Those Who Say They Can’t Are Usually Right

In the MIT Technology Review Celine Halioua, CEO and founder of Loyal a company working on dog longevity said the antiagig field has “suffered from a branding issue” owing to outlandish claims made in the 1990s and 2000s. “Big names [Aubrey de Grey] in the field were yelling about 1,000-year life spans and immortality,” she…
Those Who Say They Can’t Are Usually Right

In the MIT Technology Review Celine Halioua, CEO and founder of Loyal a company working on dog longevity said the antiagig field has “suffered from a branding issue” owing to outlandish claims made in the 1990s and 2000s. “Big names [Aubrey de Grey] in the field were yelling about 1,000-year life spans and immortality,” she says. “To be clear, we’re not creating 1,000-year-old dogs.”

Celine Halioua is very likely correct in that she and her company will not create radical longevity. Just as those who said the World will not need need more than six computers, men will never fly or going into space is impossible were correct. Those who said it could not be done were not part of getting it done.

But maybe Celine is the exception. The famous exception being Wilbur Wright saying in 1901 that men would fly for 50 years.

Celine Halioua misrepresents what Aubrey de Grey said and wrote. Aubrey wrote papers about Longevity Escape velocity. IF we can reverse aging damage in a comprehensive way then we can achieve radical life extension. There is no chance of anyone working on partial and minor aging mitigation resulting in significant life extension.

Nextbigfuture has frequently talked to Aubrey de Grey over the past two decades. Here is a recent interview.

Here is some of what Aubrey wrote and said about 20 years ago about longevity escape velocity.


In practice, therefore, therapies that rejuvenate 60-year-olds by 20 years will not work so well the second time around. When the therapies are applied for the first time, the people receiving them will have 60 years of “easy” damage (the types that the therapies can remove) and also 60 years of “difficult” damage. But by the time beneficiaries of these therapies have returned to biologically 60 (which, let’s presume, will happen when they’re chronologically about 80), the damage their bodies contain will consist of 20 years of “easy” damage and 80 years of “difficult” damage. Thus, the therapies will only rejuvenate them by a much smaller amount, say ten years. So they’ll have to come back sooner for the third treatment, but that will benefit them even less… and very soon, just like Achilles catching up with the tortoise in Zeno’s paradox, aging will get the better of them.

That’s not to say it’ll be easy, though. It’ll take time, just as it took time to get from the Wright Flyer to Concorde. And that is why, if you want to live to 1000, you can count yourself lucky that you’re a human and not a mouse. Let me take you through the scenario, step by step.

Suppose we develop Robust Mouse Rejuvenation in 2016 [NBF now say 2031], and we take a few dozen two-year-old mice and duly treble their one-year remaining lifespans. That will mean that, rather than dying in 2017 [NBF 2032] as they otherwise would, they’ll die in 2019 [NBF 2034]. Well, maybe not—in particular, not if we can develop better therapies by 2018 that re-treble their remaining lifespan (which will by now be down to one year again). But remember, they’ll be harder to repair the second time: their overall damage level may be the same as before they received the first therapies, but a higher proportion of that damage will be of types that those first therapies can’t fix. So we’ll only be able to achieve that re-trebling if the therapies we have available by 2018 [NBF 2033] are considerably more powerful than those that we had in 2016 [NBF 2031]. And to be honest, the chance that we’ll improve the relevant therapies that much in only two years is really pretty slim. In fact, the likely amount of progress in just two years is so small that it might as well be considered zero. Thus, our murine heroes will indeed die in 2019 [NBF 2034] (or 2020 at best) [NBF 2035], despite our best efforts.

But now, suppose we develop Robust Human Rejuvenation in 2031 [NBF 2041], and we take a few dozen 60-year-old humans and duly double their 30-year remaining lifespans. By the time they come back in (say) 2051 [NBF 2061], biologically 60 again but chronologically 80, they’ll need better therapies, just as the mice did in 2018 [NBF 2033]. But luckily for them, we’ll have had not two but twenty years to improve the therapies. And 20 years is a very respectable period of time in technology—long enough, in fact, that we will with very high probability have succeeded in developing sufficient improvements to the 2031 [NBF 2041] therapies so that those 80-year-olds can indeed be restored from biologically 60 to biologically 40, or even a little younger, despite their enrichment (relative to 2031 [NBF 2041]) in harder-to-repair types of damage. So unlike the mice, these humans will have just as many years (20 or more) of youth before they need third-generation treatments as they did before the second.

In 2020, Dr. David Sinclair did the reversing of aging on mice eyes. But it was a test on mice manipulated to age faster.

Significant life extension in the past with the introduction of sanitation, clean water, antibiotics and vaccines did result in life expectancy increasing from 30s to about 80 today.

Life expectancy of 94 is already here for Asian women in New Jersey, Massachusetts and some other states. It is also the life expectancy for women in Monaco. Asian men in the US, Singapore have life expectancy of 85+ and some up to 90.

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