Re: freedom vs even distribution

Anders Sandberg (
16 Jun 1999 18:26:36 +0200

Spike Jones <> writes:

> I have struggled with this Dan. If there is discovered a magic
> anti-aging pill, the inventor is in grave danger I fear. Should she
> decide to hoard the invention for herself and family, the unwashed
> masses may feel a bit of, um, murderous rage. Should she
> disseminate the knowledge, we all face long life and an immediate
> threat of overpopulation, caused by the momentum of the human
> reproductive urge. The good part is that it will lead to space
> exporation with a new... enthusiasm. {8^D spike

First, magic anti-aging pills are just that, magic. It is not very likely that the solution to aging to be something simple and discovered by a single person - more like the culmination of many treatments discovered, refined and implemented by the biomedical community over many decades.

The problem in the above scenario is that you assume an instant discovery which society is completely unprepared for. Not impossible, but I'm not sure how likely it is. The problem is more that society is currently still reeling from future shock and not handling new developments well (look at cloning, xenografts and the Internet), so even fairly slow developments can be shocking. This is the area where we transhumanists actually can shine (and earn $$$), by helping society to adapt to changes and keep an eye open for the surprises.

Finally, it should be noted that if anti-aging becomes available it is not unreasonable to think that child production would drop instead of rise, as people felt they had more time to build their families in, less need of a pension security in the form of dutiful children and more fun investing their money in their own long lives. Also, overpopulation is a rather slow process and mainly a matter of politics and economics rather than actual lack of resources. Another field where we might be of help with our radical ideas?

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y