what dreams may come

‘To die, to sleep … To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause…’ – Hamlet

Status quo bias

 

– A report by the president’s council on bioethics: Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness

Excerpt:

 

“… Yet if there is merit in the suggestion that too long a life, with its end out of sight and mind, might diminish its worth, one might wonder whether we have already gone too far in increasing longevity. If so, one might further suggest that we should, if we could, roll back at least some of the increases made in the average human lifespan over the past century.

These remarks prompt some large questions: Is there an optimal human lifespan and an ideal contour of a human life? If so, does it resemble our historical lifespan (as framed and constrained by natural limits)?* Or does the optimal human lifespan lie in the future, to be achieved by some yet-to-be-developed life-extending technology? Whatever the answers to these intriguing and important questions, nothing in our inquiry ought to suggest that the present average lifespan is itself ideal…”

 

– A book reco: Flowers for Algernon

 

– And lastly a rant. Notice how a lot of SF stories and movies tend to be alarmist? There is a new invention which makes humans superhuman, or AI is developed to aid humans, or a new drug is discovered, or a paleontological species is recreated, or humans overcome odds to grow brains to travel across space. In the end, there is always a catch, and things go horribly wrong and threaten extinction, some calamitous catastrophe or at least a few shrieking kids later, a hitherto incompetent but large-hearted doofus saves everyone, or a flaw in the thingamacascafadr-that-is-hitherto-not-discovered-by-super-intelligences-but-the-reader/audience-can-get-in-one-cinematic-revelation brings the adversary to its suspiciously anthropomorphic knees. Sick.

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20 comments
    • I am halfway through watching this as I am typing this. I am a big fan of Michael Sandel. He is very eloquent and clear. Here, I do like this lecture. But it seems to be a very polished sprucing up of the status quo bias.

  1. gn said:

    “Is there an optimal human lifespan”

    To answer that question I think we need to address another question- what is a human supposed to accomplish(?) in his lifespan after which his existence would be meaningless

    If hypothetically we could calculate the optimal human lifespan… what parameters/variables would we be using?

    on a side note- For male mantis it appears that transfer of genetic material into future generations seems to be the only parameter- that defines lifespan

    For humans it is very complicated- as we are beyond ‘just existing’

  2. ” If you want to make enemies, try to change something ” — Woodrow Wilson

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