The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

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K. A. Pital
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Re: The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-06-07 12:30pm

Blood transfusions aren't the most tested thing either, but there are those willing to experiment.
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Re: The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-08 10:46am

Uh... now blood transfusions are very well tested.

If you're talking about the 1800s, before blood typing was understood, well yes there were people willing to test it, and a lot of them died. They generally tried it because they were desperate- say, already dying of blood loss.

This is different. Almost nobody's going to agree to have their children modified with an immortality treatment that has a 50% chance of killing them, or where the risks cannot be at least plausibly evaluated.
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Re: The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-06-08 12:39pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-08 10:46am
Uh... now blood transfusions are very well tested.

If you're talking about the 1800s, before blood typing was understood, well yes there were people willing to test it, and a lot of them died. They generally tried it because they were desperate- say, already dying of blood loss.

This is different. Almost nobody's going to agree to have their children modified with an immortality treatment that has a 50% chance of killing them, or where the risks cannot be at least plausibly evaluated.
His start-up, Ambrosia, is charging about $8,000 a pop for blood transfusions from people under 25, Karmazin said at Code Conference on Wednesday. Ambrosia, which buys its blood from blood banks, now has about 100 paying customers. Some are Silicon Valley technologists, like Thiel, though Karmazin stressed that tech types aren’t Ambrosia’s only clients, and that anyone over 35 is eligible for its transfusions.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/06 ... teen-blood
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Re: The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-11 07:56am

Ah. I see. I thought you were talking about blood transfusions in general, as a life-saving and thus life-extending medical treatment.

The belief that transfusions from young patients would rejuvenate old patients has been around in one form or another for a long time. It is, so far as the scientific community knows, superstition.

The thing is, people are willing to experiment with receiving blood from young donors because they know that it is safe. They know a blood transfusion, carefully screened for infectious diseases and administered in a laboratory or clinical setting, is very unlikely to kill them. They would not necessarily be so eager to give their children a genetic modification via CRISPR that might increase their children's lifespan by 50% or might cause them to be healthy as a horse for twenty years after which point they predictably drop dead of cancer.
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Re: The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-06-11 03:54pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-11 07:56am
Ah. I see. I thought you were talking about blood transfusions in general, as a life-saving and thus life-extending medical treatment.

The belief that transfusions from young patients would rejuvenate old patients has been around in one form or another for a long time. It is, so far as the scientific community knows, superstition.

The thing is, people are willing to experiment with receiving blood from young donors because they know that it is safe. They know a blood transfusion, carefully screened for infectious diseases and administered in a laboratory or clinical setting, is very unlikely to kill them. They would not necessarily be so eager to give their children a genetic modification via CRISPR that might increase their children's lifespan by 50% or might cause them to be healthy as a horse for twenty years after which point they predictably drop dead of cancer.
The side effects may not be explicitly advertised (especially if they are unknown). But the positives will be used for marketing. Nobody has perfect knowledge of product safety and long-term use effects are not adequately studied even for fairly simple medicines which are used now.
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Re: The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-12 08:55am

Now you're grasping at straws.

The exact people you propose will have a monopoly on life-extension medical techniques (the rich and powerful) are exactly the class of people most able to penetrate veils of misinformation and marketing nonsense, not least because they can hire professionals specifically to analyze the available information as known among the medical community, not just what's in the advertising brochure. If there is ANY class of decision they will be incentivized to make carefully, it will be decisions about whether to subject themselves, or their own children, to risky medical procedures that have unknown long term effects.

The consequence of this is going to be caution about longevity-granting technologies until they have undergone extended clinical trials. There really is no reason to assume that the rush to early-adopt technologies that may kill the patient fast enough to offset any theoretical lifespan advantage will result in the rich getting a massive head start in and of itself.
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Re: The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

Post by LaCroix » 2018-06-12 09:19am

You are proposing that this might in fact result in a lot of poor people getting immortal before any rich people do - because they certainly are needing guinea pigs, right?
A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?" - Captain Seafort, in a thread proposing a 1942 'D-Day' in Quiberon Bay

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Re: The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-06-12 11:38am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-12 08:55am
Now you're grasping at straws.

The exact people you propose will have a monopoly on life-extension medical techniques (the rich and powerful) are exactly the class of people most able to penetrate veils of misinformation and marketing nonsense, not least because they can hire professionals specifically to analyze the available information as known among the medical community, not just what's in the advertising brochure. If there is ANY class of decision they will be incentivized to make carefully, it will be decisions about whether to subject themselves, or their own children, to risky medical procedures that have unknown long term effects.

The consequence of this is going to be caution about longevity-granting technologies until they have undergone extended clinical trials. There really is no reason to assume that the rush to early-adopt technologies that may kill the patient fast enough to offset any theoretical lifespan advantage will result in the rich getting a massive head start in and of itself.
It it was true, some of the rich would not be spending a lot of money on quack medicine. Point made, and if you disagree, fine.
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Re: The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-12 02:35pm

The thing is, rich people can afford to spend exorbitant sums of money on things that almost certainly don't work, as long as those things are not dangerous. A blood transfusion, once it's been tested for infection, is on the whole not dangerous. Homeopathic remedies, which by definition are effectively inert, are not dangerous. Drinking swamp water, another infamous fad that a few Silicon Valley types went in for for a while? Strictly speaking dangerous but very unlikely to kill or cripple you if you have access to modern conventional medical care.

Altering your child's brain structure in unknown ways that have never been tried in anyone old enough to have reached maturity? That is a dangerous gamble.

There may be individual reckless but wealthy cranks and eccentrics willing to take the gamble, but they will not represent the elite class as a whole. Expect the bulk of the elite to start biomodding their children one generation later. after they have reason to expect the biomods to be beneficial. The same goes for any immortality treatment requiring genetic engineering. Other practices, such as uploading into computers, might be adopted more quickly if confirmation of safety can be had sooner.

There's a big difference between what the rich can be persuaded to risk money on, when they have preposterous heaps of wealth and money is little more than a status symbol to them, and what the rich can be persuaded to risk life on.
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Re: The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

Post by Ralin » 2018-06-13 02:36am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-06-12 08:55am
The consequence of this is going to be caution about longevity-granting technologies until they have undergone extended clinical trials. There really is no reason to assume that the rush to early-adopt technologies that may kill the patient fast enough to offset any theoretical lifespan advantage will result in the rich getting a massive head start in and of itself.
Caution, leavened by the fact that they and their families all have a ticking clock in the background. Whatever form these hypothetical lifespan-extending technologies take it's entirely possible that they'll be less effective past a certain age, or even only effective at an early age. You only get one chance to biomod your kid for immortality or Methuselah-hood in the womb, and unless you had strong reasons to suspect it would have fatal side-effects your risk calculus is going have to include the possibility that you will be literally dooming yourself/your kids to death if you don't seize the opportunity.

I mean, you can have more kids or grandkids later, but just imagine how resentful the first batch would be.

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Re: The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-06-13 11:50am

If it were a simple matter of "flip this genetic marker to grant immortality," probably so.

It's not going to be that simple. It's going to be a battery of different modifications. No one of them is going to grant biological immortality, realistically; there's going to be a shitload of them and each of them will add like +1 year to lifespan. If I decide to resent my parents for giving me only the package of +1s that they were reasonably sure WORKED instead of just spamming everything that's advertised with shiny pictures and hoping it wouldn't kill me, I'm a complete and utter fool.
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