Thinking about living forever? You've got a lot of reading to do...or maybe you can just watch a few videos. The science surrounding longevity is a hive of interweaving studies and counterstudies that can leave the average reader confused. Singularity Hub will always give you a look at the best life-extension technologies as they emerge, but what if you need the very basics? In that case, BigThink's series "Living Longer, Better - and Maybe Forever" is a fun place to start. With videos from Aubrey de Grey, Ray Kurzweil, Leonard Guarente, and many others the series gives its audience a first look at some of the technologies and possibilities for the future of human life. I've chosen the best of those videos for you to watch below. You're never too old to start learning about longevity. Enjoy.
If you have to begin with one expert to introduce you to longevity, it should probably be Aubrey de Grey. The rather-famous scientist has made a career of studying how human-life could be extended well beyond the means of today. Passionate, thoughtful, and sporting an unforgettable beard, de Grey's talks about longevity are typically as insightful as they are memorable. Here, de Grey tells you what the average person can do to live a longer, healthier life. Most of it is common sense, but de Grey describes it very well.
Part of what makes the BigThink "Living Longer, Better -And Maybe Forever" series a good place to start is that the videos selected are a small sample of the much longer footage collected. Aubrey de Grey, for instance, has more than a half hour of interview videos available on BigThink divided into sections for easy browsing. If any of the speakers in the series interest you, you can be almost certain that there is more video of their thoughts for you to explore.
Another part of the series that you should check out is the interview with MIT's Leonard Guarente. As a leading scientist in the pursuit of finding connections between longevity and genetics, Guarente has an inside look as to what we may be able to expect from his field in the future.
The rest of Guarente's BigThink interview can be found here.
Of course, this being a discussion on the future, it's hard to ignore Ray Kurzweil. In this short clip the noted author, inventor, and futurist discusses the various 'bridges' that will allow people who are middle aged today to survive long enough to see the science that could let them live forever.
In my experience, BigThink casts a very wide net. Their website hosts videos with a range of opinions from noted scientists, philosophers, educators, and famous personalities. They often have famous scientists speaking outside their fields, but that can be totally fine. Michio Kaku (a physicist and futurist) gave a wonderfully measured review of recent longevity work out of Harvard. Work, that as we pointed out at the time, was pretty much over-hyped everywhere else on the internet. At other times, BigThink includes interviews that I might question. For instance, the "Living Longer..." series features Deepak Chopra, whose take on the subject I find more spiritual than scientific. Your reaction may vary according to taste.
I like this wide ranging approach because it exposes me to gray areas that I'm not sure how to receive yet. For example, Jonny Bowden and Gary Small discuss various ways in which your attitude and mental habits affect how you age. Some of these methods seem fairly logical (there are well-known techniques that can vastly improve your scores on memory tests), while others are a little out-there in my opinion (can surrounding an elder with the trappings of their youth help their mental acuity?).
Ultimately, as fun as it is to start with BigThink, and as wonderful as their video interview collection may be, your interest in longevity is going to take you far beyond their website. If for no other reason than to clarify doubts in your own gray areas. Luckily, the internet has no shortage of scientific journals, interviews with scientists, and commentary on their work. As always, Singularity Hub will be here to bring you the latest news on the emerging technologies that might help us all survive well past the centennial mark. With any luck we'll see you tomorrow...
...and next year...
...and next century...
[image and video credits: BigThink]