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Discussing "The Science of Radical Life Extension" with TED Books author David Ewing Duncan

Continuing with our series of TED Book Chats.... How long do you want to live, and why?

For the next two weeks, we'll be discussing David Ewing Duncan's new eBook, "When I'm 164", on the science of radical life extension. Duncan surveys the increasingly legitimate science — from genetics and regeneration to machine solutions — and considers the pluses and minuses of living to age 164, or beyond. We'll look at everything from the impact of extended life on cities, services, and the cost of living as well as what happens to love, curiosity, and general health.

The book is available for Kindle, Nook, and iOS devices (which have a great new custom TED Books app):

Kindle copy: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008XB16ME/
iOS app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ted-books/id511071050?mt=8

The New York Times also published an excerpt this week, you can read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/sunday-review/how-long-do-you-want-to-live.html

Finally, author David Ewing Duncan will be joining us for a live Q&A at 4pm EDT on September 11th!

Looking forward to our discussion!


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    Sep 8 2012: The longer we live, the less happily we live.
    If we live forever, we will be happy never.
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      Sep 11 2012: I would argue a slight variation on your theme. If one is unhappy extending their life may only be an opportunity for more unhappiness. On the other hand it may give them the opportunity to explore their bliss and find a great sense of satisfaction and happiness.

      I love my life, but it wasn't always this way. If my life ended at say 18 years I might have only known melancholy, frustration and disappointment - never having the opportunity to explore different aspects of myself, traveling the world, trying new things, inventing, trying out new careers. If I could do this for another 120 years for me it would be a great blessing.

      So while I see the point you're making, I would be inclined to say it can go either way. If you're happy more time would be a gift. If you're unhappy more time might be a curse... or it might be an opportunity to learn to be happy.
      • Sep 11 2012: I agree with Sean - The longer you live the more chances you have to discover things that can make you happy. I know I am more happy now than I was 20 years ago.
    • Sep 11 2012: I am 27 years old now, almost 28... The older i get the more i appreciate myself. The more knowledge and experience i acquire the more self love and confidence i have. Just like sean up until 18 my life was OK but I was fat, no confidence and missed out on so much that my peers were experiencing socially. In the past 10 years that has radically changed, and i only feel like i am really starting to understand myself. I have a feeling in 20 years i will feel the same, still learning loving and growing... I think it's important to keep a positive attitude in life and then living forever will be great, at least for me it will be
      • Sep 11 2012: It can change anytime, Kyle. Around the next corner may be the experience that changes it for you. For me it was cancer diagnosed 3 mos post partum that made me see life can be very nasty! Still, another experience may be coming that will give me my positive outlook back!
        • Sep 11 2012: Jessica, sorry to hear about that... Cancer is bad, i have two people close to me who have it... ovarian and spinal... I think what radical life extension is about it having the OPTION to live as long as you want in a healthy state. Just as someone can beat cancer, at the same time i could be a healthy 125yr old and get hit by a bus... To me life extension is about living as long as you can as healthy as possible...
          As for cancer i know several people with promising procedures including stem cells and nano-technology... soon we will be able to treat all disease...
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          Sep 11 2012: Jessica, you have an excellent perspective. I'm very sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I'm overjoyed to hear however that it wasn't during your pregnancy. I have a friend who did experience an aggressive form of lymphoma during her pregnancy, and only by a series of miraculous scientific and medical feats did her daughter come through without harm, and very minimal mutagenic complications to herself. She is one of the most amazing people I've ever met.

          All of that said, I've always been conflicted by the nature of these "life challenges." On the one hand I pity the untested, unchallenged life. The life that will face no great challenges probably isn't a person with a lot of depth of character. It seems like the most interesting, empathic, daring, and accomplished people I've met have faced great challenges in their life.

          That said, however, I would never wish these dramatic, painful and life changing experiences on anyone. So I think this is where my conflict comes in. How should we process these experiences; as an opportunity, or as victims of a tragedy, or both, or maybe as something completely different?

          What do you think Jessica?

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