I’d say most Grinders [DIY biohackers] are interested in life extension, but it hasn’t been a primary focus of the community. It is an intricate topic. There was talk for a while about the effects of IGF-1, and we have speculated on some other genes as well that have been shown to extend the Hayflick limit. Several of us were on calorie restricted diets at one point. Some probably still are. I quit. I was eating 500 calories a day for about three months. I lost a staggering amount of weight, but most of that weight was muscle. The lethargy sucked, and so did the loss in libido.
One Grinder has proposed a genetic modification, the GULO gene, that would allow the human body to produce its own vitamin C. Most animals produce the vitamin within their own body, but humans seem to have lost this ability about 63 million years ago. We have been reliant on food as our source of the vitamin ever since. While the introduction of the GULO gene may not impact life extension directly, it certainly has a synergistic function. The Grinder proposing the project points out:
“the biggest benefit to vitamin C related to longevity is that it acts as an antioxidant, so it keeps oxidative stress low. Oxidative stress is one of the causes of protein damage and also an outcome of chronic inflammation which itself is a culprit in many degenerative diseases.”
The downside is that it would possibly require an injection to the liver. I feel fairly confident I could pull it off after watching a few liver biopsy videos on youtube. No pain no gain, right?
Gene doping has been a constant pursuit in many biohacking communities. I noticed an interesting result in one gene doping experiment done on mice, which might have applications in longevity research. It seems like the doped mice kept their strength into old age. It seems like that would be handy for longevity, especially in cardiac tissues. I’m speculating here because I haven’t looked into it deeper. It just occurred to me as we were doing this. Hopefully someone calls me a jackass in the comments and then cites why I’m wrong. That should start an argument about how it might be possible if this and that, etc. After a few days I’ll check back and hopefully someone will have saved me a lot of time.
There was a discussion about using replication incompetent HIV based lentiviruses to deliver some kind of immortality gene. I’m fuzzy on the details. There was debate about whether or not it would work. If I remember right, it was decided that it would either work or (more likely) turn a person into an immortal mutant tumor.
I have one grandparent remaining and she is in her upper eighties. I asked her if she wanted to inject the gene to see if it worked. At first she said no, but the second time I asked she said yes. As a rule of thumb, once you get the desired answer from someone with Alzheimer disease, it is best not to ask that question again. Anyway, I figured I would be doing her a favor. She has a 100% chance of dying if she doesn’t take the chance, so what does she have to lose really? This isn’t complex game theory. Worse case scenario she becomes an immortal tumor, which means I can go on cashing her social security checks for eternity. It was a win/win proposition really.
INB4 “That’s not right!”
It is ok when you have a power of attorney. It is legal, and therefore moral. 😉
I did briefly imagine myself before a judge and her asking me “Mr. Lee, at what point did you think it was a good idea to inject your grandmother with HIV and turn her into a mutant tumor?” Society probably wouldn’t understand.
Meh, it doesn’t matter anyway because it was decided that my grandmother was too old for this particular experiment anyway.
Regarding life extension, there may come a time when life extension therapies are proven, but not allowed for public use. Eternal life poses a threat to power structures. There are also ethical concerns that get raised. You can bet your ass that longevity pills will have luxury price tags until patent rights expire. People will be waiting to point out any health risks that might be associated with longevity drugs so they can alarm the public and stop people from living forever. There is a good chance that you will not have access to those treatments in time. You might die before the red tape is cut.
I can promise you that if eternal life becomes a medical possibility, I will have it because I am a tech pirate.
Grinders will have it. I will read through the journals and the patents and I will pirate whatever I need to live. That goes for any technology that I want, really. Would you serve 20 years in jail for patent infringement/piracy if it meant you got eternal life? I would. If there is one thing that the world should know about Grinders right now it is this:
All of your patents are belong to us.
Nothing is sacred and no technology will be spared. Period. We want the future we were promised.
This is a good spot to throw in some of my personal propaganda that has nothing to do with Grinding, but I think it is relevant to the greater transhumanist community because it addresses a lot of reoccurring concerns.
I really don’t give a damn about some committee trying to impose their ethics upon me. Occasionally I read an article asking something like “will cyborgs have an unfair advantage in the workplace?” Of course what these ethics studies are really asking is “should we allow anyone to become a cyborg since they will likely be better than us?”
Crabs in a barrel.
Go ahead, outlaw whatever you want. Have your meetings to decide what “we” should do. I already know what I plan to do, and it has nothing to do with “we”.
I fear a government prohibition on cognitive enhancers or robotic bowels about as much as I fear a ban on pot.
I also object to the idea that the wealthy will be the only ones able to afford the h+ tech on the horizon. As soon as this tech emerges it will be pirated and sold for a fraction of the cost. Don’t worry; the rich can still pay retail if they want brand names, so this really isn’t hurting anyone. Ridiculous pricing fucks a product right out of public markets and into the black market. They know this too, so don’t shed any tears for them.
We can all stop plotting against the rich now. There is no reason to create a special sliding price scale system for h+ tech. We don’t need a special point system where important people in coffee shops can earn credits by pretentiously discussing art and politics and eventually spend those credits on cybernetic augmentations. Just pirate it, and go back to being content with the social point system provided by Reddit.
We can stop the war against the corporations too. Their days are numbered. 3D printing is going to change our global economy forever, once home recycling machines mainstream. Until then I want corporations to crank out patents. I want them spending R&D dollars and running tests.
Patents are our blueprints in a way, and it is all accessible by the public on the internet.
Holy shit! I just thwarted three major dystopian plots with a single solution: Good old fashioned black market piracy. I feel like the IEET owes me something now for solving all of those problems. The future doesn’t belong to the rich. It doesn’t belong to the corporations, the government, or to some reptilian NWO elite.
The future now belongs to the Grinders, the biohackers, the makers, the pirates, and the DIY community.
The future now belongs to the Space Gangster.
* hero image used from http://www.mrwallpaper.com/iron-man-robot-wallpaper/