14 minutes of excerpts from over 5 hours of presentations on the 2-disk Alcor DVD of the 2006 conference – “An Inside Look at the Science and Medicine of Tomorrow.” Is it possible to stop aging? Will nanomedicine and medical nanorobots dramatically extend the human lifespan? Can cryopreserved human beings be revived in the future and what impact would result? Distinguished speakers convened at the 6th Alcor Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, to present their provocative insights into anti-aging, life extension research, nanotechnology, cryonics, and more. For five of the presentations in full, see below.
Aubrey de Grey received his BA, MA and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, where he was formerly a research associate. He is chairman and chief science officer of the Methuselah Foundation and editor-in-chief of the academic journal Rejuvenation Research. His main research areas are the role and etiology of oxidative damage in mammalian aging, including both mitochondrial and extracellular free radical production and damage, and the design of interventions to reverse the age-related accumulation of oxidative and other damage. He is author of the book Ending Aging (2007) and subject of the British Channel 4 documentary Do You Want to Live Forever? (2007). He has developed a comprehensive plan, termed Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which breaks down the aging problem into seven major classes of damage and identifies detailed approaches to addressing each one. Dr. de Grey’s talk highlights how his proposed aging interventions closely parallel the molecular and cellular repairs that will be required to revive a well-vitrified cryonics patient.
Dr. David D. Friedman is a professor of law at Santa Clara University, has been a college professor of economics for many years, and is the son of Nobel-Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. He earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago. In this talk, Dr. Friedman shares his insights into the many potential consequences of an extended lifespan. He asks provocative questions about the future of the family unit, a typical career path, and the economic outlook for society as a whole. Will forty-five years of work and then centuries of leisure become the norm? Will there be one family once or one every fifty years? Will we face mass unemployment, mass leisure, or overpopulation? Ponder what could become possible in our personal and professional lives if aging were defeated.
J. Storrs Hall is an independent scientist and author and a Research Fellow of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing. Dr. Hall was the founding Chief Scientist of Nanorex Inc., the leading provider of computational modeling tools made specifically for the design and analysis of nanosystems. He is the author of the book Nanofuture: What’s Next for Nanotechnology, and of the book Beyond AI: Creating the Conscience of the Machine. His research interests include molecular nanotechnology and the design of useful macroscopic machines using the capabilities of molecular manufacturing. In this talk he examines such questions as: What kind of science, technology, and society awaits those revived from cryopreservation? What kind of world has to exist for cryonics patients to be revived?
Dr. Merkle is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1979 where he co-invented public key cryptography. He joined Xerox PARC in 1988, where he pursued research in security and computational nanotechnology until 1999. He was a Nanotechnology Theorist at Zyvex until 2003, when he joined the Georgia Institute of Technology as a Professor of Computing until 2006. Dr. Merkle has fourteen patents, has published extensively, and in 2011 was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He is an undisputed expert and globally recognized for his work in nanotechnology, the technology that will be required for cryopreserved individuals to be revived. In this talk he describes molecular tools that will literally be able to scan, analyze, and then repair tissue in situ, enabling restoration of well-cryopreserved tissue to good health.
Brian Wowk is a biophysicist employed as a Senior Scientist at 21st Century Medicine, Inc., a company specializing in low temperature preservation of tissue and organs for medical applications. He holds M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in medical physics, specializing in radiation oncology physics and magnetic resonance imaging. The premise of cryonics is the preservation of sufficient information, especially brain information, to permit recovery of the original person. Studies show steady progress in the quality with which brain information can be preserved under ideal conditions. However the absence of demonstrable reversibility, and the vast variety of conditions under which cryopreservations can take place, introduce uncertainty in the “information theoretic” paradigm of cryonics. Dr. Wowk discusses what cryobiology says about the prospects of cryonics actually working.
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