Futurisms: Critiquing the project to reengineer humanity

Friday, November 13, 2009

The more you know... (about radical life extension)

Keep your eyes peeled when you're using Hulu and Vimeo these days and you may notice the latest step in the life-extension crowd's attempt to march into the mainstream. The Methuselah Foundation has created four "public service announcements" that are now in rotation on the two sites.
The four spots are here, here, here, and here.
NOTE: The original ending to this post has been removed, as it referred to possibly misleading identifying details from a previous post, which have also been removed. See the postscript to that post here.


  1. Its called marketing. The photo you showed of Roger giving the "bird" to aging is one of him around a group of insiders is analogous to a group of guys in a sports bar "high fiving" each other when their favorite team scores a 90 yard kick return for a touchdown. The videos that you link to are examples of marketing targeted towards the outside market. You should be able to understand the difference between the two and the appropriateness of each one for its given context and situation.

  2. Their logo looks eerily like that of Mittleos Bioscience.

  3. Specifically the logo in the end of the second video matches this.

  4. The reason why I have considered writing my book is not because I feel the need to "justify" post-mortality to our doubters, but because I believe that the development of post-mortality is necessary to prevent the collapse of the West (and East Asia) within the next 40 years. The social conservative writers such as Mark Steyn are correct that aging populations, rising costs of caring for "old" people, and the decline of birth rates are the long term serious problem we face. Unlike Steyn, I believe post-mortality can solve all of these problems in one fell swoop. The purpose of my book will be to present this case.

  5. @Kurt9: While immortality could help deal with a lot of sociological problem, I doubt it could be a miracle cure like what you seem to expect. You have not detailed your arguments however so I might not be well positioned for a debate. Yet, I think that while immortality could solve a lot of problems, it will, in my opinion, cause more. Immortality isn't a simple matter but again, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages as there's no greater loss than death.

  6. @Ann: Very nice catch. An eerie case of life imitating Lost? Or probably the other way around, since the MFoundation has been around longer. I wonder if that was intentional, and if radical life extension is going to play into the show somehow.

    @kurt9: According to the author of the original post, that image was displayed on Mr. Holzberg's Facebook account. It's not clear what sort of privacy settings it was under — but in any case, a photo intentionally placed on a web site belonging to a director of an institution, particularly a photo which makes a statement about that institution's aims, is hardly the same thing as a spontaneous display in a private venue. And the distinction between honest statements and marketing by transhumanists is precisely what I was getting at in the post.

  7. @Ari: Oh, I agree. I certainly would not have put such a picture on my website if it was me.
    I'm not sure its that much of a problem. Indeed, it may even appeal to testosterone-driven males that are not offended by such displays.

    @Simon: Whatever new problems that are brought about by post-mortality, we will have plenty of time to deal with them by virtue of being post-mortal. Besides, whatever problems that might come about, dealing with them is still preferable to death itself.

  8. A most interesting thread. The "finger" picture is actually a photoshop exercise done by an Mfoundation volunteer and sent to me. It's my face pasted on the head of a finger wagging body - but it did make me smile enough to post it on my FB page where it was nabbed. And, to some degree, it does capture my personal sense of outrage and anger about the general populations refusal to deal with aging as a disease. And I'm glad to see the distinction made here about “marketing”, because that’s precisely what the commercials and the picture are. We had some real trepidation about the “Aging Sucks!” commercial, but we truly want to extend the Mfoundation message (and support) into the more mainstream population and the campaign is working very well for us – that commercial in particular – driving some very real click-throughs to the Mfoundation website and newsletter subscriptions as well.


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