Life Extension

Immortality, Inc. 

Meet the wild dreamers and wealthy financiers striving for human immortality.

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Former CNN bureau chief Chip Walter starts his book Immortality, Inc., an examination of the wild dreamers and wealthy financiers striving for human immortality, at Alcor. That's where heads and bodies of the dead lie frozen, awaiting a possible future in which they can be revived.

Alcor's customers are still dead, and no magic bullet treatments have meaningfully halted or reversed the cellular and bodily decay we know as aging. The most important thing we've learned is that calorie restriction (or treatments that emulate its effects) seem the most promising, if not joyous, path to life extension.

Like space travel, human life extension has seen loads of visionary speculation spun and cash burned with promises mostly unfulfilled. Walter ends his book convinced that Silicon Valley moneymen and their scientist partners are indeed on the cusp of using genomics and artificial intelligence to deliver a near-endless human life; his reporting doesn't quite deliver on the optimism. But if aging is halted or reversed it will be because of the manias of his subjects, a small group of people and companies—including Google and Human Longevity Inc. (co-founded by Human Genome Project superstar Craig Venter)—with enough wealth to risk wagers on the impossible.

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  1. The side effect of being a miserable atheistic evangelist prick is that you need to cling desperately to your life because it lacks any meaning or significance, so you replace religious fervor with pseudo-scientific fever dreams of immortality.

    1. being alive is instinctive.

      1. Fighting to stay alive is instinctive. Being alive results from a combination of luck and hard work.

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    2. It seems to me that a life filled with meaning is one worth desperately clinging to. And desperately clinging to life is much better than most of the other things people desperately cling to.

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  6. Only spambots are immortal.

  7. So what? I’m poor and insignificant so it won’t do me any good no matter how long we can manage to live.

  8. Having watched history for three score plus years, I ask only “why?”. Unless you are one of these new age touchy feely sort, eventually the world will have changed so much that you’re not going to be comfortable in it. Only those who really believe “change is good” would want to live forever. The rest of us spend a great portion of our effort trying to control our immediate world. Having optimized that small environment, why would one want to change it?

    1. Why? Quality of life worldwide is steadily improving. Options for work, entertainment, study and play are increasing faster than ever. So long as there are still things you want to do and joys you still want to experience, why wouldn’t you want to stave off death indefinitely?

  9. The world would become overpopulated very quickly if any age reversal treatment becomes widely available, or will it only be available to certain Silicon Valley nerds, billionaires, and politicians who are deemed “essential for immortality”? Oh yeah, I forgot, “there will be plenty of room for everyone once we colonize other planets! “

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