Relatedly, here's another example of the kind of headlines you mention: https://futurism.com/neoscope/aging-unstoppable-youth
The fact that it's on an online newspaper called "Futurism" is even more eye-popping.One positive thing this might lead to is if people on the fence start to be actually more positive about weird future-related stuff given the hysteria of such headlines. But I have no idea. Might be wishful thinking.
It seems to me that the EV of financing cellular reprogramming research and aging clocks dropped significantly. There are many other very neglected and promising areas. That said, the case that "billionaires are going to finance all this anyway" did seem to get stronger regardless, because now there's a higher chance that other neglected areas will be included in such funding.
How much higher though? This is not the first billionaire-led longevity initiative. What makes me more hopeful compared to other past initiatives is that this new comp... (read more)
I answered you here:
1. Yes, this is probably true. But see longtermist considerations of effects of anti-aging research. They might be in the same ballpark. Or not.2. There are three ways in which the impact of anti-aging research is evaluated: DALYs averted and other short-term considerations, LEV being brought closer in time, and effects relevant to the long-term future. All three don't suffer from this objection.
Yeah, seriously, William MacAskill just change your surname already. It's basic SEO for Singer's sake.
Third time's the charm!
I'm surprised that "cost-effectiveness evaluation" doesn't exist yet.
Some others that it's weird enough that they don't exist yet: "meta-charities", "advocacy", "pandemic preparedness".
A couple of tags that would apply to all of my posts: "aging research", "scientific research".
How much time do you spend on forecasting, including researching the topics?
Also 80k Hours, which is all about multiplying the impact of their effort by influencing the direction of other people's careers.
I will only write a comment and not an answer because I think other people will probably give better answers. The thinking probably includes that 1) the world was unprepared, therefore even if there is a massive effort going on, cheap opportunities to do good might arise. 2) This situation might somewhat change the equilibriums between cause-areas and within EA, also changing how the world responds to risk, which may influence what is neglected and what is not, for example. Here a good post by Peter Hurford.
About the lockdown: I find it difficult to evalua... (read more)
This is one of the best posts I've read here, wow.
One of the main things that concern me is that malevolent people could appropriate the concept of malevolence itself and start a witch hunt for people who have nothing to do with malevolence. This was passingly mentioned when acknowledging that political leaders could brand their opponents as malevolent. Overall I think this post makes a good job of outlining the pros and cons, but I just wanted to write this consideration in a comment because it has been somewhat prominent in my mind.
You are correct. I will also add a question about how much time he estimates will need to pass between one treatment and its repetition. This could be fairly calculable from the informations the scientific community already has (the rate of damage in the elderly). I will get back to you with another reply in case I come up with other questions in light of your comment and if I modify or add something to your questions.
Thanks Gavin, there are some great questions in here.
I'm only able to answer two of them pretty conclusively:
For instance, if we treat an 80 year olds telomere attrition, are we going to need to treat them again in the future? Are consecutive treatments going to need to occur at more regular intervals?
The answer is simply: absolutely, yes.
If you condense the most crucial questions I will add them in the interview, and we will see what Aubrey de Grey has to say.
Edited my comment slightly before yours appeared. Wanted to specify the reasons more but resolved to delete them since I was going to modify the post anyway. The rationale was that 7-KC, even if not a protein, is still an aggregate that overwhelms lysosomes and actively causes their dysfunction (loss of function of lysosomes and other degradation mechanisms being accounted for in the loss of proteostasis paragraphs in the Hallmarks).
Yep, seems like for some reason I, err... aggregated extracellular matrix stiffening and extracellular aggregates together. Mistake corrected.
Thanks for this post, strongly upvoted. The amount of attention (and funding) aging research gets within EA is unbelievably low. That's why I wrote an entire series of posts on this cause-area. A couple of comments:
1) Remember: if a charity finances aging research, it has the effect of hastening it, not enabling it. Aging will be brought under medical control at some point, we are only able to influence when. This translates into the main impact factor of hastening the arrival of Longevity Escape Velocity.
2) Now look again at your bulleted list of &qu... (read more)
SENS doesn't consider telomere attrition as a significant type of damage, and in fact, SENS advocates removing the ability of all cells to extend their telomeres as a strategy to prevent cancer.
I think SENS doesn't consider telomere attrition because the solution would be the same as the one for cell loss (and telomere attrition is a direct cause of cell loss). Also note that at SRF they consider the strategy against cancer less and less likely to be necessary (and I hope so, since it is the most far fetched and difficult).
Edit: categorization mi... (read more)
3) If you point out what categories I got wrong and why, I can correct if needed.
4) It seems to me that the biggest point of difference is the genomic instability hallmark, which is not present in SENS because de Grey believes it acts more slowly and probably belongs to a "SENS 2" panel of therapies. The others either mostly overlap or they are closely causally related. Do you agree?
From hearing de Grey speak, you might get the impression that the scientific community has deftly avoided studying ageing. This is not the case; it has been studied for some time.
It's weird that you got this impression, because in many TED Talks de Grey explicitly mentions that biogerontology has more than a century of history. It's his approach to be new, together with the attitude of aging research as translational research instead of just basic non-translational biology research. When, for example, The Buck Institute was founded 20 years ago, ... (read more)
Yes, I addressed everything you wrote over and over in multiple comments and in my posts. You should read part 1 carefully and also Aging Research and Population Ethics.
Well... I disagree with the claim that aging is on par with love or malaria prevention. This is the beginning of your post:
Making it possible for people to deliberately fall in love seems like a high priority, competitive with good short- and medium-term causes such as malaria prevention and anti-aging.
I thought you were going to mention LEV in the "Scope and direct impact" section, or at least in "Direct chage in average quality of life" section. Instead, in the first, you proceed to say:
Overall, nearly everyone will be affected by the
Could be, or could be the usual causation=/=correlation problem, or the usual study that doesn't replicate. What study are you referring to?
Interesting overall, but I'll never be tired of repeating that the majority of impact of aging research comes from making Longevity Escape Velocity come faster. This puts aging research in a much better position as a cause area than short or medium term causes. Not sure why literally everyone in the EA movement continues to ignore this metric completely. It just doesn't make sense.
Would it be possible and cost-effective to release video courses at a much lower cost?
EDIT: Going to ask on LW, since the AMA is there.
EDIT 2: Oh no, I'm late
Hey, regarding aging: you might be interested to know I'm writing a series of articles to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of any project related to aging research. I've found that the cost-effectiveness of aging research might be much higher, in certain cases, than what Sarah Constantin found. That's mostly because I'm also accounting for the fact that new aging research brings the date of Longevity Escape Velocity closer in time, and this increses the scope by many orders of magnitude. Each single year "buyed" means averting ... (read more)
Yes, looking back at this, I should have just said that on average, if someone dies with a probability of 1/1000, then he will live 999 years and die in the 1000th. And then I should have linked him the "Expectation" section of the Wikipedia page of the negative binomial distribution.
Thanks, great info. This post is officially outdated :)
Great post, I really appreciate the solutions you propose. I often fear some english mistakes could harm how my arguments are perceived. I think keeping personal written notes with solutions could help people in putting the conscious effort of evaluating arguments in virtue of their content. It could even help the comprehension of arguments made by natives speakers...
I have a fear that, even knowing all this, if the conscious effort is lacking, the effect remains the same. I don't feel very optimistic given what I've seen in similar contexts, bu... (read more)
It's not a matter of fairness. It's a matter of reducing the probability of not hearing good ideas because of stupid reasons.
I used "Counterintuitive", because people tend to think the person-affecting view generates more cost-effectiveness than the impersonal view (see comments under my first post), regardless of how the views affect the comparison with other causes. But yes, adopting the person-affective view seems to make aging research look better in comparison to the other causes you mention, since it negates a lot of their impact. Instead, adopting the impersonal view makes the comparison favour prevention of x-risks that could wipe out literally all of ... (read more)
I think I upvote mostly like this (I'll edit this answer if I remember more reasons):
Strong upvote: correct (if applicable) and important.
Upvote: correct (if applicable) and slightly important, or not completely correct but interesting/potentially important (In this case I usually also reply). I also tend to upvote comments under my own posts much more because I feel the need to thank the person who took the time to write the comment somehow.
I don't always follow these rules exactly, but mostly. For example, sometimes I upvote to close the gap between two comments I consider equally important under a post.
Relevant people involved in potential top cause areas.
For me there is a strong "what the world could be if I did this, so it would be a huge waste if I didn't do this" sense that motivates me, although in the past I used to overestimate the potential good effects of my actions. I think it is probably similar to the need for efficiency you mention, but it also generates an unpleasant but correct sense of urgency, because usually if I don't do things fast, the effect could not be the same. There's also wanting to have a good impact in the world, which is more core and generates meaning.
I'm not sure if these considerations would change how aging research looks from an EA perspective. It's one of the many "rounding errors" that could be considered as side effects, besides the main purpose of buying QALYs and freedom. Moreover, all of these additional considerations, both positive and negative, might be made irrelevant by new disrupting tech and societal/political/organisational change. Examples: cognitive enhancements, AI, research funding management.
I'm not sure if there's a definite answer about how much cog... (read more)
Population capacity gets larger as technology improves, so it's not obvious we'll reach maximum capacity in the near future (next centuries). Regardless of this, even if we reached it, the impact of aging research wouldn't be impacted, because impact comes from making LEV closer, not from guaranteeing LEV's existence. You will find answers in the second post of the framework: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/uR4mEzMR7fiQzb2c7/aging-research-and-population-ethics
Notice that the post you are commenting under is just the first in ... (read more)
The fact that no new hallmark has been discovered in decades is probably telling. But I think it is reasonable to believe that there are different hallmarks that will be visible in longer-than-human lifespans.
Yes! What Hallmarks to prioritise is an extremely important thing to figure out. The next post is coming out soon, and this topic is a central part of it. In short, I think we should keep an eye on two things when trying to prioritise in this area: if a given research is necessary for achieving LEV, and how neglected it is. Neglectedness seems to be particularly important because the hardest research is often the most neglected (too long term for private investment, too risky for public funding). The hardest hallmarks will be cracked later, so they will mo... (read more)
I think in general It would make most sense to prioritise research that would impact the date of LEV the most, because LEV results in both living healthier and longer. Also, it would be probably easier to do, since it's difficult to know what hallmark/aspect of aging impacts healthspan the most, and they impact each other a lot. Instead, we probably can estimate the relative impact on the date of LEV using neglectedness (more on this in the next post). As a strategy, prioritising the short-term to have a bigger immediate effect I suspect would be less... (read more)
Thanks for the comments :) I basically agree with everything. The only thing I would add is this:
Getting a life satisfaction curve from 20 to 90 year old that don't have age related-disabilities could be a step in the right direction for understanding how to extrapolate life satisfaction to life spans that are only possible through LEV. It has to be kept into account, though, that a healthy old person (or a healthy middle aged person) is still in worse health than a healthy young person. In fact, yesterday, it was suggested to me to add to the post t... (read more)
Charles Babbage designed The Analytical Engine, that was a mechanical general purpose (Turing complete) computer, in 1837. This is remarkable, because it came a century before all the theory that was put in place by Turing, which inspired, and is at the heart of, today's computers. You can find a description of The Analytical Engine in Babbage's biography: "Passages from the Life of a Philosopher". His apprentice Ada Lovelace wrote some programs for it, becoming the first programmer in history.
This fact inspired a lot of Steampunk fict... (read more)
This is true, but the carrying capacity increases as technology improves. This plus the fact that birthrates are under the replacement rate in the developed world and going down pretty much everywhere should make us think we will not be in a malthusian situation when LEV arrives.
It depends how you interpret PA. I don't think there is a standard view - it could be 'maximise the aggregate lifetime utility of everyone currently existing', in which case what you say would be true, or 'maximise the happiness of everyone currently existing while they continue to do so', which I think would turn out to be a form of averaging utilitarianism, and on which what you say would be false.
Good points, although I'm not sure who would hold averaging utilitarianism. But yes, in this case prolonging life wouldn't m... (read more)
The person-affecting (PA) view doesn't make this a slam-dunk. PAness doesn't signify that death in itself has negative value, so given your assumption 'that there isn't suffering at the end of life and people get replaced immediately', on the base PA view, increasing lifespans wouldn't in itself generate value. No doubt there are flavours of PA that would claim death *does* have disvalue, but those would need to be argued for separately.
The PA view doesn't need to assign disvalue to death to make increasing lifespans valu... (read more)
Hey, I just published the second post of the framework, which answers your comment pretty well. I even mentioned you inside it. Here it is: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/uR4mEzMR7fiQzb2c7/aging-research-and-population-ethics
Open Philanthropy, Give Well, Rethink Priorities probably qualify. To clarify: my phrase didn't mean "devoted exclusively to finding new potential cause areas".
In my understanding "Cause X" is something we almost take for granted today, but that people in the future will see as a moral catastrophe (similarly as to how we see slavery today, versus how people in the past saw it). So it has a bit more nuance than just being a "new cause area that is competitive with the existing EA cause areas in terms of impact-per-dollar".
I think there are many candidates seeming to be overlooked by the majority of society. You could also argue that no one of these is a real Cause X due to the fact that they ar... (read more)
I just answered your other comment, but I saw this one only now. Apparently both notifications didn't arrive. Thanks a lot for taking the time to read and answer both.
Some of my replies in the other comment apply here too. I'll go in order.
Regarding your first paragraph: Yes, I'm preparing a post about potential age discounting that could be applied. I included it among the moral considerations that would correct impact. But you made a good point, and I may need to modify it in the light of it.
Regarding AI and other technology: For the very ... (read more)
Hey! Thanks for the comment! I really appreciate it. For some reason I'm only seeing it now and by chance. I don't know if I didn't get the notification or if I missed it.
I'm not sure if this is the post I was asking feedback for though. This analysis is from nine months ago, and my views on it changed. On Facebook I was probably referring to this other post I made recently: A general framework for evaluating aging research. Part 1: reasoning with Longevity Escape Velocity. [EDIT: I just saw you made a comment under that post too, so ne... (read more)
I want to remind that in January some posts may not be browsable by day anymore. This happened to my post, but I don't know if other people had this same problem. You may want to keep this in mind in order not to miss potential candidates.
Thanks for this post! I didn't realise a description could be important. I added one :)
Hey, this is a great post! I'm really happy to see it, and it was a really nice and unexpected surprise.
I don't know if you have seen it, but I recently published the first post of a (will be) series in which I'm trying to build a framework for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of any given aging research/project: this one.
In your model you only account for DALYs prevented for measuring impact, while I would like to account for many more things: all the considerations arising from the concept of Longevity Escape Velocity (e.g. bringing its... (read more)
It's not necessarily obvious that this is the case.
Premise: In probability theory the chance of two independent events (which are events that don't affect each other) happening together, like six coming up after you toss a dice and head coming up after you toss a coin, is calculated by multiplying the probability of the two events. In the case of the dice and the coin 1/6⋅1/2=1/12.
In the case of calculating expected future lifetime you need to sum all the additional number of years you could possibly live, each multiplied by their probab... (read more)