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VIDEO: "Lifespans Are Long Enough" (Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates, Feb 3rd)

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Fora.tv link is here (full-length video stream):

http://library.fora.tv/2016/02/03/Lifespans_Are_Long_Enough

http://bcove.me/12va7jw8

 
Partner:
Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates
 
Location:
Kaufman Center
New York, New York
 
Event Date:
02.03.16
 
Speakers:
Aubrey de Grey,
Brian Kennedy,
Paul Root Wolpe,
Ian Ground
 

 

What if we didn’t have to grow old and die? The average American can expect to live for 78.8 years, an improvement over the days before clean water and vaccines, when life expectancy was closer to 50, but still not long enough for most of us. So researchers around the world have been working on arresting the process of aging through biotechnology and finding cures to diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. What are the ethical and social consequences of radically increasing lifespans? Should we accept a “natural” end, or should we find a cure to aging?

 

 

Parent site:

http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/upcoming-debates/item/1493-lifespans-are-long-enough

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Thanks Khurram,

 

That was an interesting debate. It was good to see Aubrey (and his debate partner, the head of the Buck Institute) win against the motion "lifespans are long enough", both in terms of absolute numbers (40% FOR vs. 49% AGAINST) and in terms of delta votes between the starting and ending opinions of the live audience (+8% FOR vs. +13% AGAINST). It's not surprising to me that people voting online at the site you point to are overwhelmingly AGAINST the motion "lifespans are long enough" (11% FOR vs 89% AGAINST).

 

In the debate the team arguing against lifespan extension trotted out the usual argument:

  • Life wouldn't have meaning if it didn't have an ending
  • People have to die to make way for the youth, and for new ideas
  • Scarce resources limit the carrying capacity of the planet
  • People don't really want it - when you ask elderly people, they say they wouldn't want to live to 150+

Aubrey skillfully counter these arguments, all of which he's heard and refuted hundreds of times before. Well worth watching for anyone who hasn't heard Aubrey make the case for life extension against skeptical criticism.

 

--Dean

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 It's not surprising to me that people voting online at the site you point to are overwhelmingly AGAINST the motion "lifespans are long enough" (11% FOR vs 89% AGAINST).

 

Didn't notice the website poll.

I think the live audience comprised of more general-audience "species" than those online.

 

Alas, Aubrey's side lost the debate at Oxford univ. in 2012...

 

A public debate organized by Oxford University Science Society, held in the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford on April 25th, 2012.
 
Yes, not defeating aging is the more popular option at one of the world's finest academic institutions and even among its Science Society at that! That said,  the opposing (against defeating) speaker at Oxford was better than the recent IQ2 speakers arguing the same "side".
 
Weird ... maybe this is a form of Nature's behavioral programming (Nature protecting itself via "terror management" or pro-aging trance ).
 
Refs:
 

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Guest Maddie

One of the things that people are dumbest about is their entrenched notion that a longer lifespan means a longer retirement and debility.

 

We've been increasing lifespans recently far more effectively than healthspans, and that IS a problem, but to get a greater lifespan beyond this point will mean a greater healthspan, too.  On population:  We are on the edge of a demographic collapse.  It's not going to happen until next century, but all population-based arguments are bunk.  Increasing healthspans will be critical to blunt the effect.  An increased healthspan will also mean that more people will be willing to have more children, allowing a stable future population.  Right now, the permanent economic sacrifice of having more kids is so great that people avoid it in first world countries to the point that we will have a dramatically shrinking population in the future without changes, which will be bad for everyone.

 

Right now, the production vs. consumption ratio is the worst that it's ever been.  People start supporting themselves around the age of 22 in Western countries, on average, and intend to retire at 65.  With a median lifespan of 83 around the age of 60 (US), that means you have 43 unproductive years versus 43 productive ones.  C.f. when adults died in their early 50s and began work fulltime around the age of 15.  They would have 17 unproductive years versus 40 productive ones.  Old-age debility is a huge economic drain that needs to be reversed, until we are at a 1:2 productive/unproductive ratio, minimum.  Healthspan-increasing measures will help do this.

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Maddie (& other guests),

 

Please do everyone a favor and create an account and log in, rather than logging in as guest - even if you want to remain anonymous. I've just had to go through and approve all your interesting, guest-account posts individually, and it's a pain for me, and delays your posts getting seen.

 

You wrote:

Old-age debility is a huge economic drain that needs to be reversed, until we are at a 1:2 productive/unproductive ratio, minimum.  Healthspan-increasing measures will help do this.

 

I agree old-age debility is a huge burden. I think you meant 2:1 productive/unproductive ratio.

 

Of course, if/when the artificial intelligences & robots come for all our jobs, that could throw a real monkey wrench into any hope of making everyone productive contributors to the economy...

 

It's quite remarkable the progress being made on self-driving cars, artificial intelligence (e.g. the self-taught AlphaGo program beating world champion Go player) and most scary, bipedal robots like the one in the video below. Note all three of these advances are brought to you by Google...

 

--Dean

 

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