Disease, aging, and health – English and French

Dear Futurists,

This first newsletter of 2021 has news about some forthcoming events and projects organised in London, Paris, and Brussels.

1.) The future of the science of aging – 23rd Jan

Tomorrow, Saturday 23rd January, sees the first London Futurists event of the year.

The speaker, Dr Andrew Steele, is the author of a new book that has been widely praised, Ageless: The new science of getting older without getting old” has been widely praised.

I wrote my own review of it here: “The best book on the science of aging in the last ten years”.

In our event, Andrew will be talking about how the scientific understanding of aging has moved a long way forwards in the last few years – and he will offer suggestions for yet more breakthroughs in the years ahead.

As usual for our events, attendees who join the meeting via Zoom will be able to raise questions for the speaker to answer.

For more information, click here.

That will lead you on to a Zoom registration page. In case all the Zoom registration slots have been taken, you’ll have the opportunity to watch the event live as a stream on the London Futurists YouTube channel.

2.) The future of the science of cancer – 30th Jan

There’s a strong link between aging and cancer. Sad to say, the older we become, the more likely we become to die of cancer. Indeed, the probability rises exponentially.

But what exactly is cancer? I recently read Rebel Cell: Cancer, Evolution, and the Science of Life, by Dr Kat Arney.

In every chapter, I found my understanding deepened. By the end of the book, I had a much richer appreciation of the “big C”. The story is considerably more complicated than I had expected.

It’s a story with hope too – as you’ll hear for yourself if you join us for our event on Saturday 30th January, where Kat will be speaking to us.

3.) In case you can no longer attend a meeting for which you registered

In case you have registered via Zoom to attend one of the online London Futurists events, but then find you can’t make it for some reason:

In such a case, kindly follow the link at the bottom of your Zoom registration email to cancel your slot.

That link is in the line of email which reads, “You can cancel your registration at any time.”

This way, your registration slot will be made available to the next person who may need it.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation!

4.) HEALES/ILA event on issues with testing anti-aging treatments

Conference_2021_2_11 -v2 (1).jpg

Many potential anti-aging treatments seem to show promise in experimental tests on mice, but fail to have similar positive results when transferred to tests with human subjects. Whilst mice and humans have many aspects of biology in common, there are evidently many key differences too.

How might this overall system of testing be improved? That’s the question to be explored at an online conference on Thursday 11th February. A number of distinguished researchers from the science of aging will be offering their initial thoughts:

  • What are the best practices for tests in mice, rats, and other test animals?
  • What are the best practices for tests of anti-aging interventions in humans?
  • Might changes in legal, political, or other frameworks improve matters?
  • What other approaches might be tried instead?

The guest speaker presentations will be followed by interactive workshops, with the aim of producing a short number of written recommendations.

The event is being jointly organised by:

  • HEALES – Healthy Life Extension Society
  • The ILA – the International Longevity Alliance

For more information, and to register to take part (from 4pm to 9pm UK time on Feb 11th), click here.

5.) La Mort de la Mort – les avancées scientifiques vers l’immortalité

(The next three paragraphs are in French)

La mort de la mort – les avancées scientifiques vers l’immortalité a été publiée le 21 janvier 2021 et est disponible dans les librairies partout en France, en Belgique, au Luxembourg et en Suisse, ainsi qu’en ligne – voir ici par exemple.

Pour marquer l’occasion de la publication, Marc Roux, président de l’Association française transhumaniste (Technoprog), a posé quelques questions à José Luis Cordeiro, co-auteur du livre, et à Didier Coeurnelle, co-président de HEALES (Healthy Life Extension Society, en français SEVES, Sciences pour L’Extension de la Vie et de la Santé).

Cette conversation s’est déroulée en français – la même langue que le livre lui-même.

For readers who prefer a discussion in English:

La mort de la mort – les avancées scientifiques vers l’immortalité was published on 21st January 2021 and is available in bookshops throughout France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, as well as online – see e.g. here.

To mark the occasion of the publication, Sergey Young, Founder of the Longevity Vision Fund, asked a number of questions to the book’s co-authors, José Cordeiro and David Wood.

This conversation took place in English – the book itself is in French.

6.) Viridian Conference: Sustainable Environment & Technological Progress

(Continuing the bilingual theme…)

There’s little point in extending our individual healthspans if the health of the environment is crumbling around us.

Members of l’Association française transhumaniste (the French Transhumanist Association), which is also known as Technoprog, are organising a two-day “Viridian Conference” on the 16th and 17th of March:

Here’s a brief extract from the English language page:

A technoprogressive future can only be imagined in the coming decades in an environment that is indefinitely sustainable. The change needed to make it “upwards” requires technological progress and profound societal changes. To do this, becoming more human by improving ourselves is an asset.

A “viridian” option, i.e. ecological, technological and non-destructive to humanity, implies radical transitions.

With this symposium, the organizers wish to question and develop the transhumanists’ reflection on environmental issues, and to deepen the Viridian Declaration. They also wish to reflect on how the arguments below can be debated in society.

For more information, and to register to take part, follow the links given above.

7.) Techopia – “technology for good”

A number of you will remember the fine talk that Michael Baxter gave to London Futurists in October, “Living in the age of the jerk”. (Video recording here.)

Michael’s publishing venture, Techopia, is now on the point of launching. Here’s an extract from the About page of that site:

Technology is changing at a pace for which there is no precedent — if you are not convinced, consider the speed with which researchers developed vaccines for Covid-19. Some vaccines were designed within a day or so of the sequencing of the virus’s genome.

The impact of technology on the world of work, the economy, society and even upon the meaning of what it is to be human will be extraordinary.

There is no time for technology denialism — no time for arguments that dismiss the idea of rapid technology change. Such cynicism is well-meaning and the stuff of academic reasoning, but it is hugely dangerous because it distracts us from reality.

There is another point, 7.6 billion people reside on this planet — climate change is both real and potentially more dangerous than is generally supposed. A host of other dangers beset the world, from over-fishing, to plastic pollution, antibiotics losing effectiveness to rogue AI. The nuclear war threat is always present, but then a certain Vladimir Putin says that gene editing is more dangerous than the nuclear bomb.

We need technology; without it, we have no way of meeting the needs of the soon to be eight billion people while simultaneously combating the dangers that bestride the globe.

Any form of Luddite philosophy won’t do — that way lies failure to meet these incredibly important challenges.

We call upon everyone to join the debate — an informed debate, designed to release the wisdom of crowds and apply it to these vexing issues in ways that politicians have been unable to achieve.

But the debate must be informed — it must rise above political bias and allegiances, these issues are as important as you can imagine, petty political one-upmanship, and the hatred and intolerance that has infected the political discourse must be quelled. We need an objective debate.

And that is why Techopia exists. The word is a play on technology, utopia and dystopia. We believe that the wonderful advances that we are seeing in technology could finally give humanity the lifestyle we have strived for since we learned how to make fire, but could condemn us to misery, subject to authoritarian rule, or perhaps lead to our extinction.

To drill down into the practicalities of our mission, our raison d’etre is to produce outstanding, jargon-free content, including videos, podcasts, events and feature artilces, aimed at the curious layperson, covering these topics.

Techopia are looking for partners to help them in their project. You can find more details on their website.

8.) The wallet of tomorrow?

Finally, a quick look ahead to our event on 6th February:

Imagine a future where we no longer carry payment cards or other external NFC chips, but we can make payments simply by waving our hand over a standard payment terminal.

In this vision, the bulky wallet of today will be replaced with one small, fully secure implant containing a proximity payment function. Combined with a fully-fledged individual account, this implant will allow users to store money in different currencies and pay with a wave of their hand.

The startup company Walletmor aspires to be the first in the world to offer this kind of payment product. Implants are now available to a number of “Walletmor Ambassadors”. Every Walletmor implant is made from bio-safe, sterile materials and goes through a suite of demanding safety tests to exclude the risk of any infection and disease.

In this event, Walletmor Founder and CEO Wojtek Paprota will be presenting:

  • His vision for how implants can improve human life,
  • Scenarios for the evolution of the wider implants ecosystem,
  • Real-life experiences with implants,
  • His roadmap for products and services,
  • Answers to questions about security and safety,
  • More details about the “Ambassador” programme.

For more details, and to register to attend, click here.

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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