and rates relies on hard-to-predict information, such as the average lifespan of pensioners of a specific pension plan.
In addition, unrealistic investment expectations add to this growing pension crisis. The higher the assumed rate of future investment returns, the less funding is needed to have a “fully funded” pension plan. Currently, the high assumed rates reduce the apparent problem. For instance, the average rate of return on US state pension plans is assumed to be 7.5% per year; meanwhile, investment experts would say a return expectation of 6.5% is much more realistic, and if this assumption is correct, then even more pensions are in danger of running out, and others, previously thought to be only somewhat underfunded, become drastically underfunded. The result is that there is much talk of pension reforms, but the political unpopularity of touching retirement pensions or reducing the unrealistic promises causes continued procrastination.
The situation is depressing, in the U.S. and in several other countries. While U.S. Social Security is running low—with the average retiree having only 65.7% of their Social Security benefits remaining after out-of-pocket spending on medical premiums, for example—and expected to run out of money in 2034, Citigroup estimates that twenty OECD countries have unfunded or underfunded government pension liabilities for a mind-boggling total of $78 trillion; China, for example, is expected to run out of pension money shortly after the US, in 2035. In a September 2018 report, the National Institute on Retirement Security warned that the median retirement account balance among working-age Americans is zero and that nearly 60% of working-age Americans do not own any retirement account assets or pension plans. In the press release of the same report, the report’s author, Diane Oakley, stated that retirement is in peril for most working-class Americans, and according to an analysis by Mercer, in a World Economic Forum report, there’s plenty of reasons to believe her, as the US pension funding gap is currently growing at a breakneck rate of $3 trillion a year, reaching $137 trillion in 2050.
The icing on the cake: geriatrics
Pensions constitute quite a bit of money paid to people for around two decades until they die, and whether or not we can afford this, it would still be better if we weren’t forced to spend so much money in this way; even worse, we effectively throw even more money out the window by paying for geriatrics, something that most retirees are worried about.
Money spent on healthcare is generally money well spent, but only if it actually improves your health. The problem with traditional geriatrics is that it acts on the symptoms of age-related diseases rather than their causes. The diseases of aging are the result of a on complex interaction between different, concurrent processes of damage accumulation taking place throughout life; this means that, as a rule of thumb, the older you are, the more damage that you carry around. This means that any treatment aimed at mitigating age-related pathologies that does not act on the damage itself or its accumulation is destined to become progressively less effective, like shoveling water with a pitchfork out a lake while a river continually dumps more in.
Generally, geriatric treatments don’t directly affect the damage or its accumulation, so they cannot eliminate age-related diseases and become less and less useful as you age. Some kinds of geriatric treatments are actually geroprotectors—that is, they are able to interfere with the damage or the accumulation of damage and may help prevent diseases—but are often administered too late in the game, when pathologies have already manifested. Geriatrics is decisively not the best bang for the buck, even though it is presently better than nothing at all.
It doesn’t come cheap, either; according to a MEPS report, in 2003, the elderly constituted less than 25% of the Medicaid population but 26% of Medicaid spending; the report finds, unsurprisingly, that chronic conditions contribute to higher healthcare costs, and among the top five most costly conditions are diabetes and heart disease, two diseases typical of old age. Even less surprisingly, in 2002, people over 65 constituted 13% of the US population but accounted for 36% of total US personal health care expenses.
A 2004 study in Michigan found that per capita lifetime health expenditures were $316,000 for women and $268,700 for men (part of the discrepancy is to be attributed to women’s longer lifespans), of which one-third is incurred during middle age and more than another third is incurred after age 85  for people fortunate enough to live that long. Again according to MEPS, in 2016, the average health spending in the US for people over the age of 65 was $11,316; for comparison, the sum total of all the other age cohorts from 0 to 64 was $13,587, only about $2,200 more. The cumulative spending for the 65+ cohort—that is, the average total of yearly expenditures for a US citizen at least 65 years old—was nearly $170,000. Again in 2016, people aged 65 and over accounted for 16% of the US population while constituting 36% of the total health spending.
A report by Milken in 2014 found that, in 2003, about $1.3 trillion was thrown out the window in the US because of the treatment costs and lost productivity related to chronic diseases; the same report projects that, in 2023, the loss will amount to $4.2 trillion.
A 2018 study focusing on out-of-pocket spending for retirees found that the average household that turned 70 in 1992 will incur $122,000 in medical spending over the rest of their lives, and that the top 5% and 1% will incur $300,000 and $600,000, respectively . This paper also found that Medicaid significantly helps the poorest households with their expenses, and it must be noted that, past a certain age, remaining lifetime healthcare costs stop growing and tend to stabilize (for no other reason that the people in question don’t have much life left during which they could spend money on healthcare), but whether the money spent on geriatrics, nursing homes, and so on is a lot or a little, or is spent by you personally or by the government, somebody is going to spend it on something that will not give your health and independence back and is not going to make your life much better. If we must spend it, we might as well do so on something that will actually restore your health.
To top it all, when you consider that American workers aren’t saving that much, a single major medical event past retirement could wipe however little they had set aside.
The costs of caring for older people don’t stop here; they affect their family caregivers as well. As highlightedby the National Center on Caregiving, taking care of a disabled family member may impact the caregiver financially, emotionally, and even health-wise; caregivers are more likely to suffer from stress and depression, are prone to illness themselves, and lose, on average, nearly $700,000 over their course of their lives. When you take into account population aging, it’s clear that this trend can only worsen and put more strain on society.
Life extension: friend or foe?
Now that we have a clearer idea about the potential pension crisis looming ahead and the costs of pensions and geriatrics, it’s time to discuss whether life extension would make the problem better or worse.
It all depends on how you understand life extension. The term per se is somewhat misleading, in that many people often imagine a longer, drawn-out old age in which ill health and the consequent medical expenses and pensions are extended accordingly, just as in the nightmares of social security planners. This is most definitely not what life extension is about, and it’s obvious that extending old age as it is right now would not be a solution to the problem of pensions (or even desirable for whatever other reason). Simply prolonging the duration of life without also prolonging the time spent in good health (if at all possible to a significant extent) wouldn’t solve any problem, and as a matter of fact, it would worsen existing ones; people would be sick for longer, thereby increasing the already exorbitant amount of suffering caused by aging, and they would need pensions and palliative care for longer, probably pushing our social security systems well over the edge. (As a side note, this is what geriatrics does: it delays the inevitable, prolonging the time spent in ill health by making you a wee bit less sick for a longer time.)
However, lifespan and healthspan—that is, the length of your life and the portion of life you spend in good health—aren’t causally disconnected; you don’t just drop dead because you’re 80 or 90 irrespective of how healthy you are. The reason we tend to die at around those ages is that our bodies accumulate different kinds of damage in a stochastic fashion; as time goes by, the odds of developing diseases or conditions that eventually become fatal go higher and higher, even though which specific condition will kill you depends a lot on your genetics, lifestyle, and personal history. The idea behind life extension isn’t to just “stretch” lifespan; rather, the idea is to extend healthspan, that is preserving young-adult-like good health well into your 80s or 90s, and the logical consequence of being perfectly healthy for longer is that you will also live for longer. Significant life extension only follows from significant healthspan extension, and it’s very unlikely that it could ever be otherwise.
Again, the fundamental reason that pensions exist is to economically support people who are no longer able to do it themselves. We need to have such a system in place if we don’t want to abandon older people to their fate. If life extension treatments take ill health and age-related disabilities out of the equation entirely, pensions as we know them today will no longer be needed, because you will be able to support yourself through your own work regardless of your age.
Some people might shudder at the thought of working at age 90, but we can’t help but wonder if they actually realize that the alternative is literally to get sicker and sicker and eventually die; if they prefer that to continuing to work, they probably have more of a problem with the specific line of work they’re in than life extension itself, and they should ask themselves whether they’d trade their health and life in their 40s if it meant that they could quit working earlier. There is, though a better angle to look at this from, and it’s what we mentioned before: retirement as financial independence. Being perfectly healthy for the whole of your life, however long it may be, does not mean you must work each and every moment of it. A longer life spent in good health may more easily allow you to attain sufficient financial independence to retire at least for a while. Unless you’re a billionaire, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to retire for centuries in the current economic system; still, you might be able to enjoy a few years off, and then, say at age 100, celebrate your first century of life in perfect, youthful health by starting off an entirely new career with the same energy and vigor you had when you started the first one in your 20s.
Even if you don’t manage to save enough to retire by yourself, we should not forget that a pension system where people retire for a few years and then go back to work, producing wealth once more rather than just consuming it for decades, is the Holy Grail of social security; governments would have a much easier time paying for your pension for, say, five years, knowing that in five years, you’ll be making your own living again. Your insurance, or whoever pays for your medical expenses, would also be extremely happy to know that you have no chronic conditions to be taken care of—and most importantly, so would you. In a situation like this, a pension crisis is unlikely to happen because pensions would not be a necessity anymore. Even if it happened that pension funds ran dry for whatever reason and push came to shove, people would be able to support themselves through their own work—they’d have to postpone their retirement for some time, but that would be okay, because whatever their age they’d still be fully able-bodied.
This is the best-case scenario: a world where aging is under full medical control, just like most infectious diseases today. There’s also a possibility that this won’t come to pass as soon as we’d like and that we’ll achieve only partial control over aging, for example by successfully extending your healthspan by a few years. Even in this more modest scenario, the financial benefits would be enormous, with an estimated value of over $7 trillion over the course of fifty years , which is a benefit worth pursuing whether a pension crisis will happen or not.
Of course, it’s a good idea to sit down and attempt to do the math on a case-by-case basis to see for a fact which countries would effectively have significant economic incentives to endorse, and perhaps even financially support, rejuvenation therapies for their own citizens, but a 2018 report of the International Longevity Centre in the UK provides reasons to be rather optimistic. Titled Towards A Longevity Dividend, the report discusses the effects that life expectancy has on the productivity of developed nations, based on nearly 50 years of demographic and macroeconomic OECD data of 35 different countries; the results of this analysis can be summarized easily: life expectancy is positively correlated with a country’s productivity across a range of different measures. Indeed, the analysis found out that life expectancy seems to be even more important for a country’s productivity than the ratio of young (working) versus old (retired) people. The conclusions of the report’s author are that a longevity dividend, i.e. global economical benefits derived by an extension of healthy lifespans, may be there for society to reap.
We should also not forget that life experience is an asset; while work experience may easily become obsolete time and time again over the course of a very long lifespan, the wisdom and knowledge that older workers may have accumulated may make them excellent mentors and drivers of further progress and innovation.
If life extension were simply the prolongation of the period of decrepitude at the end of life, it would make little sense to pursue it. It would do nothing to improve our health, and to add insult to injury, it would exacerbate an already uncertain global financial situation. However, life extension is not this; it’s a significant extension of our healthspan, from which an extension of lifespan logically follows, and as such, it has the potential not just to rid us of age-related diseases altogether but also to solve the financial problems caused by the necessity of pensions and geriatrics by mitigating or eliminating our need for them.
People working in social security can probably sleep more soundly if the undying elderly of their nightmares are replaced with rejuvenated, productive, and independent elderly whose health no longer depends on how long ago they were born.
About Nicola Bagalà
Nicola is a bit of a jack of all trades—a holder of an M.Sc. degree in mathematics; an amateur programmer; a hobbyist at novel writing, piano, and art; and, of course, a passionate life extensionist. After his interest in the science of undoing aging arose in 2011, he gradually shifted from quiet supporter to active advocate in 2015, first launching his advocacy blog Rejuvenaction before eventually joining LEAF. These years in the field sparked an interest in molecular biology, which he actively studies. Other subjects he loves to discuss to no end are cosmology, artificial intelligence, and many others—far too many for a currently normal lifespan, which is one of the reasons he’s into life extension.
About Michael Nuschke
For over three decades, Michael pursued a financial planning career and specialized in retirement income planning – how to ensure you don’t run out of money before you run out of life. Meanwhile, as an avid follower of science and technology, he realized that normal assumptions about retirement needed to be changed. Planning retirement gets tricky if you live well past age 100 in good health! Michael now calls himself a “Retirement Futurist” and is working to change how we think about retirement and life planning. He has contributed chapters for two books on the future and writes on the retirementsingularity.com blog. As a long-time meditator, he believes that meditation is a key discipline to enable clear thinking.
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party provides this announcement to encourage any of our members and allies with expertise in bioinformatics and/or computational biology to contribute their talents to resolving the medical conundrum of one of our longtime loyal members, John – referred to in the Patient Case Background below as JCM – who has suffered from an undiagnosed condition his entire life. The Undiagnosed-1 Collaborative Genomics Research Case, arranged by the non-profit, volunteer-run organization SVAI, will take place on June 7-9 in San Francisco. Find out more about this effort at breakthrough medical diagnosis – which could make a lifetime’s worth of difference to John – here. Even if you cannot attend the event in person, you can apply to participate in the research online here. John has generously provided for his data to be made available in an open-source manner so that future researchers into rare diseases could benefit from it and advance the state of medical science. Researchers have already agreed to study the data; one of them, longtime life-extension advocate Kevin Perrott, the CEO and Founder of OpenCures, a company located at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging that helps individuals performing self-directed research to access technologies and education, wishes to use mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and proteomics to find biomarkers of aging, and John has agreed to be a part of that project. John’s quest to discover the causes of his own ailment can thus lead to beneficial insights that could be used to research ways the extend the lifespans of all. The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party fully supports this noble effort and is heartened that many prominent researchers have already stepped forward to participate. However, there can never be enough trained and talented minds working on such endeavors, so, if you have the relevant expertise, we strongly encourage you to get involved.
~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party, May 21, 2019
Learn more about the Undiagnosed-1 Collaborative Genomics Research Case here. You are encouraged to share this information with others who may be interested and qualified to assist.
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this article by Steve Hill of the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF) originally published on the LEAF site on May 8th, 2019. The article brings attention to a new program that aligns with our mission of ending age-related diseases, which the U.S. Transhumanist Party supports as part of our policy goals.
~ Brent Reitze, Director of Publication, United States Transhumanist Party, May 10th, 2019
In an article last May, we covered how Rejuvenate Bio, a startup biotech company led by Professor George Church, was planning to reverse aging in dogs as a step towards bringing these therapies to us. Those plans are now starting to move forward with news of a trial launch in the fall later this year.
Developing anti-aging therapies in dogs is the first step
Back in 2015, the Church lab at Harvard began testing a variety of therapies focused on age reversal using CRISPR, a gene editing system that was much easier and faster to use than older techniques. Since then, Professor Church and his lab have conducted a myriad of experiments and gathered lots of data with which to plan future strategies for tackling aging.
Last year, we learned that Rejuvenate Bio had already conducted some initial studies with beagles and were planning to reverse aging using CRISPR gene therapy. The goal was to move these studies forward to a larger scale as a step towards bringing similar therapies to humans to prevent age-related diseases. Professor Church was so confident that his team would find a solution, he even suggested that he may be one of the first human volunteers once therapies finally reach people.
“Dogs are a market in and of themselves,” Church said during the 2018 Radical Wellness event in Boston. “It’s not just a big organism close to humans. It’s something that people will pay for, and the FDA process is much faster. We’ll do dog trials, and that’ll be a product, and that’ll pay for scaling up in human trials.”
Choosing to develop therapies for dogs helps pave the way for therapies that address the aging processes in humans and could support their approval, which would otherwise be much more challenging. Currently, if you were to tell the FDA that you want to increase lifespan in humans by 20 years, you would need to come back in 20-30 years with the data, which just isn’t practical.
However, if Rejuvenate Bio can produce robust data in dogs showing that some processes of aging have been reversed, it lends considerable justification for human trials. The company is also taking a different tack; instead of focusing on increasing lifespan, it is instead targeting an age-related disease common in dogs, which should be cured if age reversal occurs.
This is based on the concept that in order to treat age-related diseases and cure them, you need to target the root causes of those diseases, which are the underlying aging processes themselves. If Rejuvenate Bio is successful, this would lend additional supporting evidence that directly treating aging to prevent age-related diseases could also work in humans.
Gene therapy trial for mitral valve disease
Rejuvenate Bio has now announced that it will be launching a gene therapy trial in dogs during the fall this year to combat mitral valve disease (MVD), a condition commonly encountered in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed and directly caused by the aging processes. The study will initially focus on this particular breed and expand to include other dogs with MVD as time passes.
We are developing a novel cardio-protective gene therapy to stop the progression of heart failure in dogs. As a part of the technical development, we will launch a study in dogs with Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) in the fall of 2019. This study will provide valuable information that will aid our effort to address MVD.
MVD is due to the failure of the mitral valve in the heart, a one-way valve between the two chambers of the heart that prevents the backflow of blood as it is pumped around the body. As aging occurs, the mitral valve can degenerate, which allows backflow to occur, leading to left atrial chamber enlargement, congestive heart failure, and, ultimately, death.
This gene therapy is focused on adding a new piece of DNA into the cells of the dogs in order to halt the buildup of fibrotic scar tissue in the heart, which is linked to the progression of MVD and other forms of heart failure. Fibrotic tissue is the result of imperfect repair, which occurs when a more complete repair is not possible due to a lack of replacement cells or high levels of inflammation.
The researchers are keen to point out that this new piece of DNA is not passed onto the offspring of the animal and cannot transfer between dogs. This is because the therapy does not alter the DNA in the germline cells, the cells that are involved in reproduction and passing on genetics to an organism’s offspring.
If you wish to enroll your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the trial coming this fall, then register your interest with Rejuvenate Bio to learn more about eligibility and how to apply.
This is a very exciting study and, as the company discusses on its project page, the therapy may also be useful for other heart conditions, such as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). If the initial results are successful, it would be highly likely that we could see more dog breeds included as well as other conditions, including DCM, added to the program.
We wish Professor Church and Rejuvenate Bio every success, as this forms the basis for potentially moving such therapies into human trials more quickly as well as potentially helping our furry friends to live longer, healthier lives as well. We love our pets, and it is only logical that we should want the same healthy and longer lives for them as we do for ourselves, and the process for them is the same for us: new medical innovations that target the aging processes directly in order to end age-related diseases.
About Steve Hill
As a scientific writer and a devoted advocate of healthy longevity technologies, Steve has provided the community with multiple educational articles, interviews and podcasts, helping the general public to better understand aging and the means to modify its dynamics. His materials can be found at H+ Magazine, Longevity reporter, Psychology Today and Singularity Weblog. He is a co-author of the book “Aging Prevention for All” – a guide for the general public exploring evidence-based means to extend healthy life (in press).
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.
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this article by David Wood, Chair of the London Futurists and Secretary of Humanity+. He argues in support of the Somos Miel party and their work in Spain, initiatives which are similar to work supported by the US Transhumanist Party in the United States. This article was originally posted on David Wood’s blog on April 24, 2019.
~ Brent Reitze, Director of Publication, United States Transhumanist Party, May 2nd, 2019
The most important changes often arise from the bold actions of outsiders.
Those of us who desire positive humanitarian change need to be flexible enough to recognise which outsiders can be the best vehicles for the transformations we want to see in society.
And we need to be ready to get behind these opportunities when they arise.
Consider the key example of the transformation of healthcare, towards a new focus on the reversal of aging as providing the best route to better health for everyone.
For those of us who hold that vision of the forthcoming “abolition of aging”, what are the most practical steps to make that vision a reality?
Here’s my answer. It’s time to get behind “Somos Miel”.
Miel is a recently formed political party, which is taking part in Spain in the elections on the 26th of May to the European Parliament.
The word “miel” has two meanings. First, it’s the Spanish for “honey”. Somos Miel means “We are honey”. The association of honey with improved health exists in many cultures around the world.
Second, MIEL is the abbreviation for “Movimiento Independiente Euro Latino”. Translating from Spanish to English gives: “The Independent Latin Euro Movement”.
José Luis Cordeiro is an engineer, economist, futurist, and transhumanist, who has worked on different areas including economic development, international relations, Latin America, the European Union, monetary policy, comparison of constitutions, energy trends, cryonics, and longevity. Books he has authored include The Great Taboo, Constitutions Around the World: A Comparative View from Latin America, and (in Spanish) El Desafio Latinoamericano (“The Latin American challenge”) and La Muerte de la Muerte (“The death of death”).
Cordeiro was born in Caracas, Venezuela from Spanish parents who emigrated from Madrid during the Franco dictatorship…
He’s evidently a man of many talents. He’s by no means a European political insider, infused by the old ways of doing politics. Instead, he brings with him a welcome spread of bold outsider perspectives.
When asked if he is from “the right” or “the left”, his answer, instead, is that he is from “the future”. Indeed, he often appends the greeting “futuristicamente” after his name, meaning “Yours futuristically”.
José is also known as a vocal advocate for “revolution” – a revolution in the potential of humanity. He has the courage to advocate ideas that are presently unpopular – ideas that he believes will soon grow in public understanding and public support.
I first met José at the TransVision 2006 conference in Helsinki, Finland. I remember how he spoke with great passion about the positive possibilities of technology in the next stage in the evolution of life on the earth. As the abstract from that long-ago talk proclaims:
Since the Big Bang, the universe has been in constant evolution and continuous transformation. First there were physical and chemical processes, then biological evolution, and finally now technological evolution. As we begin to ride the wave into human redesign, the destination is still largely unknown but the opportunities are almost limitless.
Biological evolution continues but it is just too slow to achieve the goals now possible thanks to technological evolution. Natural selection with trial and error can now be substituted by technical selection with engineering design. Humanity’s monopoly as the only advanced sentient life form on the planet will soon come to an end, supplemented by a number of posthuman incarnations. Moreover, how we re-engineer ourselves could fundamentally change the ways in which our society functions, and raise crucial questions about our identities and moral status as human beings.
Since that first meeting, the two of us have collaborated on many projects. For example, we both sit on the board of directors of Humanity+. José has spoken on a number of occasions at the London Futurists events I organise – such as TransVision 2019 which will take place in London on 6-7 July. And we are named as co-authors of the Spanish language book La Muerte de la Muerte which has attained wide press coverage throughout Spain.
Another thing we have in common is that we are both impatient for change. We’re not content to sit back and watch impersonal forces operate in society at their own pace and following their own inner direction. We believe in doing more than cheering from the sidelines. We both believe that the actions of individuals, wisely targeted, can have a huge impact on human affairs. We both believe that inspired political action, at the right time, can unleash vast public resources in support of important transformational projects.
We also recognise that delays have major consequences. Each single day that passes without the widespread availability of reliable treatments for biological aging, upwards of 100,000 people die as a result of aging-related diseases. That’s 100,000 unnecessary human deaths, every single day – preceded in almost every case by extended suffering and heartache.
On a positive note, there is considerable good news to report, regarding progress with regenerative medicine and rejuvenation biotechnology. The Undoing Aging conference in Berlin last month contained an encouraging set of reports from a host of world-leading scientists working in this field. Keep an eye on the Undoing Aging channel in YouTube for videos from that event. For a review of the human implications of these scientific breakthroughs, the forthcoming RAADfest in Las Vegas in October will be well worth attending – to hear about “the most powerful information and inspiration for staying alive”.
But the opportunity exists for progress to go much faster, if more elements of society decide to put their weight behind this project.
That’s where Miel comes in. José is a well-known figure in Spain, due to his many media appearances there. Current indications are that he stands a fighting chance of being elected to the European Parliament. If elected, he’ll be a tireless public advocate for the cause of rejuvenation healthcare. He’ll promote studies of the economic implications of different scenarios for the treatment of aging. He’ll also champion the creation of a European Agency for Anti-Aging, to boost research on how addressing aging can have multiple positive benefits for the treatments of individual aging-related diseases, such as dementia, cancer, and heart failure.
You’ll find a number of articles on the Miel blog about these aspects of Miel policy. For example, see “Within 25 years, dying will be optional” and “I’m not afraid of artificial intelligence, I’m afraid of human stupidity”.
You’ll also observe from its website how Miel is, wisely, giving voice in Spain to a community that perceives itself to be under-represented, namely the Latin Americans – people like José himself, who was born in Venezuela. Those of us who aren’t Latin Americans should appreciate the potential for positive change that this political grouping can bring.
Despite the groundswell of popular support that Miel is receiving, it’s still in the balance whether the party will indeed receive enough votes throughout Spain to gain at least one member in the European Parliament.
I’m told that what will make a big difference is an old-fashioned word: money.
If it receives more donations, Miel will be able to place more advertisements in social media (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc). With its messages in front of more eyeballs, the chance increases of popular support at the ballot box.
In a better world, money would have a lower influence over politics. But whilst we should all aspire to move politics into that better state, we need to recognise the present reality. In that reality, donations have a big role to play.
To support Miel, visit the party’s donation page. Donations are accepted via credit cards, debit cards, or PayPal.
But please don’t delay. The elections are in just one month’s time. The time for action is now.
José Luis Cordeiro
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this interview of Dr. José Luis Cordeiro by Elena Milova at LeafScience.Org, originally published on their site on April 19, 2019. Dr. Cordeiro is working to foster transhumanist-friendly political policies in Spain, a goal supported by the U.S. Transhumanist Party as part of our policy objectives.
~ Brent Reitze, Director of Publication, United States Transhumanist Party, May 1st, 2019
At Undoing Aging 2019, jointly organized by SENS Research Foundation and Forever Healthy Foundation, there was a session focused on the ways to make healthy life extension and medical progress a greater part of the global agenda. Among the speakers there was Jose Cordeiro, the vice chair of Humanity Plus, director of The Millennium Project, fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, and board member of the Lifeboat Foundation.
Jose earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His thesis was focused on the modeling of the International Space Station. Jose has also studied International Economics and Comparative Politics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and received his MBA in France at INSEAD, where he focused on Finance and Globalization.
Last year, Jose decided to begin his political activities in order to foster the development of rejuvenation biotechnologies in Spain and to work on the integration of Latin American immigrants into Spain’s aging society and thus maintain the country’s productivity. He kindly agreed to give me an interview to discuss more about his ambitious initiative.
Hello, Jose, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. You are currently beginning your campaign to win several seats in the European parliament. This is a very unusual situation, because it’s still rare that transhumanist ideas like significant life extension are part of a political agenda. Before we dig into your political program, I would really want to know more about you as a person and what kind of experiences led you to becoming a transhumanist in the first place. Please tell us a few things about your childhood; what life events or books helped you to develop the vision that you have right now?
My family is from Spain. During the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, this country became very poor, and that pushed my family to consider moving to Venezuela. At the time, Venezuela was a prosperous country, so we had moved, and I grew up there. When I was a little child, there was no color TV; it was black and white back then. I remember that the first transmission in color was the moon landing of the Apollo mission. I was so fascinated by the idea that man had gone to the moon and also by the color picture, even though the moon was mostly gray. That sparked my interest in science fiction. My mother gave me books by Jules Verne. To me, he was an idol; I loved his writing. Then, there were other writers, like Isaac Asimov and Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who helped me develop my imagination.
When I was older, I even went to meet Sir Arthur C. Clarke in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It turned out that he had a scuba diving center in Indonesia. You see, he believed that going into outer space and going into the ocean were the ultimate experiences and that they both showed how weak our bodies were. To me, it was one more piece of proof that we really need technology to survive in outer space or in the oceans. I had an opportunity to invite him to talk at the transhumanist conference that I had organized. That was really beautiful.
Speaking of the other books, I also read Robert Heinlein’s books on Mars, and all of this combined really made me go into engineering. I decided to go to MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and I majored in engineering in order to be able to participate in all these fascinating projects of mankind in space. I have been very lucky to have four Nobel laureates among my teachers, and I’ve been always following future trends. Since that time, I read the books of the Club of Rome and the World Future Society. There were many magazines about science, such as Popular Mechanics, Computer World, and others. Then, I learned about Extropians and the World Transhumanist Association when it was being created, and I learned a lot from this community, too.
I lived three years in Japan and four years in California. Then, I met Ray Kurzweil at MIT, as he was one of its board members. He’s a fantastic person, and I read all his books, the Age of intelligent machines was the first one, and then in 1998-99, he published the Age of Spiritual Machines, where he makes all his forecasts of the future.
It seems to me that there is still a huge gap between technology, which involves developing all sorts of machines and engineering, and life sciences, rejuvenation research, and life extension. What were your ideas or some events in your life that actually made you look into this direction as well?
Because of my science fiction reading and my training at MIT, I have been very much a technologist, futurist, and transhumanist. Like Ray Kurzweil, I believe that we will transcend the biological condition and move into a post-biological condition. Arthur C. Clarke said that we are carbon-based bipeds and that we should actually evolve and transcend.
I was not particularly interested in longevity and rejuvenation technologies until 1999-2000, when a friend of mine died. Also, sadly, my father died in 2013, and that really affected my life and my views. I was living in California back when the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela had happened. My father died of something that no one dies of today, which is a lack of access to dialysis. The crisis was so bad that there were no medical services, no food, no clean water, no electricity, no gasoline in the country with the largest oil reserves on the planet. My family had to witness how a bad government can destroy a country and put a whole nation into misery. I consider myself lucky that I managed to take my mother from Venezuela back to Spain, and I am so happy that she is alive. Then I decided to stay in Spain and work internationally.
I am traveling around the globe, as I am giving lectures at major universities in many countries. As you know, I teach in two universities in Moscow: in the MIPT and in the Higher School of Economics. I also teach in universities in Japan and in Korea, focusing on several main topics that are important for shaping the global agenda in a reasonable way. In the Higher School of Economics, I talk about technologies, because economists need to know about emerging technologies, while the MIPT is just the opposite; I talk more about the future of economics, the world moving from scarcity to abundance, and how technology can help with that. I talk about energy, about the necessity to switch from fossil fuels to renewables. Actually, I coined the word ‘energularity’: it’s an unlimited amount of energy that we can use for our needs. I talk about longevity, rejuvenation, regenerative medicine, the possibility to control aging and remain healthy for as long as we want. I am teaching the young generation of leaders how to build the future of global prosperity, and I decided to bring my knowledge and my vision to the political arena, too.
Could you please tell our readers about the pillars of your political program? What are the specific goals that you are going to focus on?
Two main things that I plan to focus on are the healthy longevity of the Spanish population and the integration of immigrants from Latin America. Let me explain why I consider these two topics extremely important and how they are intertwined.
Spain, as you know, is one of the countries with the highest life expectancy in the world. Our people live very long. However, this also means that our population is aging; there is a large and fast-growing share of people who are 65 years old and older, which is now over 20%, and these people have age-related chronic diseases. The medicine of the 20th century cannot restore health, and there are many age-related diseases that remain incurable, causing enormous amount of human suffering. However, it was recently proven in animal studies that by directly targeting the processes of aging, the root causes of aging, we could learn how to cure these diseases, reverse aging, and ensure better health and productivity in later life. If we support scientific research on the mechanisms of aging, we can develop cures for people very soon; in the next 10 years, there will already be several therapies of a new type that will be able to slow down and even partially reverse aging.
So, healthy longevity for the Spanish population is my primary focal point. I have three very clear targets. The first is the creation of the European Institute on Aging to work on the problem of aging and on the latest rejuvenation biotechnologies and to put together all the knowledge in different areas and different countries to give our aging society innovative treatments as soon as possible.
The second target is the development of more flexible regulations. I actually like to say that Americans invent things, the Chinese or the Japanese improve things, and the Europeans regulate. Sadly, there is overregulation all over Europe. Let me give you an example. In Japan, if you have already done phase two of human clinical trials, which means that you have already proven that the treatment is safe and it works, even if the experimental group in phase two is not large, a patient can get those treatments, especially if the patient is in critical condition, or, even worse, terminal condition. People in Japan have a chance to use the innovation and a chance to overcome the disease. You can do that in Japan but not in Europe, despite the fact that the pace of population aging in Japan and in Europe is the same; we have many old people around.
The third target is an increase in the science and technology budget of the European Union. For the next framework program, which is called Horizon Europe, beginning in 2021, the budget is expected to increase to 100 billion euros, but I think it should be increased even more, to 120 billion. The projects sponsored by Horizon Europe should be more also focused on regenerative biotechnologies in order to cope with the massive population aging and population decline.
So, you would like to contribute to the creation of a coordination center on aging research, appropriate funding for this research, and on regulatory improvement in order to ensure that the emerging rejuvenation biotechnologies can be available as soon as possible?
That is right, and I have done a great deal preparing the ground for these improvements. As you know, as a proponent of healthy life extension, I have organized many scientific conferences in Spain, and I have invited international luminaries from the field of aging research, such as Dr. Aubrey de Grey, who was the first to recognize the mechanisms of aging as new therapeutic targets.
I have always tried to spread the word about the work of our brilliant Spanish scientists, and I have also written several books on this topic to educate the public on this matter and to allow more people to benefit from the development of rejuvenation technologies; the last one of my 13 books is currently a bestseller in Spain called La Muerte De La Muerte (The Death of Death).
Yes, I have seen it – are you planning to have it translated into other languages?
Yes, it is coming out now in Portuguese, then in Korean, and then in other languages. I hope that there will also be English and Russian translations soon enough.
However, this is only one part of my program. The other one is based on the other pressing issues of Spain. You have heard the motto of my campaign, #SomosMIEL – MIEL stands for ‘Movimiento Independiente EuroLatino’ (the Independent EuroLatino Movement). Because of the crisis in Latin America, and especially Venezuela, Spain has become a home for many immigrants; around 10% of the Spanish population are immigrants. Think about it. The native Spanish population is aging, our population is declining, and our workforce is shrinking. The immigrants are people with a similar cultural and religious background, who speak Spanish perfectly, and who have a good education and could contribute to the development of the country much better if we removed certain barriers and restrictions.
First, I think we need to eliminate the Schengen visa for people in Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia, at least in the case of family reunification. Next, I would focus on extending the approved period of being an independent worker from one to five years. The third target is to contribute to the homologation of titles and degrees in education. When all these immigrants come, even though we speak the same language, their degrees are not accepted. There is already a good precedent of solving this problem in Europe with the Bologna Declaration, the agreement that allows homologation of all titles in Europe. However, now we have to take this to the international level and certainly with Latin America.
There is one more question that I plan to work on: the recognition of Spanish as one of the official languages of the European Union. Spanish is the second most frequently spoken language in the world after Chinese. It is not even recognized in the European Union, which has only three official working languages: English, French, and German.
As we are moving towards a world that is more and more strongly connected, I think it makes perfect sense to facilitate communication and exchange of valuable knowledge and experience between the major regions, such as Spain, the European Union, Latin America, and the United States. There are 50 million Spanish speakers in the United States.
So, technically, what you’re trying to achieve with your program is to remove the barriers that prevent Spanish-speaking society from acting as a whole. One example is the integration of immigrants from Latin America, and the other one is the improvement of cross-border communication by making Spanish an official language of the European Union. I find that fascinating. Because, as we all know, there are these global challenges that we’re dealing with, like climate change, pollution, lack of renewable energy, and population aging, and they require global cooperation. The barriers become increasingly unwelcome, I would say, because these problems just cannot be solved at the level of one country. I find it a very valuable social experiment.
Yeah, that’s a beautiful way to put it. However, we have a long way to go. We live in a world of abundance that is full of opportunities brought to us by technological progress, and it is quite disappointing that we still have poverty, we still have suffering from aging, and we still find ourselves witnessing humanitarian crises like the one in Venezuela that killed my father. Five million Venezuelans have been forced to leave the country, five million. This is not a small number, and we still don’t know how to deal with it in a way that these people can have the decent lives that they deserve. We need to learn how to not leave anyone behind. We have to become more compassionate. This could happen to any country, like it happened to Germany during Hitler’s government. We have to collaborate to make sure that we will not make the same mistakes ever again. We live at the borderline between a fantastic positive future and a horrible, terrible past, and we have to move forward, positively contribute to it, and create a better society, a better world for everybody.
What insights would you like to share with our readers?
Life is so beautiful; it is a fantastic gift. I think everybody should enjoy life, should have a chance to improve and extend life and to do more things. I speak five languages, and I’d want to speak ten if I had the time. I have been to 137 countries, and I would like to go to two hundred more. I would like to write and read more books, watch many movies, and listen to so much more music, and there is no time. Time is so valuable. Ask yourself, who could you become if you had another century of healthy life? Therefore, we need more lifetime so that we can enjoy more, develop and reinvent ourselves to become better people, and make this world a better place. Going into politics for me is my reinvention. I think that I have enough experience to take all these fascinating academic findings and ideas professionally into politics and to make a difference. That is my mission: to bring healthy longevity and profound social integration to Spain. Wish me luck.
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this announcement by the Undoing Aging Conference, a joint project between the SENS Foundation and the Forever Healthy Foundation, originally published on their site on April 2, 2019. The Undoing Aging Conference is focused on the cellular and molecular repair of age-related damage as the basis of therapies to bring aging under full medical control. Undoing Aging 2020 will once again bring together scientists and startups from around the globe, all pioneers in their respective fields, who are leading the charge in maintaining and restoring full health in old age. Such research is supported by the U.S. Transhumanist Party as part of our policy goals.
~ Brent Reitze, Applicant for Director of Publication, United States Transhumanist Party, April 4, 2019
April 2, 2019 Mountain View, California / Berlin, Germany
After the incredible success of the 2019 Undoing Aging Conference, SENS Research Foundation and Forever Healthy Foundation are pleased to announce Undoing Aging 2020, which will take place on May 21 – 23. As UA2019 was sold out with nearly 500 participants from over 30 countries, Undoing Aging 2020 will be moving to a larger venue.
The Undoing Aging Conference is focused on the cellular and molecular repair of age-related damage as the basis of therapies to bring aging under full medical control. Among the 40 brilliant speakers at Undoing Aging 2019, there were giants in regenerative medicine such as: Dr. Nir Barzilai, Dr. Jerry Shay, Dr. Evan Snyder, Dr. Judith Campisi, and many more. Undoing Aging 2020 will once again bring together scientists and startups from around the globe, all pioneers in their respective fields, who are leading the charge in maintaining and restoring full health in old age. To accommodate the exciting growth of the emerging rejuvenation biotechnology industry, Undoing Aging 2020 will add a dedicated forum and exhibition space for rejuvenation biotech companies to present themselves to prospective investors and industry partners.
Additionally, the 2020 conference will add a special “Rejuvenation Now” session highlighting the first generation of human rejuvenation therapies that are either currently in clinical trials or are available today.
Undoing Aging 2020 is not only open to the scientific community, but also welcomes startups, investors, the general media, and all interested members of the broader rejuvenation movement. The conference will feature a student poster session showing the work of innovative undergraduate and graduate students in the field of damage repair.
“The accelerating rate of progress in rejuvenation research is now unmistakeable at all levels: publications, transfer into rapidly-funded startup companies, and even into the clinic. One marker of this is the worldwide proliferation of conferences focused on it. But I have no doubt that Undoing Aging will maintain its pre-eminence among them, with its strong focus on the most cutting-edge science, its long history dating back to my first Cambridge conference in 2003, and above all its steadfast support from Forever Healthy,” said Dr. Aubrey de Grey, CSO of SENS Research Foundation.
“We are very excited to work with SENS on Undoing Aging,” stated Michael Greve, founder, and CEO of the Forever Healthy Foundation. “Forever Healthy has two key goals for this conference: To support the remarkable scientific community and the rejuvenation biotechnology startups already working on repair of age-related damage and to create an unique opportunity to experience that bringing aging under complete, genuine medical control is realistic, achievable, and, indeed, beginning to happen.“
About Forever Healthy Foundation
Forever Healthy is a private, non-profit initiative with the mission to enable people to vastly extend their healthy lifespan and be part of the first generation to cure aging.
Thru its ‘Rejuvenation Now‘ and ‘Maximizing Health‘ initiatives, Forever Healthy seeks to continuously identify and evaluate new rejuvenation therapies on risks, benefits, and potential application and to harness the enormous wealth of the world’s cutting-edge medical knowledge to empower informed decisions about health and well-being.
In addition, Forever Healthy supports the development of rejuvenation therapies that undo the damage of aging by funding basic research, bringing together the world’s leading scientists at the Undoing Aging conference and supporting startups that work on actual therapies for human use. For more information, please visit forever-healthy.org
About SENS Research Foundation
SENS Research Foundation is a 501(c) nonprofit that works to research, develop and promote comprehensive regenerative medicine solutions for the diseases of aging. The foundation is focused on a damage-repair paradigm for treating the diseases of aging, which it advances through scientific research, advocacy, and education.
SENS Research Foundation supports research projects at universities and institutes around the world with the goal of curing such age-related diseases as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Educating the public and training researchers to support a growing regenerative medicine field are also significant endeavors of the organization that are being accomplished through advocacy campaigns and educational programs. For more information, please visit sens.org
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this announcement by our cohorts at the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation, originally published on their site on March 19, 2019. The program helps bring attention to published works promoting the mission of ending age-related diseases, a mission the U.S. Transhumanist Party supports as part of our policy goals.
~ Brent Reitze, Applicant for Director of Publication, United States Transhumanist Party, April 2, 2019
As mentioned in some recent articles, we are increasing our efforts to reward our loyal and invaluable monthly patrons that support us as Lifespan Heroes. We previously mentioned a brand-new, exclusive webinar series for Lifespan Heroes, and we want to take this opportunity to also announce another brand-new initiative that will commence in April.
Introducing the Longevity Book Club for Lifespan Heroes
As special thanks to our Lifespan Hero patrons, we are pleased to announce the launch of our new Longevity Book Club, where you can join other longevity enthusiasts in reading the most interesting works that relate to our mission of ending age-related diseases. You will also get the opportunity to listen to discussion panels and take part in Q&A sessions that are focused on books that touch on these important scientific, philosophical, moral and futuristic longevity topics. This is the ideal place to meet like-minded longevity enthusiasts who are working on building their knowledge on longevity and all of the implications that come with ending age-related diseases.
Our first book circle will be reading Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari, a New York Times best-selling author.
Here is a brief synopsis of the book:
Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.
Over the past century, humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.
What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.
With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.
We feel this is a good book to get started with, as it’s written in a user-friendly style that can appeal to a broad audience and touches on many topics that are directly or indirectly related to our mission of ending age-related disease. As we progress as a group, we will shift into different categories, including philosophy, genetics, biochemistry, ethics, and many more topics that are of interest to our mission and book club members.
As a Hero, you will have the opportunity to join us for the first of many book discussions and have the opportunity to learn about the fascinating knowledge that these authors have to share with us as well as the deconstructed meanings behind the books as seen by our book club members. We’ll email the connection instructions to our Heroes soon, so please check your inbox for our announcement.
Calling all the Heroes
This year, our plan is to reach out to an even wider audience and engage with them about the need to end age-related diseases. We aim to hire another team member so that we can cover more news stories, buy new equipment, produce more films with popular Youtube channels, launch a two-day conference in NYC, and do more online shows, including this new webinar series.
However, to do this, we need your help.
We are very grateful for the support of our monthly patrons, the Lifespan Heroes, and we are asking you to consider joining them today in order to help us achieve our ambitious goals for 2019.
By becoming a Lifespan Hero, you become a monthly patron and can change or halt your contributions at any time. In return for your support, you get access to the Heroes’ private Discord channel, enjoy discounts on our event tickets, get early access to conference videos and live access to webinars, and receive regular reports on our progress and future plans.
Please consider becoming a Lifespan Hero today. We look forward to seeing you at the MitoSENS webinar and our Longevity Book Club meetings.
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party features this proposal by our member Hank Pellissier for a new website called Paradise2040, which will focus on the abolition of involuntary suffering and incremental ways of getting there within the next 21 years. This is an endeavor supported by Article IV of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0. It is also a current within transhumanist thinking that, as Mr. Pellissier points out, could bring additional support to the movement. Different transhumanists will have different views as to what the most important aims of transhumanism should be. As an organization that embraces pluralism and diversity of thought, the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party would encourage any of our members who agree with the direction Mr. Pellissier proposes to collaborate with him on the creation of the Paradise2040 website.
~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party, March 25, 2019
A survey I conducted in 2010 of 818 transhumanists identified “brain enhancement” as the #1 priority, with “maximizing” health and life extension as #2 and #3. The top three “values” of the U.S. Transhumanist Party (the Core Ideals) are #1) Life Extension, #2) “a cultural, societal, and political atmosphere informed and animated by reason, science, and secular values”, and #3) “to reduce and eliminate existential risks.”
I believe all these ambitions are important, but over-rated and mis-placed. My opinion, after ten years as a transhumanist, is this: the #1 goal of H+ should be the Abolition of Suffering. My view is advocated by multiple transhumanists, notably David Pearce, but… we’re in the minority.
Here’s three reasons why Abolition of Suffering deserves top consideration:
#1: Eternal Pain = Torture. It is shallow-thinking to not recognize super-longevity in a state of pain as undesirable; in fact, it is masochistic/sadistic. Ask yourself this: would you rather live 60 years in a state of bliss, joy, love, ecstasy, or at least moderate happiness, than exist for 120 years in pain, fear, anguish, despair, and horror? Quality of life is far more important than quantity, IMO.
I have three friends who suffer from depression. When I talk about “ending death”, they sigh forlornly and admit that they are “ready to die”, “sick to death of themselves”, and “have been punished by life long enough.” These people don’t want or need additional decades of misery, they need “happy days” as soon as possible. Hundreds of millions of humans live with chronic physical, mental, and emotional pain, and even the rest of us would appreciate higher doses of joy.
#2: Marketing “Ending Pain” sells better than “Ending Death.” When I tell acquaintances I’m a transhumanist and our #1 goal is elimination of death, they usually roll their eyes and dismiss me as a death-phobic weirdo. Sure, we can castigate these critics with the “Deathist” slur, but it is a superior strategy, I believe, to find common ground. Informing folks that the primary ambition of transhumanists is to elevate human happiness advertises us as charity-givers of cheerfulness, humanitarians of happiness, altruists of euphoria. Instead of billing ourselves as Slayers of the horrible Grim Reaper, we can offer ecstasy, contentment, increased friendship networks, psychedelic discoveries, purpose in life, etc. Recruitment will skyrocket!
#3: “Abolition of Suffering” is more Inclusive. Teenagers usually aren’t nervous about death, but they’re anxious about depression, body shame, bullying, and disempowerment, and don’t like their elders groaning and moaning in anguish. Religionists believe death opens a gate to heaven, but they experience the same pain from auto accidents, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s as atheists do, and they’re on board with extinguishing this.
My activist plan to end suffering is to launch a website called Paradise2040 – to promote cessation of suffering in the next 21 years. The website will be ‘practical’ but fun and imaginative; it will list dozens of pains from hangnails to herpes to homelessness with links to research-supported cures and potential futurist remedies.
If anyone wants to help – contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A transhumanist organization, Enlightenment Transhumanist Forum of Nigeria (ETFN) also known as H+ Nigeria, has been licensed to operate in the country. Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission, the agency that is in charge of registering societies issued the license on August 7, 2018. H+ Nigeria was registered after it fulfilled all the conditions required for operation as a legal entity in the country. The objectives of the organization include the promotion of transhumanist thought and culture. The forum plans to create awareness of the radical changes and feasibility of redesigning the human condition which humanity stands to undergo through science and technology in the future.
The organization will also encourage the growth of technological culture in a broad range of emerging, sophisticated technologies. In addition, it will promote ethical principles and methods of adopting new and emerging technologies in Nigeria beyond.
Furthermore, the ETFN will advocate the moral right for those who so wish to use technology to extend their mental and physical capacities and to improve their control over their own lives. Also, it will encourage systematic research and create a forum where people can rationally debate what needs to be done and advocate for a social order where responsible decisions on transhumanist principles can be implemented. It is most exciting that such a platform for furthering the ideals of transhumanism, and other futurist philosophies, has been incorporated in Nigeria.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to announce that any member who joins us for free via our online application form will also be eligible to receive discounts on procedures from AmpliCell Medical, one of our Allied Organizations, located in the Los Angeles area and specializing in regenerative medicine and stem-cell therapies.
Members who join will receive a confirmation e-mail, which will be sufficient to provide to AmpliCell Medical at the time of a consultation.
• 40% Discount off of Stem-Cell Treatments: The standard cost is $8,900 for the first treatment and $4,500 for follow-up treatments (if needed). The therapy is investigational and done as part of a clinical trial according to Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved protocols. With the 40% discount, the first treatment would cost $5,340, and a follow-up treatment would cost $2,700.
• 10% Discount off of Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement – First Consultation: The standard cost is $495 for the first consultation. With the 10% discount, that cost would be reduced to $445.50.
Of course, the U.S. Transhumanist Party is not itself a medical organization and does not provide medical advice. Each reader should take account of his or her own individual circumstances, health, medical history, skills, and knowledge when evaluating which courses of action to pursue, and also consult a medical professional with regard to decisions that may have a major impact on health. However, for those individuals whom stem-cell therapies could help, membership in the U.S. Transhumanist Party now offers the opportunity to achieve significant cost reductions in particular treatments.
Description from AmpliCell Medical. Learn more at http://amplicellmedical.com/:
The Fountain of Youth is no longer a myth. It is found within you, in the form of your very own stem cells. Stem cells are our bodies’ own, built-in healing cells, which naturally reside within certain tissues of the body. They start out in a dormant state and are “switched on” by the chemical signals produced by damaged tissues, acting to repair and regenerate damaged cells. Stem cells derived from your own tissues may well be the next major advance in medicine.
While early stem-cell research has been associated with the controversial use of embryonic stem cells, at AmpliCell Medical we use adult mesenchymal cells extracted directly from your own fat. We use a sterile closed surgical system to process 50 cc of fat from a mini-liposuction procedure in order to isolate and implant your own source of regenerative cells on the same day. “Closed surgical system” means that it never comes in contact with the outside world and is kept in a completely sterile environment. The regenerative cells are found in the SVF (stromal vascular fraction) that contains autologous mesenchymal stem cells, macrophage cells, endothelial cells, immune regulatory cells, red blood cells, and important growth factors that promote stem-cell activity. Our technology allows us to isolate high numbers of viable cells.
At AmpliCell Medical we are committed to helping people with wide variety of degenerative and inflammatory conditions. We offer a state-of-the-art minimally invasive procedure that utilizes autologous adipose (fat) derived stem cells.
Diseases and conditions currently being studied:
THE STUDIED BENEFIT OF STEM-CELL THERAPY
How are stem cells deployed?
There are varying methods for deployment of stem cells based on the condition being treated. The stem cells can be injected directly into joints or even organs as needed, intravenously into the veins, or even into spinal fluid. All redeployment methods are minimally invasive and can be done in outpatient procedures. Since we are using a patient’s own cells, there is no risk of rejection or allergenic reactions that are common in many other procedures.
Will my treatment work, and how long will it take?
Adult stem-cell treatments are currently considered experimental and are not completely understood, how well a patient responds to our treatments will be different in each case and depends greatly on the disease or condition and how severe the case may be. There are regulations by the FDA which will not allow AmpliCell Medical to make any direct claims about the curing or treating any diseases specifically, but, if you want to consult about the procedure, we can lay out expectations based on research data and actual cases prior to treatment.
Stem cells are part of your body’s natural healing process and can take time for effects to take place; however, some conditions can see immediate results.
Who is eligible as a candidate for treatment?
Only specific medical conditions and problems are being treated by AmpliCell Medical at this time. Patients who want to have the treatment done must be medically stable and may be not be able to participate due to the nature and severity of their condition. Any patients that have uncontrolled cancers or active infections are not able to undergo the SVF (Stromal Vascular Fraction) procedure and must have their conditions treated before undergoing the procedure. Another consideration is that patients with bleeding disorders or taking blood-thinner medication must be evaluated before having treatment. When a patient is selected for the procedure, they must keep in mind that they are taking part in patient-sponsored research, and there are no other incentives other than possible results of the treatment.
Read more at AmpliCell Medical’s FAQ here.
SENS Research Foundation
The Healthy Life Extension Society
International Longevity Alliance
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages its members to participate in the Longevity Film Competition, whose official website can be found here. The more original attempts exist to convey to the general public the feasibility and desirability of indefinite life extension, and to dispel common misconceptions about it, the sooner we will have the critical mass of public support needed to bring about this most vital goal.
~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, July 15, 2018
We are living in very interesting times, times of constant change. The scientific community is telling us that soon we could enjoy much healthier and longer lives thanks to technological advancements happening at an accelerated rate. The future can be bright and healthy, and we want more people to know about this amazing prospect and want them to get involved in this important mission – the mission of healthy longevity.
However, describing something potentially beautiful is not always easy. We think you can help by making a (very) short movie conveying that a longer and healthier life thanks to sustainable medical interventions, will be a very positive thing for citizens and society alike.
Help us spread the word in the right way, help us make sure people understand this is about health and that for the first time in history the possibility of tackling aging is not science fiction, but science fact.
Join us in this crusade by entering our competition presented by the SENS Research Foundation, The Healthy Life Extension Society and the International Longevity Alliance and not only potentially help saving lots of lives, but also win the first prize of $10,000!
We look forward to your ideas on how to better communicate this important message to the world.
– The Longevity Film Competition team
Even though putting aging under medical control is probably desirable to most humans, this concept is not always clear to everybody.
One of our goals is to use this competition as a vehicle to clarify and demystify some of the misconceptions we hear very often.
You can choose just one or all of them and explain them in any way you choose, using your own language and ideas.
“Aging and disease are two separate things.”
— Aging causes disease, and they should be treated as one. —
As we age, we lose our health. We cannot age and become elderly without eventually getting ill as a result of it. If we live long enough, we will all get sick of one or several of the diseases of aging and eventually succumb to them. When we talk about eliminating aging, we talk about putting this process under medical control so that we don’t have to get sick as we age.
“If I live to a 150, I will be living for a long time in an old, sick body.”
— If these new therapies help us live to a 150, it will only be because they will keep us strong and healthy. —
When we talk about extending our lifespan, we are talking about extending our health. The extension of our life will not happen unless we fix the health problems that come with aging. Once we do this, more longevity will happen as a “side benefit” of being healthier. As we said before, we get sick with aging, and that’s why most of humans die of old age.
So, if we will still be alive at 150, this will mean we will have a better control of the aging process through medical interventions – hence we should not be living in an old sick body.
“Aging is natural, and we shouldn’t tamper with the natural.”
— Combating aging is a great challenge for Humanity, and we have a long history of getting great benefit from tampering with many natural things. —
It is proven that there are endless ‘unnatural’ things created by humans of enormous value and positive outcomes, and we can imagine only a minuscule number of people who would choose to live without them — especially when it has to do with suffering, disease and death.
A few examples of unnatural things we use all the time without questioning much are: pacemakers, antibiotics (to kill natural bacteria), painkillers, cochlear implants, dialysis, plastic surgery, airplanes (it is not natural for us to fly), hair coloring, prosthetic limbs, contact lenses, birth-control methods, and the list goes on forever.
On the other hand, here are some natural things that are definitely bad for us: earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, tornadoes, infectious microorganisms, poisonous plants, predators, venomous creatures, fire, gravity (when we fall), tsunamis, radiation, meteor impacts, etc.
It is time to reason and understand that “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “good”.
“These therapies will only be for the rich.”
— Healthy longevity therapies are being developed for everybody to access. —
Rejuvenation therapies could be as little reserved for rich people as mobile phones, cars, electricity, or vaccination may have been in the beginning. Like for most technological progress, the research may be complicated and expensive, but once the technology becomes available, it will become available for everybody. One good example is that the first Human Genome took $2.7 billion dollars and almost 15 years to complete. In 2001 the price of sequencing a genome was 100 Million dollars; today is under 1000 dollars, and it will keep going down without a doubt. Humanity has never stopped advancing just because it was harder and less cost-effective in the beginning; if we had thought like that, we would probably not have most of the technology that is available for everybody today. That’s one more reason why it’s so important not to delay the development of these cures.
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Filmmaker Duarte Baltazar of Utopian Focus has made available the “I Am Transhuman” T-Shirt for sale on Amazon.com, in an effort to fund the creation of further documentary films about the transhumanist movement. (See an example of a short film by Mr. Baltazar, “The Hedonistic Imperative“.) The U.S. Transhumanist Party offers this announcement to its members as another possibility for raising public awareness of transhumanism as well as spreading the expression and hashtag #IAmTranshuman, part of the Transhuman Present project.
Order the “I Am Transhuman” T-Shirt on Amazon here for the price of $19.99.
Color Options: Black, Asphalt, Royal Blue, Cranberry, and Purple
Various male, female, and child sizes are available.
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Biotechnology Advisor, Dr. Bill Andrews, provides information regarding an innovative effort to fund his longevity research via the new Telomere Coin cryptocurrency. Dr. Andrews has long pursued the goal of lengthening human telomeres and reversing biological aging. The U.S. Transhumanist Party will provide more information regarding the Telomere Coin as it becomes available. The above video was created by the defytime Group. To find out more about defytime and the Telomere Coin, read the whitepaper here. The U.S. Transhumanist Party considers the Telomere Coin to be an Allied Project and looks forward to the results of this innovative approach in raising much-needed funds for the work of Dr. Andrews.
~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, May 8, 2018
Message from Dr. Bill Andrews: The Telomere Coin could be the best opportunity ever to get funding for my research. The Initial Coin Offering (ICO) hasn’t started yet but will in July. But, now there is a pre-sale of the coin underway for investors to buy coins at a lower price. To buy the coins go to http://defytime.group and click “Go to ICO” and then click on “Join Pre-Sale”.
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party has featured this brief video highlighting the thinking of one of our members, transhumanist philosopher David Pearce, on the abolition of suffering. This video, produced by Duarte Baltazar of Utopian Focus, illustrates one possibility for transhumanist messages reaching larger audiences through concise, powerful films that distill particular transhumanist concepts and aspirations.
~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, April 15, 2018
Description by Duarte Baltazar of Utopian Focus: Learn more about Utopian Focus at https://utopianfocus.com.
Excerpt from “The Hedonistic Imperative” by David Pearce. Read the full essay at https://www.hedweb.com.
States of sublime well-being are destined to become the genetically pre-programmed norm of mental health. It is predicted that the world’s last unpleasant experience will be a precisely dateable event.
The Hedonistic Imperative outlines how genetic engineering and nanotechnology will abolish suffering in all sentient life.
The abolitionist project is hugely ambitious but technically feasible. It is also instrumentally rational and morally urgent. The metabolic pathways of pain and malaise evolved because they served the fitness of our genes in the ancestral environment. They will be replaced by a different sort of neural architecture – a motivational system based on heritable gradients of bliss.
States of sublime well-being are destined to become the genetically pre-programmed norm of mental health. It is predicted that the world’s last unpleasant experience will be a precisely dateable event.
Two hundred years ago, powerful synthetic pain-killers and surgical anesthetics were unknown. The notion that physical pain could be banished from most people’s lives would have seemed absurd. Today most of us in the technically advanced nations take its routine absence for granted. The prospect that what we describe as psychological pain, too, could ever be banished is equally counter-intuitive. The feasibility of its abolition turns its deliberate retention into an issue of social policy and ethical choice.
Video Editing, Post-Production and Soundtrack by Duarte Baltazar
Utopian Focus: https://facebook.com/utopianfocus
Narration by Elvis Andrumora
Circle of Synths: https://www.circleofsynths.com
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to announce its alliance with the Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarships (IFERS). Visit the website of IFERS here. See the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s page of Allied Organizations.
Established in 2004, the Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarships (IFERS) is an award-winning California-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity organization dedicated to improving society by providing resources to high-achieving students, scientific researchers, community nonprofit projects, and educational organizations. IFERS believes in changing the world for the better through education, research, and scholarships. Its ultimate goal is to create a better world with lasting peace, prosperity, and universal rights for all.
Newton Lee, the founding president of IFERS, is also the Education and Media Advisor for the U.S. Transhumanist Party and the Chairman of the California Transhumanist Party. Recently he was interviewed and featured by VoyageLA magazine in its article “Meet Newton Lee of Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarships”. Newton mentions the California Transhumanist Party in his response to a question regarding his work:
I am also the founding chairman of the California Transhumanist Party since 2017. We support (1) significant life extension and quality of life improvement achieved through the progress of science and technology, (2) an inclusive cultural, societal, and political atmosphere informed and animated by reason and science to foster peace, prosperity, and universal rights for all, and (3) efforts to use science, technology, and rational discourse to reduce and eliminate various existential risks to the human species.
We look forward to collaborations with IFERS on worthwhile projects that U.S. Transhumanist Party members will be able to participate in so as to advance scientific and technological education and research in order to accelerate the arrival of a brighter future for as many people as possible.
Gennady Stolyarov II
Transhumanism is a philosophy of lofty aspirations and universally applicable substance. Yet, when articulated at its usual level of abstraction, it is often misunderstood, especially if commonplace cultural connotations, myths, and fears from popular fiction inject nefarious undertones into what ought to be seen straightforwardly as a salutary overcoming of (deleterious) human limitations and a dramatic expansion of our potential through the application of science, technology, and rationality. Some accuse transhumanists of being a cabal of Illuminati who somehow secretly run the world. (How is this even possible, I wonder?) Others believe that transhumanists seek to turn humankind into the Borg from Star Trek or to create a dystopia where only a handful of rich Silicon Valley entrepreneurs will live forever at everyone else’s expense. Of course, no transhumanist actually even remotely resembles these stereotypes – and while it would have been quite helpful to have a few more Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as allies, the reality remains that the vast majority of transhumanists, including leaders of the movement, are people of ordinary means and relatively ordinary life situations. Transhumanists as people have much more in common with those who are unaware of, or hold misconceptions regarding, transhumanism than the latter persons think!
So what, then, sets transhumanists apart? Although we are generally people of ordinary means and circumstances, we are also people of extraordinary vision, and we see the world around us as in the midst of technological transformation which not only will have, but is already having, paradigm-shifting effects on everyday life. We are not beholden to status quo bias; we recognize that the present is a transitional state, and that life has not always been like this, nor will it always remain the way it is now.
Until recently, few efforts have been made to illustrate this observation concretely. But dedicated small associations of transhumanists are emerging to show the world what a transhuman present looks like. Through the projects they put into practice, the general public might get a glimpse of a transhuman existence, and in what directions it may head during the coming years and decades.
The Transhuman House and Foundation Library
If today’s technological capabilities were fully integrated into a residence, or even a room inside a residence, what would this look like? The Transhuman House, established in 2017, aims to answer this question. Version 1.0 of the Transhuman House opened to the public in Provo, Utah, in June 2017, even including an option for guests to rent a room via AirBnB. (See images from a 3D tour of Version 1.0 here.) The Transhuman House contains a showcase of emerging technologies, such as Nest, Alexa, and the Microsoft HoloLens. While observing and interacting with these examples of today’s devices – which either are already available or soon will become available for consumer adoption – visitors have the opportunity to read and study works from the Foundation Library – a wide-ranging collection of philosophical, scientific, technological, and fictional works exploring the ideas of transhumanism as well as visions of potential futures and specific pathways toward bringing those futures into being. In November 2017 the Transhuman House expanded into Version 2.0, moving into a larger (3-bedroom) building and adding touch screens and a giant touch-operable wall panel with which visitors can interact to learn about ongoing projects by transhumanist entrepreneurs and activists. Might most residences ten years in the future look somewhat like the Transhuman House? Now that there is a concrete illustration of what is possible even today, visitors have the opportunity to ponder the question of its wider applicability. The creators of the Transhuman House have given us a glimpse into what everyday life might look like with the emerging “transhuman” technologies more fully integrated into it. Some of these technologies are already available to consumers – so if you would like to create your own partial version of a “Transhuman House”, you may have the opportunity to begin setting up some of the components today.
Zero State – The Alternate Reality Game
The Zero State is a Social Futurist Community – described as “an organization formed in 2011 to work toward the establishment of a pro-technology, Transhumanist, distributed, virtual State. ZS’ motto is ‘Positive Social Change Through Technology’.” As one of the Zero State’s co-founders, Dirk Bruere, explains, the primary meaning of the name “Zero State” is “the lowest energy state of a system, the place to which everything returns when the energy runs out.” The Zero State has had several incarnations, the latest of which is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), whose fictional premise is that the participants are representatives of twelve technologically advanced Houses, which have become the dominant influences in a post-dystopian late 21st century – a new era subsequent to the turmoil that (in this fictional timeline) would characterize the proximate future. The real-world application of the game involves members of the twelve Zero State Houses undertaking projects today which would enable the more salutary aspects of that distant future to take shape. Through the approach of gamification and interesting storylines woven into concrete projects, it is hoped that this format will motivate more people who are interested in the promise of emerging technologies and their societal impacts to take specific actions to realize the kind of world we would wish to see.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party, of which I am the Chairman, recently initiated a collaboration with the Zero State under the auspices of House Rhadamanth. I anticipate that the gamification format will be particularly useful in achieving projects where large numbers of distributed, volunteer participants are required for success. There is a strong potential for synergies between the Zero State and the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Transhuman Present project, announced below.
The Transhuman Present Project
The U.S. Transhumanist Party represents a broad spectrum of members from throughout the world, who consider themselves transhumanists and who have expressed alignment with our three Core Ideals:
Ideal 1. The Transhumanist Party supports significant life extension achieved through the progress of science and technology.
Ideal 2. The Transhumanist Party supports a cultural, societal, and political atmosphere informed and animated by reason, science, and secular values.
Ideal 3. The Transhumanist Party supports efforts to use science, technology, and rational discourse to reduce and eliminate various existential risks to the human species.
The Transhuman Present project is our next step for reaching out to our members and others who consider themselves transhumanists and inviting them to show us what transhumanism means for them in their own lives. Participation is easy and available in a variety of formats. Here is how to get involved:
Contributions to the project are open to the general public, and one does not need to be a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party in order to contribute. However, the U.S. Transhumanist Party reserves the right to curate any submissions and to assemble videos, collages, or other media using the content therein. Furthermore, by making a submission, the content creator grants the U.S. Transhumanist Party and any of its Officers a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive right to use and distribute the content at their discretion, without any further requirement of additional permissions or express or implied compensation.
Because the U.S. Transhumanist Party is an all-volunteer, non-monetary organization, the contributions to the Transhuman Present project will not receive monetary compensation, but they are likely to receive public exposure and may benefit the contributor through increased recognition and inspiration for others to adopt the contributor’s ideas and values toward the realization of a better future.
Contributions to the Transhuman Present project are open until July 1, 2018, at which time the U.S. Transhumanist Party will compile the results into videos, collages, and potentially other media that will show the world the range of transhumanist endeavors and improvements to living standards that are possible today. While we are a young political party, and the road toward winning elections is a long one, we can profoundly influence public opinion much sooner by providing a reputable and appealing vision of what is possible if our principles are put into practice.
Gennady Stolyarov II, FSA, ACAS, MAAA, CPCU, ARe, ARC, API, AIS, AIE, AIAF, is the Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party. Find out more about Mr. Stolyarov here.
Gennady Stolyarov II
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to announce its incipient collaboration with a Social Futurist community based in the United Kingdom – the Zero State (ZS) – described as “an organization formed in 2011 to work toward the establishment of a pro-technology, Transhumanist, distributed, virtual State. ZS’ motto is ‘Positive Social Change Through Technology’.” As one of the Zero State’s co-founders, Dirk Bruere, explains, the primary meaning of the name “Zero State” is “the lowest energy state of a system, the place to which everything returns when the energy runs out.”
Given that the U.S. Transhumanist Party strongly supports such pro-technology initiatives as advocated by the Zero State, as well as distributed systems for participation in political processes, throughout its Platform (particularly Article III, Sections V, VI, VIII, IX, XIII) and also supports various forms of political, economic, and cultural experimentation in Article III, Section XXII, our collaboration with the Zero State is a logical fit for implementing our own vision for as many polities throughout the world which open themselves to ambitious experiments in paradigm-shifting technologies.
The most recent incarnation of the Zero State is that of an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), whose premise is described on this page. The game is pursued by twelve Houses, described as follows:
The first five of those are the Core members, each of whom leads their own crew of “subsid” (subsidiary/affiliated) members. The five Core members of each House together comprise a kind of meta-team, known as the House’s Core Team. That Core Team is tasked with establishing their House in the years 12017-12018, by recruiting, developing the House’s internal culture and traditions, and working on projects known as Missions.
Dr. M. Amon Twyman (Ámon Ásentir), who co-founded the Zero State, has kindly designated the use of one of the twelve Zero State Houses – House Rhadamanth – for activities that would further the goals of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. The announcement of this development is available here and reads as follows:
House Rhadamanth has now been joined by Gennady Stolyarov II, who has assumed the Core role of “Anankes Atraktos” (a Greek term from Plato‘s Republic, meaning “Spindle of Necessity“). Gennady is Chairperson of the US Transhumanist Party, Chief Executive of the Nevada Transhumanist Party, and much more besides. This connection reflects a major development in House Rhadamanth’s focus and culture, which has now expanded from drones and robotics to Transhumanism in general, and which hinges on direct support for and collaboration with the Transhumanist Party, both in the US and internationally.
House Rhadamanth is now seeking both additional Core Members and Subsidiary Members to populate it. The purpose of this arrangement will be to engage transhumanists, futurists, and life-extensionists to pursue, in a “gamified” manner, the projects that will advance the objectives of the U.S. Transhumanist Party in the real world, all the while strengthening the network of connections and beneficial interactions among future-oriented thinkers throughout the world. If you are interested in joining, please e-mail Gennady Stolyarov II here. We are interested in 10 other individuals who would be able to devote a reasonable amount of time to actively advancing ongoing projects such as the following:
We welcome ideas for any other projects that could be pursued in this “gamified” format as well. Much of the Alternate Reality Game remains to be developed, but the early participants will have the opportunity to shape many of its parameters and contents. The U.S. Transhumanist Party sees promise in this additional way to strengthen ties within the international transhumanist movement and explore opportunities for collaborative endeavors among transhumanists and futurists of various persuasions and backgrounds.
Gennady Stolyarov II is the Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party. Read more about Mr. Stolyarov here.
Gennady Stolyarov II
Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party, discusses why longevity research is crucial, and how our generation stands on the threshold of finally dealing a decisive blow to the age-old enemies of aging and death, which have destroyed great human minds since the emergence of our species.
This video is part of the #IAmTheLifespan campaign, coordinated by Lifespan.io and the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF) for Longevity Month, October 2017. Read more about this campaign here.
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.
Martin van der Kroon
AgeMeter is a project that intends to develop a functional age test to validate interventions through a low-cost, modular touch screen device that would integrate multiple cognitive & biometric assessment technologies. At this moment AgeMeter is doing a crowdfunding campaign on Lifespan.io with the intended goal of raising $30,000. At the moment of writing the pledged amount for funding AgeMeter stands at $22,590, leaving $7,410 to go, with only 4 days left on the clock to reach the funding goal.
But why am I telling you this, and why would AgeMeter be an important tool to further longevity? Glad you asked!
The folks at AgeMeter explain clearly why it is important to realize this project:
“The AgeMeterTM device will measure functional biomarkers of participants, estimating the age at which a person physically functions, enabling researchers to validate measurements from genetic and biochemical aging interventions and reliably compare results across subjects, studies and approaches.
Many laboratories have published results indicating the reversal or delay of various biomarkers of aging in model organisms and human cells, including cellular biomarkers such as telomere length, epigenome methylation status, expression of proteins specific to senescent cells and others, as well as morphological and functional tests, such as appearance, gait and balance, memory tests, etc. Thus far, however, there has been no fully integrated approach that can easily collect a variety of different data points from human participants, reliably correlating the output to functional age and comparing this against chronological age.
Being able to easily evaluate the effectiveness of a potential aging treatment in this way will allow longevity research to proceed at a faster rate, because meaningful data in regards to lifespan effect can be gathered in the middle of a study, not just at the end.”
Elliot Small from the Center for Age Control gives a thorough explanation of what AgeMeter is:
Furthermore, the AgeMeter project has been endorsed as a reputable initiative by LongeCity ensuring, that if you wish to donate, your donation is used as intended.
Of course there are many spectacular developments in longevity, such as gene-editing, and so on. It is, however, important to remember that with insufficient research and data all these high-profile innovations are much less useful, and can even do harm. We might compare it to a patient going into surgery; The surgeon can only do his or her best work if the M.D. has correctly diagnosed the patient.
That is why AgeMeter is important, and needs your help with funding!
United States Transhumanist Party
According to Article 3, Section V of the Constitution of the United States Transhumanist Party:
“The United States Transhumanist Party supports concerted research in effort to eradicate disease and illness that wreak havoc upon and cause death of sapient beings. We strongly advocate the increase and redirection of research funds to conduct research and experiments and to explore life, science, technology, medicine, and extraterrestrial realms to improve all sentient entities.”
Which is why the U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to announce the official launch of the fundraising campaign for the MouseAge project. MouseAge is a longevity-based project started by one of our Allied Organizations, Lifespan.io, of which we’ll provide relevant information below:
Elena Milova and Keith Comito
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to share this infographic from our friends at the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF), one of the Transhumanist Party’s most active Allied Organizations. Life-extension advocates Elena Milova and Keith Comito have compiled a set of tips for communicating ideas regarding the progress of medical science and technology, for the pursuit of healthy life extension, in such a manner as to enable many in the general public to understand and sympathize with our goals and the science behind them. We encourage you to distribute this infographic to any activists and advocates who you think would benefit from the advice therein.
Aubrey de Grey and Life Extension Advocacy Foundation
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to feature this interview of Dr. Aubrey de Grey, the Transhumanist Party’s Anti-Aging Advisor, conducted by Elena Milova of the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF), one of the Transhumanist Party’s most active Allied Organizations. You can also see this interview on YouTube here.
Description by LEAF: Please enjoy this interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer and Co-founder of SENS Research Foundation — one of the most successful advocacy and fundraising initiatives supporting breakthrough research on the main mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases.
In this video Dr. de Grey speaks about the progress in developing interventions to tackle age-related damages identified by SENS as the main ones.
Interviewer – LEAF/Lifespan.io Board member Elena Milova.
Dr. de Grey received his BA in Computer Science and Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000, respectively. He is Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research , is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organizations.
Subscribe to Lifespan.io’s YouTube channel for more.
This interview is presented by LEAF. Please support its work by becoming a “Lifespan Hero“.
Lifespan.io and CellAge
The Transhumanist Party supports Lifespan.io and CellAge in their work towards groundbreaking scientific life-extension research. Finding a way to repair age-related damage to senescent cells would be a fundamental breakthrough for transhumanism, and we offer our best wishes and support for those striving towards these new technologies.
Here is an update from Lifespan.io and CellAge:
If you haven’t already noticed, our latest Campaign, CellAge, has been having a bit of difficulty in reaching its funding goal. So, in order to solve that problem, we asked all our backers from previous campaigns for feedback on how we can improve the current CellAge campaign.
We’ve gotten a staggering number of responses (which we’re still personally replying to) and have compiled all the reasons into one big, dramatic “what could have gone better” spreadsheet.
One of those reasons was that CellAge did not have a fund match.
CellAge is now endorsed by LongeCity. And they’re running a Fund Match up to $3000.
For those who don’t know, LongeCity is one of the oldest, most respected international pro-longevity organizations. Their exclusive forum boasts thousands of individuals learning, discussing and sharing latest breakthroughs of anything that has to do with slowing down aging.
Apart from generously contributing $800 right away, LongeCity is also running an internal fund match: anything donated via this special page before the 18th of February, will be doubled up to $3000.
To have them support CellAge means that they understand the significance of its success.
What makes this even more exciting is that CellAge has managed to secure additional external funding for their project, which means that they will be able to achieve the same goals even sooner.
The initial goal will now be $20,000, with all stretch goals being reduced as well.
Having raised over $15,000 so far, along with the fund match, means we’re incredibly close to successfully funding CellAge’s exciting research.
Just a quick refresher: CellAge is using customised synthetic biology to develop cutting edge ways to detect and destroy senescent cells, which contribute to age-related diseases. By developing this technology we will be able to give researchers a superior tool for finding senescent cells, and improving the quality of stem cell therapies.
Ultimately this will lead to a better way to remove problem senescent cells without the side effects traditional small molecules inevitably cause. In short, this technology can help start a revolution in medical research and a leap in how we treat age-related diseases for a healthier future.
If you’re still undecided, remember, every dollar you put into the LongeCity match will become two for CellAge.
-The Lifespan Team
Gennady Stolyarov II
The Transhumanist Party is pleased to announce the revitalization of an ongoing official activism project – one that all members, irrespective of geographical location, can easily join. This is a project that utilizes our favored approach of direct, individually attainable action toward the creation of a brighter future.
You can personally help advance the fight against a multitude of diseases – such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and many cancers.
The Longevity Meme Folding@home team – a group of volunteers who donate their computing power to perform protein-folding simulations that could one day result in cures for major diseases and the lengthening of human lifespans – has been operating for years, contributing otherwise idle computer resources to actual meaningful biological research.
To take part in this effort, just download the client for the Folding@home project at http://folding.stanford.edu/. Then join The Longevity Meme team here, and your computer will do the rest over time. I have personally been engaged in this effort for over six years.
If you would like a digital reward for contributing to this project, I am able to give five levels of digital Open Badges via Credly. Here is a page describing the various tiers of badges. Once you have reached the requisite number of Folding@home points to claim each badge, just contact me via e-mail here with a message that includes your user name and an e-mail address.
The Transhumanist Party supports Lifespan.io and CellAge in their work towards groundbreaking scientific life-extension research. Finding a way to repair age-related damage to senescent cells would be a fundamental breakthrough for transhumanism, and we offer our best wishes and support for those striving towards these new technologies.
From Lifespan.io and CellAge:
Our society has never aged more rapidly – one of the most visible symptoms of the changing demographics is the exponential increase in the incidence of age-related diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases and osteoarthritis. Not only does aging have a negative effect on the quality of life among the elderly but it also causes a significant financial strain on both private and public sectors. As the proportion of older people is increasing so is health care spending. According to a WHO analysis, the annual number of new cancer cases is projected to rise to 17 million by 2020, and reach 27 million by 2030. Similar trends are clearly visible in other age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Few effective treatments addressing these challenges are currently available and most of them focus on a single disease rather than adopting a more holistic approach to aging.
Recently a new approach which has the potential of significantly alleviating these problems has been validated by a number of in vivo and in vitro studies. It has been demonstrated that senescent cells (cells which have ceased to replicate due to stress or replicative capacity exhaustion) are linked to many age-related diseases. Furthermore, removing senescent cells from mice has been recently shown to drastically increase mouse healthspan (a period of life free of serious diseases).
Here at CellAge we are working hard to help translate these findings into humans!
CellAge, together with a leading synthetic biology partner, Synpromics, are poised to develop a technology allowing for the identification and removal of harmful senescent cells. Our breakthrough technology will benefit both the scientific community and the general public.
In short, CellAge is going to develop synthetic promoters which are specific to senescent cells, as promoters that are currently being used to track senescent cells are simply not good enough to be used in therapies. The most prominently used p16 gene promoter has a number of limitations, for example. First, it is involved in cell cycle regulation, which poses a danger in targeting cells which are not diving but not senescent either, such as quiescent stem cells. Second, organism-wide administration of gene therapy might at present be too dangerous. This means senescent cells only in specific organs might need to be targeted and p16 promoter does not provide this level of specificity. Third, the p16 promoter is not active in all senescent cells. Thus, after therapies utilizing this promoter, a proportion of senescent cells would still remain. Moreover, the p16 promoter is relatively large (2.1kb), making it difficult to incorporate in present gene therapy vehicles. Lastly, to achieve the intended therapeutic effect the strength of p16 promoter to drive therapeutic effect might not be high enough.
CellAge will be constructing a synthetic promoter which has a potential to overcome all of the mentioned limitations. A number of gene therapy companies, including uniQure, AGTC and Avalanche Biotech have successfully targeted other types of cells using this technology. With your help, we will be able to use same technology to develop tools and therapies for accurate senescent cell targeting.