(How) should we pursue human longevity?

by mwcvitkovic1 min read24th Oct 2020No comments

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Not written from a purely EA frame, but I'd love EA feedback on the following.

https://milan.cvitkovic.net/writing/longevity/

Citations include @Emanuele_Ascani and @Matthew_Barnett

TL;DR:

  • We shouldn’t overestimate how much we understand aging, and we shouldn’t underestimate how much progress we can make without full understanding.
  • On the margin I agree with Open Phil that basic research and engineering for biotech tools are likely to have the biggest impact on longevity, whether this research is called “longevity research” or not. I’d say this is especially true for tools to do large-scale phenotypic assays. The hard(er) part of building the atomic bomb wasn’t the nuclear physics, it was building the bomb, and I suspect longevity is similar.
  • There are a million problems to be solved in the drug discovery ecosystem that will help achieve human longevity. Solving them may accomplish more for longevity than any direct work on aging at this point.
  • Many problems in the drug discovery ecosystem don’t require primary expertise in biological science. And most of them aren’t specific to longevity and require no explicit association with longevity. This is useful for decoupling longevity progress from the longevity brand.
  • Despite how depressingly underrated longevity research is, technologies directly targeting the experience of suffering are underrated even more, with the possible exception of psychedelic therapy (by tech) and non-addictive painkillers (by pharma). I’d prefer work on neuromodulation, mood adjustment, and new forms of analgesia to be getting as much attention as longevity.