Long Future, Long Lives and Why Not Longer?
Your weekly newsletter from the mind of Miles Lasater
Happy Saturday! Here is your weekly dose of the world of Miles, learning, techno-optimism, business thoughts, and ways to be a better human.
EA is Getting Famous. Effective Altruism was on the cover of Time magazine and got a big write up in Vox and New Yorker. I guess it is the publicity push for Will MacAskill’s new book What We Owe the Future. (Perhaps combined with FTX’s marketing campaigns?) Despite the publicity, I think it influences a tiny fraction of global giving. I did enjoy reading the new book. It popularizes the notion that we should care about the impact of our actions on people many years out. If the future is long and there are many future people, this brings more weight to avoiding risks that seem small today. It is more accessible and has less math than Toby Ord’s book. I few interesting things I noticed:
A connection with another book The Networked State is the importance of multiple cultures and legal systems. Variety allows us to avoid lock-in on sub-optimal values and to explore possibilities that may be better.
MacAskill is more worried about productivity and R&D growth slowing than I would have expected. He worries about both the chance of technological singularity and the chance of a great stagnation.
He is more pro-population and fertility than I expected. We agree that each person likely has a net positive life experience themselves and on average contributes to society.
Longevity Redux. We’ve covered this before and we will cover it again. I’m seeing more interest in longevity with books, podcasts and newsletters. There is even a startup focused on longevity for dogs. Please share your favorite longevity research or resource.
Value in Lifespan. Why does the US have such poor health outcomes? We spend a lot and get less than other countries (18%+ of GDP compared to 12% or less in other rich countries). A few factors on my mind although I’m sure I’m missing something:
over-treatment (including expensive drugs)
overeating and types of food (cultural norms, subsidies and more)
overdose of recreational drugs
suicide (includes non-health factors like availability of guns)
underutilization of hospice and “heroic efforts” at end of life
Higher admin costs (maybe?)
the US is larger than other rich countries and may have relatively more poverty (maybe?)
less non-exercise activity (due to the built environment maybe?)
prohibiting government payers from negotiating pharmaceutical prices
a patent system that makes it too easy to create and extend drug monopolies
a drug approval process with too little emphasis on increasing effectiveness of new drugs
Until next week,
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