June 2, 2004

Aubrey in Fortune Magazine, Slashdotted

There was some excitement today in the transhumanist community arising from a Fortune article about Biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey and a subsequent reference on Slashdot. Reason, a life extension advocate and the founder of Longevity Meme, was the man responsible for having the article picked up by Slashdot. Reason's slashdot blurbage:
"Biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey has put forward a biological engineering plan to end human aging and co-founded the Methuselah Mouse Prize in recent years. Now he is finally getting some of the public recognition he deserves in an excellent David Stipp article at Fortune Magazine. If you ever wondered exactly how to go about engineering away the 50 million deaths due to aging that occur each and every year - and how to bring about a sea change in the scientific establishment - then this is the place to start. As an added bonus, I don't think you'll find a more succinct (and utterly British) answer to overpopulation objections to life extension than the one at the end of this article!"
I sent off a quick e-mail to Reason congratulating him, to which he slyly responded:
I think the lesson learned here is that if you want to be slashdotted, mention engineering.
Heh, sad but true. Linux geeks. Hey, wait a minute, I'm a Linux geek ;-)

Future Pundit posted an interesting blog entry about the Fortune article:
It is great that a mainstream business magazine is publicizing these ideas. As anyone who has been reading FuturePundit for a while must know by now, I share Aubrey's views about what is possible to achieve in human rejuvenation. Also, he is right to argue that we are not trying anywhere near as hard as we should to develop rejuvenation therapies given the excellent prospects for success within the lifetimes of many people now alive. So big is the potential pay-off that the failure to make the big push for rejuvenation is surely the biggest mistake in science policy now being made by the United States and the other developed countries.

On the bright side, some of the problems being worked on with the goal of treating various diseases are going to contribute toward the set of therapies that Aubrey has outlined as Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. For instance, all the work on stem cells and tissue engineering builds toward the ability to grow replacement organs and to send in stem cells to replace cells lost from the accumulation of damage that comes with aging. Also, the continued development of a large range of technologies that accelerate the rate of advance of biological science and biotechnology are making it easier to develop rejuvenation therapies. So there are rays of hope in spite of the pessimistic and obviously wrong conventional wisdom that still guides biomedical researchg funding policy in the United States and other developed countries.
Aubrey will be joining us at TransVision 2004 later this summer. He'll be launching the conference with a talk on the morning of Saturday August 7.

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