Objections to rejuvenation

For the benefit of people with tiny screens that would make browsing objections through the menu a living hell, here’s a full list of objections to rejuvenation and my rebuttal.

Go to Objections to living ‘forever’ Go to All answers in short

2 thoughts on “Objections to rejuvenation

  1. A lot of your arguments are centered around people thinking that rejuvenation should not be developed. Personally, I’m not disputing that point, because it will be developed, some way or another. But how you
    seem to think that you wholly dismiss what you consider every point against it is rather arrogant, and your writing style only further exacerbates the issue. Seriously. Look at your tone in your writing.

    Alright, the tyrants issue you deal with in a really terrible way. Yes, there are tyrants that exist in this world. We’re not the people who deal with them, so it’s no problem to us, but people TRY to overthrow them. They either succeed or they don’t. But at the very least, they can be certain that eventually, they WILL die. No tyrant will live forever. People like that. It is an issue, whether you like it or not. Look at Putin, for an example. Whether you like it or not, political systems will change because of this technology.

    Your thing about over population – I don’t know if you realize or not, but 20 m^2 per person is not a lot… Also, your calculations are naiive. You seem to think that if you have a) enough space and b) skyscrapers, the population can freely explode. No. That’s not correct. You’re not including a lot of logistics: for example, we will need roads. We will need MUCH more space for roads, as traffic is already a nightmare in some cities, it will get even worse. Public transportation won’t fully solve that problem either, by the way. That’s just a basic objection, to. Space will be needed to accomodate the greater energy cost, the sewer systems, landfills… The list goes on and on.

    And you think it wouldn’t be only for the rich? Are you kidding? If this technology happened, it will be patented and the cost will be as much as they can charge for it. And I’m not opposing it to happen, I just think that it’s going to create problems, such as those outlined above. Especially with tyrants.

    And your idea about money going away? That will never happen. Ever. Scarcity is a factor of life. Sure, some day we’ll be able to produce enough food for everyone. But what about the food? Do you think some people will eat terrible food every day so that everyone can have a seat at the table? No, never. Next, consumer objects. People will always want. It’s human nature.

    • Hi Matt,

      I appreciate your expressing your opinion frankly, and while I do agree that at times my tone is too sarcastic (I’ve rewritten entire articles because of that), I do not think you’ve read my answers carefully enough. Rather, I think you’re letting your gut feeling, rather than your brain, answer for you. As I explained here, the point of my rebuttals is not to dismiss objections as stupid or irrelevant, though some such objections are indeed silly in my opinion. The everliving tyrants objection is one of them, and by your comment about it, you don’t seem to have understood what the rebuttal says. In a nutshell, the rebuttal says that you can’t throw the baby with the bathwater and let everyone get sick and die for the sake of being sure that all tyrants will die as well. That’s neither an ethical, nor a particularly effective solution to the problem of tyrants. As you say, people will indeed try to overthrow the tyrant, and that is definitely a better solution to the problem than waiting for old age to kill him. In fact, this is exactly what my rebuttal says. I’m not playing down the problem of tyrants, I am playing down the reasoning that because rejuvenation may prolong the life of tyrants, then we should not develop rejuvenation. Rejuvenation would prolong the life of anyone who undergoes it, including tyrants; my rebuttal certainly doesn’t deny that. It only says that, to solve the problem of tyrants, opposing rejuvenation is not the way to go; it also implies rejuvenation wouldn’t really make tyrannies any worse, since thus far they’ve managed to perpetuate themselves without it anyway. If you don’t like the tone of the article that’s one thing, and I respect your objection. I will even consider rewriting it, because improvements are always welcome. But if you disagree with the content of the article, sorry, but that’s not going to change.

      I doubt you’ve read the overpopulation objection fully. The 20m2 estimate is the worst-case scenario, according to the UN estimate for minimum floor space. Indeed, I assumed a 80m2 per person and calculated we can place around 90 billion people on the planet. You seem to disregard this point in your criticism, as well as the fact I expressly said that packing 90 billion people just because there’s just about enough space for it is not a good idea. I said we have a large margin, in terms of space, for much more people than we have today. I did repeat more than once, that the population cannot ‘freely explode’. I hope you’ll forgive quoting myself for the sake of showing you the parts you seem to have overlooked.

      From Spaces, environment, resources, jobs:

      Of course, we just can’t go on packing more and more people forever on the same planet; at some point, the place will likely be a little crowded. If we had over 90 billion people today, I suppose it would be slightly catastrophic because we don’t have the infrastructure to support that many people at the moment. The point of my reasoning thus far isn’t that we should have 90 billion people around; the point is that if we have the space for that many people, then we have space for a number of people smaller than that but far larger than today’s current population.

      From Population dynamics:

      Naturally, this does not mean we can keep packing more and more people on the same planet indefinitely. If nobody ever died but new people were still born, we would still keep growing, and no matter how slow that growth was, we would eventually get to a point when we couldn’t have more people on the planet. However, if the growth was very slow, it would give us plenty of time to adapt and increase the carrying capacity of the planet through technology, and possibly become a space-faring species well before we hit much too large numbers. We’re talking centuries, of course, but with a sufficiently slow growth that’s not a problem.

      […] in terms of room alone we could afford a population several times larger than the current one. Infrastructure is a different matter altogether, though, and we probably could do with better infrastructure already now. […]

      I marked in bold some parts you should pay special attention to. Again, the point of this article is not to say longer lifespans can’t cause an overcrowding problem; they can. The point of the article is to estimate its magnitude, and show that we can prevent it from happening. Of course it’s not a proof in a mathematical sense; it doesn’t grant that the problem won’t be there. It simply discusses some of our options, its only aim being to show that overpopulation is not a certainty, and thus not a valid reason to dismiss rejuvenation entirely. The crucial bit, which I can’t tell whether you’ve read or not, is how fast population will grow (see Population dynamics), and thus how big a problem will manifest when. For example, if the maths suggested we won’t reach 40 billion before 300 years, it wouldn’t make much sense to worry today about how we can manage 40 billion people, because we don’t have the problem today and we don’t have to solve it with the technology or the resources of today. It’s simply too early. Whatever plan we can come up with today, for good or bad it is going to be obsolete in 300 years. Rejuvenation is unlikely to cause huge spikes in the population any time soon, mostly because it does not exist yet, and for all the other reasons I already discussed in the article I just linked, and which, I repeat, I’m not sure you’ve read (or read with the necessary attention).

      Let me close this comment by noting that you accuse me of arrogance because I write lengthy, detailed articles explaining why I think certain things will or won’t happen; I accept your opinion, but let me point out that cliché one-liners completely devoid of any research efforts or resemblance of proof—such as ‘And you think it wouldn’t be only for the rich? Are you kidding? If this technology happened, it will be patented and the cost will be as much as they can charge for it,’ and ‘And your idea about money going away? That will never happen. Ever.’—might easily come off as arrogant as well.


      PS: I am indeed not sure money will ever go away, but on the other hand, I never made it a pivotal assumption in any of my reasonings, so it doesn’t really matter.

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