If you’re watching a movie and someone from the film suddenly appears before you in person, there are two likely explanations: 1) you’re in the future or 2) you’re at a Q&A. Last Friday was a little bit of both. Mark Wexler, director of How To Live Forever, screened his new documentary in San Francisco and invited one of the other stars of the show, Aubrey de Grey, to join him. Together, the filmmaker and gerontologist answered twenty of the audience’s questions about the science and philosophy shown in How To Live Forever, a movie focused on longevity and health in the 21st Century. I was lucky enough to attend the screening, and get the entire Q&A session on tape. Enjoy the full recording of the event in the videos below (don’t miss the answer to question 15). How To Live Forever is a great introduction into the possibilities of extended life and all the ramifications that go with it. And there are no better guides than Wexler and de Grey. Enjoy.
I’ve split the Q&A session into three semi-equal parts. The first covers questions one through eight, which are paraphrased here for easy browsing:
(0:13) Q1: How did your opinions change in the course of making this film? (Answered by Mark Wexler)
(1:23) Q2: Are enjoying the present and looking to extend life mutually exclusive? (Answered by Mark Wexler)
(1:36) Q3: How can we overcome “deathism”? (Answered by Aubrey de Grey)
(3:04) Q4: Is the Vibrant Brains facility still open? (Answered by Mark Wexler and crowd).
(3:32) Q5: As a 21 year old, what should I be doing to live forever? (Answered by Aubrey de Grey)
(5:00) Q6: Why was caloric restriction portrayed as so unpleasant? (Answered by Mark Wexler)
(7:14) Q7: How wary must we be of accidental death? (Answered by Aubrey de Grey)
8:45) Q8: Can you speak about the necessary technologies for life extension? (Answered by Aubrey de Grey)
Unfortunately the quality of video was poor (we were in a darkened theater) and the audio was even worse (feedback from the theater mic and Aubrey de Grey was also getting hoarse). However, everything said is completely intelligible and the blue and red lights actually give the whole thing a nice artistic overtone (that’s my angle, and I’m sticking to it).
Video two covers questions nine through fourteen:
(0:00) Q9: Are there clinical trials in the US for restoring brains and memory? (Answered by Aubrey de Grey)
(1:56) Q10: Will longevity technology only be available to the rich? (Answered by Aubrey de Grey)
(4:41) Q11: Isn’t this movie too focused on materialism and Western thought? (Answered by Mark Wexler and Aubrey de Grey and crowd)
(6:18) Q12: You ask people in the movie if they want to live 500 more years. Did you think about rephrasing it? (Answered by Mark Wexler)
(7:52) Q13: Do you eat red meat and dairy? (Answered by Mark Wexler)
(8:18) Q14: Could you speak to the Ray Kurzweil style approach to supplements? (Answered by Aubrey de Grey)
The final video answers questions fifteen through twenty:
(0:00) *Q15: How can I talk to non-futurists about the possibilities of infinite life? (Answered by Aubrey de Grey)*
(2:14) Q16: When it comes to a longevity diet, what’s one thing to give up and one thing to start? (Answered by Mark Wexler and Aubrey de Grey)
(3:40) Q17: What is the most promising longevity research going on right now? How do you feel about non-biological enhancement versus biological? (Answered by Aubrey de Grey)(On a side note: he mentions that researchers he has talked to believe that cochlear implants will reach normal human accuracy in the next five years!)
(5:55) Q18: Were the centenarians fixated on health? (Answered by Mark Wexler)
(6:55) Q19: What’s going on the bonus DVD? (Answered by Mark Wexler)
(7:39) Q20: Could you give us your thoughts on over-population? (Answered by Aubrey de Grey)
If the question and answer session has piqued your interest, don’t worry. How To Live Forever is touring through the US and Canada, and coming soon to DVD. At those North American screenings, Mark Wexler will be answering questions and quite often he’ll have special guests like Aubrey de Grey joining him. Check the movie website for your local opportunities to see the film, and don’t forget to bring a friend. The more people we can introduce to the concept of life extension the more support we could find to help make these technologies a reality!
[image credits: Wexler’s World Inc]
[source: How To Live Forever]