From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Jun 06 2003 - 23:37:15 MDT
Damien Broderick wrote:
> At 12:25 PM 6/6/03 -0700, Jeff Davis wrote:
> Yes indeed. I was especially charmed by this (which I *knew* I was going to
> see, knew it in my poor aching bones):
> < The researchers did not detect any signs of unwanted cellular
> proliferation in their bioengineered arteries, although Counter did
> emphasize that before these arteries can be implanted into humans, the
> researchers must "turn off " hTERT. It is expected that the implanted
> arteries would then "age" as would native arteries. >
> Yep, we don't want any of those damned new fangled immortal cells in *our*
> bodies, no way sirree. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm just going out to smash
> the headlights on my new car.
> No, I'm sure that's not the researchers' motive; they're worried that any
> pre-immortalized bioengineered arterial cells that chance to become mutated
> in the nastiest ways will become cancerous even faster than usual, because
> their telomerase gene is already activated. But hey, how about finding
> something *else* that's specific to tumor cells and damaging *that*, and
> leaving the immortality fix alone?
Sorry, I have to side with the researchers on this one. The human body is
designed, literally designed, to age. And you can't mess with that design
until you know what the consequences are. Or you *won't* get old.
Unshortening telomeres, immortality, are not just an incidental
characteristic of cancer cells, they are the heart of the problem. The
human body was not designed to be easily revised for immortality. It's
designed to burn out and die. Shortening telomeres prevents cancer when
you're young, and that's pretty much all Nature cares about.
It is not the job of *these* researchers to untangle the problems of
immortality. If they can give us small vessel grafts, good enough.
-- Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://singinst.org/ Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
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