Re: Immortality decay (was Re: Stewart Brand's The Clock of the Long Now)

Date: Tue Jan 16 2001 - 05:22:33 MST

Adrian Tymes wrote:

> Question/problem: if physical immortality arrives, with attendant
> ability to cure gross defects like dementia and senility, but stagnates
> at that ability level for some length of time, would most people decay
> into conservative, nostalgic sheeple who use their collected wisdom and
> wealth to struggle to keep things the way they are, viewing young humans
> and robots (sentient or not) equally as slaves laboring to support them?

Geriatrically gifted people are usually more adept in politics, why,
they had more practice, and old boy networks take time to mature/cumulate.
But their grip on the young people is by no means total. If innovation
indeed gives competitive edge (a rather safe bet), those societies with
the broadest productive layer will outperform more stratified ones. Whether
import (brain drain), aiding birth rate or dirty Tleilaxu (primates and
engineered people used for breeding, assuming there's a cure for hospitalism),
there are solutions for restocking the idea furnace.

Also, it might be possible to throw a few genetic switches (drugs,
tissue transplants, etc.), and rejuvenate the brain. Senility doesn't
have to be only second childhood, does it?
> Answer/solution: it only takes one person committed to renewing their
> own physical and mental advancement, and to offering such advances to
> all of humanity, to keep the flame alive. It is easier if there are

A small group would do. Space will become a frontier, while Earth
might stagnate (I do not yet subscribe to this alternative reality
branch, though. The Far East looks like plenty of frontier right

> many, for individuals can be drowned out by the tides of the masses,
> though if this went to its logical extreme the individuals could take
> to hermitage, probably asteroid habitats given the tech level society
> would likely settle at in this case. This might result in raiding the
> aging society for its younger members, not yet calcified in their
> thinking, though one suspects that the long term revolution this would
> help forment would be ignored if the short term production of the
> extracted people was replaced by the extractor, say by more robots or by
> improvements to existing ones.

Space is a substrate which extremely rewards (and punishes, of course)
innovation. Somebody, somewhere is eventually going to hit the jackpot,
and then what happens down here will quite soon become irrelevant but
for chronic nostalgics.
> Maybe I should write that one up. Make for one heck of a dystopia (in
> the eyes of the newborn slaves), if nothing else.

Welcome to the slave pit. With time, you'll like it here.

senile-spittle-droO0olingly yrs,

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