Ask A Genius 216 – Morality and Escape Velocity
Scott Douglas Jacobsen & Rick Rosner
July 2, 2017
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Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Okay, so we’re just at the beginning of kind of a cultural adjustment to the possibility of extended life.
Rick Rosner: We’ve gone from—mortality lifespan statistics are a little tricky because at the beginning of the 20th century the average lifespan was 40, that’s not a fair deal because the average was brought down by huge levels of infant-child mortality. If you could make it, you know, past ten you’d likely live into your 60s.
But over the past century we’ve added 20 years or so to the average adult life span, but people don’t treat that as if it’s like a signal to change how we live our lives. It hasn’t impacted us psychologically and only now are we beginning to adjust our expectations to the idea of extended further extensions in lifespan.
Our risk avoidance behavior has changed consistently with increased adult life spans. It’s not like the 1930s where we drive around in deathtrap, unpadded automobiles with no seatbelts, you know, people drive worse than ever but auto fatalities keep dropping because cars are packed with safety features and that aspect of life.
So we have two waves; we’ve got the wave of extended healthy lifespan, we’ve got the wave that is sort of trailing that which is preserving mental function independent of the body.
With the healthy lifespan thing playing out across the next fifty years and the separating the mental function from the body thing playing out across the next 150 years and then beyond that is… well, first we got to talk about what we want from cognition which goes back to the question every semi smart at least little kid asks her or himself at some point which is, “Why am I me and not somebody else?” with the answer being because all your sensory information, all your memories, all your information processing pertain to you in your body; everything is… all the information you have and use comes from your body with the added senses and its brain and pertains to you and your body. And for many aspects of extended life that will be able to preserve that feeling of the self.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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