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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Question: What are the risks and benefits of curing aging?

Aubrey de Grey: It’s important to appreciate that there are big distinctions – big differences – in the reaction to my proposals from different communities. Let’s first of all take the wider world … people who are not biologists and who are just wondering about the consequences of success in these ventures … whether it would be a good idea to combat aging or to defeat aging. The predominant reaction is people are … have fear of the unknown. People appreciate that a post-aging world will be unbelievably different from the world that we know today. And in some ways they appreciate that, yes, there would be some good things. There would be much less suffering because, of course, aging doesn’t just kill. It kills people really horribly. People appreciate, you know, that it would be economically very valuable that … that people can carry on contributions to society rather than concealing … by virtue of medical care. That would be good. But on the other hand people are very scared about things like overpopulation or dictators living forever, boredom, or whatever it might be. Now these are legitimate concerns, but they’re overblown. People are essentially abandoning any semblance of sense of proportion when they make these suggestions, because ultimately we’re talking about saving lives here. We’re talking about the fact that 100,000 people die every single day in the world from aging . . . from causes that young people essentially never die of.





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