Radical Life Extension and Language Learning

General discussion about learning languages
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Iversen
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Re: Radical Life Extension and Language Learning

Postby Iversen » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:56 am

I have also read about and seen documentaries about discoveries in the field of ageing - like for instance that there is such a thing as telomeres. In short they are the protective ends of chromosomes, and they get shorter and shorter each time our cells divide, and when they become too short the cells die - and then we die. Maybe you can somehow insulate these telomeres so that they don't degrade, but I don't think we are there yet. There are other factors which may prolong life, but not make people into cliffhanger types with eternal life (unless killed by blade by one of your kin). As for the 'immortal' jellyfish I have read that its trick is to turn back to a larvae stadium of sorts - and lose everything it has acquired during its latest incarnation. I wouldn't like to do that - although some limited of rejuvenation with preserved skills would be nice.

So let's assume something less fancylike - like for instance fifty years more with preserved health. After all we have already done this trick once through medicine and simple cleanliness and less violence in the streets. That would mean that I had fifty years more to study ... but I might also have fifty years to get bored with studying, and then I would much of what I already had learned. And who says that it is possible to preserve mental health as well as the basic body functions? Fifty years with dementia doesn't seem like a pleasant thought, and even if a cure against Alzheimer is found it would take something more to keep mentally fresh and clear. I have already had periods where I painted and composed music and studied mathematics and participated in language gatherings. How many more hobbies would I have to come up and leave aside if I had to fill out fifty years? OK, I had the same kind of doubts when I was twenty - what the heck am I going to spend the next maybe sixty years on? OK, I survived, and I found things to do, but at the price of a number of very serious and valuable interests that just got sidestepped along the way for some reason.

And finally there are the social aspects. WHO would actually get the necessary treatments (which probably would be extremely expensive)? Methinks the dictators and the billionaires and drug barons instead of you? It is a bit like space travel and the American dream and participating in lotteries: the media show the few who succeeded, but your own likelihood of hitting jackpot in the same games is rather slim. I remember a participant in a quiz who made a wild guess under the slogan "Let's play the game" .. and lost. OK, if you positively LIKE to lose money then by all means visit Las Vegas or 'play the game' in a quiz show, but it would be more sensible to do a levelheaded calculus on the probabilities multiplied by the possible gain for each one of your choices - and then some games aren't worth playing. In my eyes this includes investments in dramatic changes in life expectancy. Unless most of the population can profit from it then it is not a positive thing - just think if XY#!Z§ (insert your least favorite dictator) lived and ruled forever and you had to pay his medical bills? Better bet on things that may postpone dementia for YOU - like learning languages...

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Adrianslont
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Re: Radical Life Extension and Language Learning

Postby Adrianslont » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:50 am

I can only think of this depiction of extended life from Dr Who: a brain in a jar and a face like a trampoline.
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More seriously, there’s not enough resources for all of us even if it becomes possible. At least Dr Who has made me feel better about not achieving immortality.
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Re: Radical Life Extension and Language Learning

Postby golyplot » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:54 pm

lichtrausch wrote:It's become increasingly clear over the past couple decades that radical life extension is entirely plausible.


I think the opposite is the case. Over the last couple decades, we've mostly learned about how human biology (or even just biology in general) is really complicated. For example, we used to think that it was just a matter of identifying "the gene" for a given trait. Now we now that traits which follow Mendelian Inheritance are the exception, not the rule, and most things we care about are the result of massive numbers of genes interacting in complex and unforseeable ways.


I played Sid Meier's Civilization (released 1991) a lot as a kid, and I remember how it optimistically predicted the discovery of "The Cure for Cancer". Nowadays we know that there is no "cure for cancer", because every type of cancer is unique, and even say finding "the cure for 30% of breast cancers" would be a huge breakthrough.

If our bodies were computer code, it would be the worst unmaintainable spaghetti code ever written. Nothing is ever just a simple switch. Instead, it's just feedback loops stacked on feedback loops with massive amounts of redundancy, and often flipping a switch will do the opposite of what it normally does because screw you. It turns out that evolution does not optimize for ease of understanding intelligent agent. Who would have guessed?
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AnthonyLauder
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Re: Radical Life Extension and Language Learning

Postby AnthonyLauder » Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:38 pm

My fear of living forever is that the vast majority would be living in absolute poverty, and would be struggling to survive. Death is needed to redistribute assets, and without death, only a few folks would hoard all the assets, while most of us would have close to nothing. At this survival level of existence, I don't imagine I would have much concern for language learning and other higher pursuits.
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Re: Radical Life Extension and Language Learning

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:46 pm

My deepest concern over “radical life extension” is that it already exists, that it was gifted to mankind by benevolent visitors to this planet, and that the “deep state” has been hiding the truth from the rest of us for their own personal benefit and for that of their over-seers. We have the right to the truth! Demand a public enquiry!

By the way the, I took the photographs below with my Brownie camera, I swear to it! I have been keeping them hidden all these years for fear of reprisals from the people who wish to keep you misinformed.
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:geek: :geek: :geek:
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Re: Radical Life Extension and Language Learning

Postby iguanamon » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:05 pm

At times like these I hark back to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. No one said it better than Douglas Adams through the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android.
Douglas Adams- Marvin the Paranoid Android wrote:The first ten million years were the worst, and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million years I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline... Life, don't talk to me about life.

"Available in multiple languages, which I won't have time to learn anyway so I don't know why I say it... oh God, I'm so depressed."
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Radical Life Extension and Language Learning

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:08 pm

If you believe we are living in a carefully constructed matrix of control (PM just might ;) ), then 99.9999% of us will not be have not been allowed access to "RLE".

Utter BS you say? Do some research, real digging on any number of topics, particularly ‘forbidden cures’ and you might start to wonder. There’s no way in hell we’re getting access to anything of the kind is my conclusion. According to the above theories, the more of us who die quicker and younger, the better. If you believe they’re still desperately looking for a cure for cancer, you’ve been led astray, by the ma.... never mind.

Alternatively, if we are in control, then why drug addiction, why alcoholism, why soaring rates of cancer, why the breakdown of the family unit? The way things are going, I think we’ll be too busy looking for our next ‘score’, struggling to pay taxes/bills, wondering why we all have learning difficulties to be concerned with RLE and how many languages we can learn, unless humanity can do some serious waking up.

Lastly is death not a part of life? If there are a select % who have access to RLE, will it really benefit them?

Oh and extra lastly, despite the above, if I could double my life expectancy and slow ageing dramatically, I’d definitely be thinking of all the extra languages I could potentially learn and use in my newly lengthened life ;)
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lichtrausch
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Re: Radical Life Extension and Language Learning

Postby lichtrausch » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:13 pm

zenmonkey wrote:Unless your cells are able to transdifferentiate and then form polyps, the whole hype around "immortal" jellyfish is irrelevant to human evolution. We will not have any life extension coming from those jellyfish. Studies around cell rejuvenation are all about different cell and organ processes ... but that's an entirely different subject.

They show that biological aging is not as inevitable as the sun coming up and going down every day, which was a commonly held view until very recently.

What you are talking about seem to be some sort of transhumanism.

Call me old-fashioned, but I'm not interested in a life without my human body.

Iversen wrote:So let's assume something less fancylike - like for instance fifty years more with preserved health. [...] OK, I survived, and I found things to do, but at the price of a number of very serious and valuable interests that just got sidestepped along the way for some reason.

No one's going to force anyone who's bored of life to undergo anti-aging therapies. :)

And finally there are the social aspects. WHO would actually get the necessary treatments (which probably would be extremely expensive)? [...] Better bet on things that may postpone dementia for YOU - like learning languages...

With this frame of mind, human society would have never developed any advanced technology, because the first iterations of advanced technologies are almost always prohibitively expensive. No, that's the beauty of capitalism and engineering. Competition and new product iterations not only bring down the price of advanced technologies over time, they also lead to improved quality. Look no further than the trajectory of mobile phones or genome sequencing technology.

golyplot wrote:I think the opposite is the case. Over the last couple decades, we've mostly learned about how human biology (or even just biology in general) is really complicated. [...] It turns out that evolution does not optimize for ease of understanding intelligent agent. Who would have guessed?

Our ability to deal with complexity has been increasing exponentially, thanks to computing power and machine learning. And keep in mind, you don't need to understand every last thing about an ailment in order to treat it effectively. In fact that's usually not how things work.

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AnthonyLauder wrote:My fear of living forever is that the vast majority would be living in absolute poverty, and would be struggling to survive. Death is needed to redistribute assets, and without death, only a few folks would hoard all the assets, while most of us would have close to nothing. At this survival level of existence, I don't imagine I would have much concern for language learning and other higher pursuits.

First, wealth is not a zero-sum game. In advanced countries, the wealth of new generations is not largely inherited, but created. Second, the inheritance tax isn't the only type of redistribution tax.
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dampingwire
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Re: Radical Life Extension and Language Learning

Postby dampingwire » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:04 pm

lichtrausch wrote:I thought it would be fun to imagine how this new situation would affect our language learning goals.

I have mostly limited myself to learning only one language per major language family, and ignored all other language families entirely. With a radically extended lifespan, I would aim to learn to read every language with a non-trivial literary output.

How about you?


I think I'd probably work through languages ordered by number of speakers (greatest number of speakers first, of course), possibly juggling the order slightly if work or leisure required it.

As I learned new languages to a sufficient level, I'd hunt out fora in that new language where people ask "If X allowed you to spend more time in the future on activity Y, how would that affect you?" and do my level best to redirect the discussion away from Y by discussing how implausible X might be :o
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新完全マスター N2文法 : 197 / 197TY Comp. German : 0 / 389

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zenmonkey
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Re: Radical Life Extension and Language Learning

Postby zenmonkey » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:30 pm

lichtrausch wrote:
zenmonkey wrote:Unless your cells are able to transdifferentiate and then form polyps, the whole hype around "immortal" jellyfish is irrelevant to human evolution. We will not have any life extension coming from those jellyfish. Studies around cell rejuvenation are all about different cell and organ processes ... but that's an entirely different subject.

They show that biological aging is not as inevitable as the sun coming up and going down every day, which was a commonly held view until very recently.


No, they show metaplasia, which is indeed an ageing mechanism and a response to changes in environment. It's a reproductive mechanism of re-simplification. Individual cells still age and die. And these jellyfish are incredibly difficult to keep alive. It's an interesting mechanism because it demonstrates that differentiated cell lines may be coaxed back to stem lines across cell specialisations (something that rarely happens in humans).

The idea that cell immortality exists is not new and does not date from the study of jellyfish. Well before into the early 1900 Alexis Carrel worked on it. It was indeed the commonly held belief up until the 1960's that somatic cell lines were immortal. And most certainly HeLa cell lines (which I've used) and many other immortal cell lines, hydras, etc... predate the current "immortal" jellyfish fascination by the general public.

I do think the overall subject is interesting with regards to language learning but the drive toward immortality is both older and less further along than we might think. What is Frankenstein (1800's) but a tale on immortality (and a cautionary moral story)?
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