On Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 8:44 AM, Ben Goertzel <> wrote:

> I'm writing an article on the topic for H+ Magazine, which will appear in
> the next couple weeks ... I'll post a link to it when it appears
> I'm not advocating applying AI in the absence of new experiments of
> course.  I've been working closely with Genescient, applying AI tech to
> analyze the genomics of their long-lived superflies, so part of my message
> is about the virtuous cycle achievable via synergizing AI data analysis with
> carefully-designed experimental evolution of model organisms...

I should dredge up and forward past threads with them. There are some flaws
in their chain of reasoning, so that it won't be all that simple to sort the
few relevant from the many irrelevant mutations. There is both a huge amount
of noise, and irrelevant adaptations to their environment and their
treatment. Even when the relevant mutations are eventually identified, it
isn't clear how that will map to usable therapies for the existing

Perhaps you remember the old Star Trek episode about the long-lived
population that was still locked in a war after hundreds of years? The
episode devolved into a dispute over the potential value of this discovery -
was there something valuable in the environment, or did they just evolve to
live longer? Here, the long-lived population isn't even human.

Further, most of the things that kill us operate WAY too slowly to affect
fruit flies, though there are some interesting dual-affecting problems.
Unfortunately, it isn't as practical to autopsy fruit flies as it is to
autopsy people to see what killed them.

As I have posted in the past, what we have here in the present human
population is about the equivalent of a fruit fly population that was bred
for the shortest possible lifespan. Our social practices could hardly do
worse. Our present challenge is to get to where fruit flies were before Rose
first bred them for long life.

I strongly suspect that we have some early-killer mutations, e.g. to people
off as quickly as possible after they pass child-bearing age, which itself
is probably being shortened through our bizarre social habits of mating
like-aged people. Genescient's approach holds no promise of identifying
THOSE genes, and identifying the other genes won't help at all until those
killer genes are first silenced.

In short, there are some really serious challenges to Genescient's approach.
I expect success for several other quarters long before Genescient bears
real-world usable fruit. I suspect that these challenges, along with the
ubiquitous shortage of funding will keep Genescient out of producing
real-world usable results pretty much forever.

Future AGI output: "Fund aging research."

Update on studying more of Burzynski's papers: His is not a "cancer cure" at
all. What he is doing is removing gene-silencing methylization from the DNA,
and letting nature take its course, e.g. having their immune systems kill
the cancer via aptosis. In short, it is a real-world anti-aging approach
that has snuck in "under the radar". OF COURSE any real-world working
anti-aging approach would kill cancer! How good is his present product? Who
knows? It sure looks to me like this is a valid approach, and I suspect that
any bugs will get worked out in time. WATCH THIS. This looks to me like it
will work in the real-world long before any other of the present popular
approaches stand a chance of working. After all, it sure seems to be working
on some people with really extreme gene silencing - called cancer.


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