27 February 2008

"Happily psychotic" returns 77 hits on google

Finally had some time to work on my website and write a short generic iPlant introduction:
An iPlant is a new kind of brain implant that could be developed in less than 10 years. It would regulate the release of monoamines in the brain, thus giving its user increased control over his or her motivation, mood, learning and creativity. Brain implants like this have been available for non-human animals for decades: for instance, they've been used to motivate rats to do heavy exercise and learn new behaviors. The electronics and surgical procedures required for human application already exist in the form of so called deep brain stimulation treatments for movement disorders.
iPlants could give people the motivation to perform difficult behaviors such as physical exercise, learning or research. They might also offer a more dynamic alternative to stimulants and antidepressants, which function by regulating monoamines.
The purpose of this website is to discuss and promote the development of iPlants.

The Longevity Dividend Seminar has talks by several anti-aging top dogs including Aubrey de Gray; a good talk but the first 10 minutes are unbearably noisy (mp3, 47min). Jay Olshansky's opening address is an excellent introduction for anyone unfamiliar with anti-aging research (mp3, 46min). But more than that: Jay describes how recent lobbying efforts has resulted in the following formulations in the most recent, now senate-approved, NIH appropriations bill:
"The committee commends the NIA for work it has done to improve understanding of the biological factors that regulate the processes of aging. These new discoveries have led many scientists to believe that it may become possible to postpone the onset of a wide range of fatal and disabling diseases in a coordinated fashion, by retardation of the aging process. It is widely understood that chronic illness is a powerful driver of medical costs, which in the United States are expected to reach 16 trillion dollars annually by 2030.
"To elleviate this financial burden and to develop interventions that can extend health and longevity, the committee urges the NIH to increase dramatically its annual investment in the biological process of aging."
What appears to have happened is that politicians are getting seriously worried about the aging baby-boomers, who will hit retirement age in just a few years (not just in the US). Watch this space, the introduction of this kind of language and funding directives could have a massive impact.
Another interesting conference with media available online is the LIFT conference, recently held in Geneva. A 'technology and society' type conference with speakers like Kevin Warwick (26 min, like Aubrey he has sound problems). I'll blog the good ones as I go through them.
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