[ExI] ?Risks: Global Catastrophic, Extinction, Existential and ...

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 8 22:20:56 UTC 2012

>From: "natasha at natasha.cc" <natasha at natasha.cc>
>To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org; extrobritannia at yahoogroups.com 
>Sent: Thursday, March 8, 2012 10:15 AM
>Subject: [ExI] ?Risks: Global Catastrophic, Extinction, Existential and ...
>The idea of humans dealing with risks of all sorts, most often catastrophic risks such as asteroids hitting the earth, a nuclear war, or a world threatening virus have had theorists thinking for eons about the future. More recently, we are concerned with global warming, bio warfare, runaway nanoassemblers and super AI/AGI entities. Most of these risks lie outside the personal issue of radical life extension.  
>If we consider radical human life extension,  what type of risk might there be?  (Extinction risk is obvious, but I'm wondering if extinction risk is more relevant to a species rather than a person.)  So, I started thinking about the elements of a person that keep him/her alive: foresight, insight, intelligence, creativity, willingness to change, etc. I also thought about what might keep a person from not continuing to exist: depression/sadness.  Then I thought about what someone else might do to keep me from existing: inflicting his/her values/beliefs onto my sphere of existence that would endanger my right to live. I arrived back at morphological freedom, as understood by More on one hand and Sandberg on the other, which pertains to a negative right --  a right to exist and a right not to be coerced to exist. But again, here the behavior of morphological freedom is a freedom and does not answer the question of what could a risk be that
 reflects a person's choice/right to live/exist?
>It may be simply a matter of discrimination about a right not to die.
>Does anyone have thoughts on this?

Greetings, Natasha. In so far as I understand what you are asking, I think successful radical life extension would create few truly novel personal risks, The risks such a life-extended person would face would be the same kinds of risks as normally, or even short-lived people, it is just that such a person would have more exposure to them because of their longer life. Think about it in terms of passenger deaths per transportation mile. You would travel more miles living a thousand years than living one hundred, therefore be more at risk for an accident. Same could be said of viruses. In a certain sense viruses try to hack your bodies immune system so the longer you live, the more opportunitues they get to crack your code. Likewise, in a thousand years of surfing, shark attack will probably be something you encounter. 
I imagine most of the truly novel risks would have a phychological/psychiatric basis. Like suffering from a bicententenial crisis or engaging in extremely risky behavior in the pursuit of novelty. e.g. sex in free fall like the eagles or something.  
Stuart LaForge

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting by fools." -Thucydides.

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