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Longevity underestimated? (Ray Kurzweil Ted Talk)
Old 05-09-2019, 07:05 AM   #1
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Longevity underestimated? (Ray Kurzweil Ted Talk)

A couple of weeks ago on a college visit trip I listened to a recent Ray Kurzweil Ted Talk Interview: https://www.ted.com/talks/the_ted_in...pt?language=en

In it, he predicts exponential advances in a variety of areas due to the continued advancement in Information Technology.

One of the things that caught my ear was the discussion in terms of human lifespan and augmented mental capacities:
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Bridge two will have much more powerful ways of reprogramming the information processes of life. And it is an information process. Bridge three, the quintessential application will be medical nanorobots, it's an application of nanotechnology, which will go inside our body, extend the immune system. The immune system evolved when it was not in the interest of us to live very long. And basically, there are scenarios to wipe out every disease and aging process with these medical nanorobots. I used to call it the killer app of nanotechnology, but that was not a good name for a health technology.
Whether this will play out or not is obviously subject to debate. But, I have lived out my career in IT leveraging the premise he starts the talk with, that being that we haven't hit a technological wall and that each crank of the technology wheel makes a whole new set of applications and uses possible.

The reason for my post here is to explore what that means for FIRE and other aspects of financial planning. For instance, if we (or more likely our children) are about to see much longer lifespans (on average) it has vast ramifications on saving for retirement, or even what retirement means.

It also tells me that SPIA's might be vastly under-priced and that I should be looking for this for children!

Thoughts?
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:37 AM   #2
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That kind of overall longevity would be a game changer for retirement for most people. It would come with a lot of drawbacks for the overall populace, including what if you live significantly longer but you aren't able to work significantly longer? I cant imagine living on the edge of existence financially (which is where a significant portion of our society will be) but also knowing that this would be your life for 40+ years.
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:49 AM   #3
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Ray Kurzweil has been heavily criticized by experts from many different fields ranging from AI, medicine to psychology and cognitive science. Critique was varying, from unattainable, and naive to pure fiction and rubbish. Especially since many of his prediction failed.
A side note: he used to take 250 pills a day. I think he is down to about 100 now. He does have some interesting writings and ideas. How attainable those will be in our lifetimes, is questionable.
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:51 AM   #4
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One might be able to give an educated guess on when that technology is available, looking at both time + healthTech Advancement +DiseaseIntroductionPace - DiseaseRadicationRate

The limits today, will not be the limits tomorrow, and only the brightest minds can begin to think beyond the known limits IMHO. That takes a higher level of creativity and genius.

I look at how far we came just in 100 years...and it's really impossible for me to predict the next 100. What we WANT society to focus on over time and what society ACTUALLY focuses on will be the x factor. Deep stuff, I like it!
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:43 AM   #5
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Of course Ray Kurzweil has been criticized because if you have any idea that's novel, other people will have different ideas. I've read many of his books and find his reasoning sound and, yes, predictions about longevity on the hopeful side. But the thread isn't about that, it's about what if lifespan does expand.


Because it would be a gradual thing, annuities would probably change to align. If you found a deferred annuity and bought it for a kid today, and that kid lived to 150 yeara old and got 60 years of payments, that sounds great, but what are the chances that company would still be in business after all that time? And if the company sold a lot of those, they'd go under. So I wouldn't make that play.


The other thing that sometimes gets forgotten is that while this lifespan thing expands, so does healthspan. And other unimaginable things change too. So picturing 3/4 of the population in "Sun City" playing golf and pickle ball seems wrong headed to me. I think there will be a shift towards a "reputation economy", where basic needs are met, and people do what they are good at and a thing that's appreciated by others.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:46 AM   #6
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Kurzweil is also predicting that as machines design machines an exponential curve will appear and computers will progress to the point of a "singularity" where humans upload their consciousness to a machine and live forever.
Maybe one of those pills he takes daily came from a street dealer and not a pharmacy.

Computer tech is reaching atomic scales now, so improvements due to miniaturization are going to slow. Meanwhile there has been little progress on power consumption and heat dissipation. Today's chips draw hundreds of amps... just at very low voltages. The "machine learning" dependent progress requires brute force trial and error with no insight or "ah ha!" inspiration.


Never say never, but not in my lifetime.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:10 AM   #7
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Kurzweil is also predicting that as machines design machines an exponential curve will appear and computers will progress to the point of a "singularity" where humans upload their consciousness to a machine and live forever.
Maybe one of those pills he takes daily came from a street dealer and not a pharmacy.

Computer tech is reaching atomic scales now, so improvements due to miniaturization are going to slow. Meanwhile there has been little progress on power consumption and heat dissipation. Today's chips draw hundreds of amps... just at very low voltages. The "machine learning" dependent progress requires brute force trial and error with no insight or "ah ha!" inspiration.


Never say never, but not in my lifetime.
I too doubt it will be in my lifetime. However, ever since I was a young pup there have been predictions that the improvements due to miniaturization were coming to an end. That was over 40 years in the business. In addition, while not perfect, we've also come a long way in terms of concurrency and multiprocessing in terms of computation as a way to achieve scaling.

For a long time, power consumption for CMOS has been a function of the square of the voltage. Thus, the best way to reduce power consumption has been to reduce the supply voltage. While I'm not an EE, I do understand that has been less effective recently as we keep reducing feature sizes.

I guess it will be interesting to see if we start to fail on the geometric progression, or will there be other discoveries that keep things on track?
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:12 AM   #8
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Kurzweil is also predicting that as machines design machines an exponential curve will appear and computers will progress to the point of a "singularity" where humans upload their consciousness to a machine and live forever.
Iíll never understand why people think will make them live forever. You consciousness is not a thing you can transfer electronically, itís your brain. Essentially you are making a copy. When you die, youíre still dead, the copy of your consciousness may be walking around, but youíre still dead.
Like the transporter in Star Trek which converts your body into energy and beams it across space. Youíre dead, there is now an exact copy of what was you walking around.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:23 AM   #9
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Like the transporter in Star Trek which converts your body into energy and beams it across space. Youíre dead, there is now an exact copy of what was you walking around.
Are you saying that Captain Kirk died every time he was transported?
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:53 AM   #10
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Are you saying that Captain Kirk died every time he was transported?
That's exactly how teleportation in Star Trek works. You get disintegrated (dematerialization) into particles and then information gets send out to a receiving station which re-assembles you again based on the information provided (rematerialization). But you literary die as soon as you get split into atoms.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:09 AM   #11
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Thoughts?
My thoughts are that I'd love to live longer! I would not have any money issues because I am just not much of a big spender. I don't really spend much beyond my SS and mini-pension, so last year I only withdrew 0.6% from my investment portfolio, for example, and most of that went to taxes. I think I could withdraw at 0.6% forever without running out of money.

However I don't want to upload my consciousness to a machine. That seems kind of stupid and seems like an idea that is pretty unbelievable and more suited to either fiction or to a scam of some sort than it is to genuinely extreme longevity.

But living longer just naturally due to a few tweaks of the immune system, or maybe even that "immortality pill" I have always dreamed of? Hey, sign me up!!
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:14 AM   #12
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Anyone want to live twice as long? No thanks. Much of what passes for life in the aged now looks more like existence to me.

And how about the growth in population? Figure there's about 3.5 generations alive at once , and 50 years gets added to the average life span. Now we have almost 2/3 more people to feed and house.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:25 AM   #13
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Anyone want to live twice as long? No thanks. Much of what passes for life in the aged now looks more like existence to me.
Wait until you get there. I remember back in the 60's when others my age said they wouldn't want to live past age 30. Somehow being over 30 doesn't seem that bad from where we are now.

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And how about the growth in population? Figure there's about 3.5 generations alive at once , and 50 years gets added to the average life span. Now we have almost 2/3 more people to feed and house.
Now that would be a real problem for the world. In science fiction this problem would be solved by massive migration to other planets, but in reality I don't see that as a solution.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:33 AM   #14
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In it, he predicts exponential advances in a variety of areas due to the continued advancement in Information Technology.

One of the things that caught my ear was the discussion in terms of human lifespan and augmented mental capacities
While some similar technological breakthroughs will undoubtedly occur, if Kurzweil is predicting them to happen in our lifetime, he is being a bit overly optimistic, IMHO.

I think longevity will continue to increase, but without any dramatic leaps.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:39 AM   #15
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Wait until you get there. I remember back in the 60's when others my age said they wouldn't want to live past age 30. Somehow being over 30 doesn't seem that bad from where we are now.
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Now that would be a real problem for the world. In science fiction this problem would be solved by massive migration to other planets, but in reality I don't see that as a solution.
Science fiction : hey, let's colonize planet X37b. It'll be great. Technology solves all problems.

Real life: planet X37b is a dump. There's people all over the place. The taxes are outrageous. Crime everwhere, not enough cops. Too many beings from the outer regions And the planet council is full of morons who only care about blah blah ...

Now, I hear planet Y98xb17 is perfect ...
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:42 AM   #16
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Are you saying that Captain Kirk died every time he was transported?
Yes, his molecules were converted to energy...thatís dying isnít it?
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:46 AM   #17
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+1
The right time to go is always some date in the future

Science fiction : hey, let's colonize planet X37b. It'll be great. Technology solves all problems.

Real life: planet X37b is a dump. There's people all over the place. The taxes are outrageous. Crime everwhere, not enough cops. Too many beings from the outer regions And the planet council is full of morons who only care about blah blah ...

Now, I hear planet Y98xb17 is perfect ...
Make Planet X37b Great Again!
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:55 AM   #18
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That's exactly how teleportation in Star Trek works. You get disintegrated (dematerialization) into particles and then information gets send out to a receiving station which re-assembles you again based on the information provided (rematerialization). But you literary die as soon as you get split into atoms.
Did the new Captain Kirk have the same memories, habits and emotional attachments as the dead Captain Kirk?
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:58 AM   #19
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Yes, his molecules were converted to energy...that’s dying isn’t it?
To get even more Science-Fictiony on this: I'd say that in an extension of our current definition of death as brain-death we might really mean death is loss of the information representing our identity. If that can all be stored and transported then dematerialization doesn't mean death.

It would, however, probably mean that we could all upload into happy simulations in the upcoming singularity.


Or it could mean we're all a bunch of old farts jawing nonsense on the front porch.
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:06 PM   #20
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Did the new Captain Kirk have the same memories, habits and emotional attachments as the dead Captain Kirk?
Why yes! In fact, he apparently didn't even realize that he died, repeatedly. Nor did anyone else.

Of course he never wore a red uniform, so he had that going for him, which was nice.
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