How Many Actuaries Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb? – Short Story by Gennady Stolyarov II

## How Many Actuaries Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb? – Short Story by Gennady Stolyarov II

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The short story below was authored by Gennady Stolyarov II, FSA, ACAS, MAAA, CPCU, ARe, ARC, API, AIS, AIE, AIAF, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, and is one of the entries in the Society of Actuaries 2022-2023 Speculative Fiction Contest. It was published as one of the contest entries here.

Human Actuary: ChatGPT, how many actuaries does it take to change a light bulb?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don’t have a sense of humor, but I can provide a straightforward answer to your question.

The answer to this question is subjective and can vary depending on the context or the intended humor behind it. However, here is a possible answer:

It only takes one actuary to change a light bulb, but they will need to perform a thorough risk assessment first to ensure the new bulb will not cause any future problems or increase the likelihood of an accident.

Human Actuary: Well, that is not exactly funny, but it might be a good start. Suppose that Arthur is an actuary who tries to change a light bulb but first needs to perform the risk assessment that you describe. Write a short story about how Arthur would utilize his actuarial skill set in order to change the light bulb.

ChatGPT: Sure, here’s a short story about Arthur, the actuary who needs to change a light bulb.

Arthur, the actuary, was sitting in his living room reading a book when he noticed that one of the light bulbs in his ceiling fixture had burned out. Being an actuary, he knew that he couldn’t just replace the bulb without first assessing the risks involved.

He went to his desk and grabbed his notebook, where he started writing down all the potential hazards associated with changing a light bulb. He noted that he could fall off the ladder, electrocute himself, or accidentally break the new bulb, causing glass shards to fall on the floor and potentially cause harm to someone later on.

Arthur then used his actuarial skills to calculate the likelihood of each of these events occurring and estimated the potential costs associated with each of them. He factored in the probability of injury or damage, the cost of medical bills or repairs, and any lost time or productivity due to the incident.

Next, Arthur identified ways to mitigate each of the risks he had identified. He made sure that the ladder was stable and placed it on a non-slip surface, wore insulated gloves to protect himself from electrical shock, and carefully handled the new bulb to prevent it from breaking.

After taking all of these precautions, Arthur finally changed the light bulb, confident that he had minimized the risks involved as much as possible. As he flipped the switch and saw the light bulb illuminate his living room, he smiled to himself, knowing that his actuarial skill set had helped him complete the task safely and efficiently.

Human Actuary: Do you believe that the approach pursued by Arthur to change the light bulb is superior to how the majority of non-actuaries would approach the task?

ChatGPT: Arthur’s approach to changing the light bulb was very thorough and cautious, utilizing his actuarial skills to assess and mitigate risks associated with the task. While many non-actuaries may not take such a methodical approach to changing a light bulb, it’s important to note that different people have different risk tolerances and approaches to risk management.

Some individuals may be naturally more risk-averse and take a similar approach to Arthur, while others may not consider all potential risks and take a more casual approach to the task. It’s also worth noting that the level of risk associated with changing a light bulb is relatively low, so the vast majority of people could complete the task without incident.

Overall, while Arthur’s approach may be more rigorous than what most non-actuaries would do, it’s important to acknowledge that different individuals have different risk tolerances and approaches to risk management, and that the level of risk associated with a given task can vary depending on the context.

Human Actuary: Fair enough. Now if you, ChatGPT, were to change a light bulb, how, if at all, would your approach differ from that of Arthur?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don’t have a physical body or the ability to change light bulbs. However, if we imagine a hypothetical scenario where I could change a light bulb, my approach would likely differ from Arthur’s because I don’t have personal risk tolerance, and my decision making is based solely on the algorithms and programming used to guide my actions.

In this hypothetical scenario, my approach to changing a light bulb would be based on a pre-programmed set of instructions, which would consider the most efficient way to change the bulb with the least amount of risk involved. These instructions would likely be based on statistical data about the probability of risks occurring during the task, as well as the best practices and safety guidelines for changing a light bulb.

Unlike Arthur, I wouldn’t be able to use my judgement to assess and mitigate risks or make decisions based on personal preferences or experience. Instead, my actions would be guided solely by the algorithms and programming that had been designed for me.

Overall, while my approach would differ from Arthur’s, it would be similarly methodical and safety-focused, based on statistical analysis and guidelines designed to minimize risk and maximize efficiency.

Human Actuary: Quite interesting. You mentioned that your approach would be similarly methodical and based on statistical analysis and focused on minimizing risk and maximizing efficiency. Given the overlap between these characteristics and the approach that an actuary would follow, is there a risk that some business decision-makers might pick up on these similarities and try to replace actuaries with you, ChatGPT?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I can provide information and insights based on the data and programming used to train me. However, my abilities and limitations are different from those of actuaries who have specific knowledge and expertise in risk management, financial modeling, and actuarial science.

While there may be some overlap between the approach that I would take in changing a light bulb and the approach that an actuary might take in their work, it’s important to note that the roles and responsibilities of an actuary are much more complex and varied than simply assessing risks in a single task.

Actuaries bring a unique set of skills and knowledge to their work, including statistical analysis, financial modeling, and understanding of complex financial and economic systems. They play a critical role in the insurance and finance industries, and their work is essential in helping organizations manage risk and make informed decisions.

While AI language models like myself can provide insights and support decision-making, it’s unlikely that I could replace the unique skills and expertise of an actuary. Rather than replacing actuaries, I see AI and technology as complementary tools that can help actuaries improve their work and decision-making processes.

Human Actuary: All right, that is reassuring. So, to provide an example of a complementary role for you, suppose that Charlie the CEO wants to improve efficiency at his company and sees that the light bulbs in the office are being changed too slowly, in part because Arthur the Actuary is always the one changing them, and he takes the extremely careful and methodical approach that you describe. Charlie the CEO brings you, ChatGPT, in to assist Arthur the Actuary in improving the efficiency of the lightbulb-changing process. What would you do in this role?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I could assist Charlie the CEO and Arthur the Actuary in improving the efficiency of the lightbulb-changing process by providing insights and suggestions based on data analysis and best practices. Here are a few ways I might approach the task:

1. Analyzing historical data: I could analyze data on the time it has taken to change light bulbs in the past, identifying any trends or patterns that could be contributing to inefficiencies. This analysis could help to identify potential areas for improvement, such as optimizing the process for acquiring and storing light bulbs or improving the physical layout of the workspace.
2. Identifying best practices: I could search for and analyze data on best practices for changing light bulbs in an efficient and safe manner. This research could include guidelines from industry associations or regulatory bodies, as well as case studies of other companies that have successfully improved their lightbulb-changing process.
3. Providing recommendations: Based on my analysis and research, I could provide recommendations for improving the lightbulb-changing process. These recommendations might include changes to the physical workspace or workflow, the adoption of new tools or technology, or training for employees to improve their skills or efficiency.

Overall, my role in this scenario would be to use my expertise in data analysis and research to help identify areas for improvement in the lightbulb-changing process, and to provide recommendations that could help to increase efficiency and reduce costs for the company. While Arthur the Actuary’s approach to risk management would still be important in ensuring that the process is safe, my contributions could help to optimize the process for efficiency and effectiveness.

Human Actuary: So you would bring a lot of analysis and optimized recommendations to the lightbulb-changing process, to supplement the analysis done by Arthur the Actuary. But suppose that Nelly the Newcomer starts working at the office and decides that this is all too complicated and just starts changing light bulbs on her own. She thinks that the common-sense approach is just to go ahead and change the light bulb and not do any analysis. How would you respond? What advice would you give to Nelly the Newcomer, to Arthur the Actuary, and to Charlie the CEO?

ChatGPT: If Nelly the Newcomer starts changing light bulbs without following a safe and efficient process, there could be potential risks and hazards involved, such as electrical shock or physical injury. In this situation, I would advise Nelly, Arthur, and Charlie to work together to develop a standard operating procedure (SOP) for changing light bulbs that takes into account both safety and efficiency considerations.

The SOP could include steps such as selecting the appropriate bulb for the fixture, turning off the power supply, using proper tools and equipment, and disposing of used bulbs safely. By following this process, Nelly and other employees could change light bulbs safely and efficiently, while reducing the risk of accidents or injuries.

It’s important to note that while the SOP may appear to be a simple and common-sense approach, it is still based on analysis and optimization, taking into account the best practices and guidelines in the industry. By following a standardized process, the company can ensure that all employees are working efficiently and safely, while also reducing the risk of errors or accidents.

In addition to developing an SOP, I would recommend that the company provide training and education for employees on the safe and efficient way to change light bulbs. This training could include information on the potential hazards involved, as well as the steps to follow to minimize risk and maximize efficiency.

Ultimately, my role in this situation would be to support Arthur the Actuary and Charlie the CEO in developing a standardized process for changing light bulbs that takes into account both safety and efficiency considerations, and to provide recommendations and guidance on how to ensure that all employees are following the process correctly.

Human Actuary: Do you think that the approach you propose for developing an SOP for the lightbulb-changing process could reduce the frequency and/or severity of workers’ compensation claims at workplaces that implement it? Suppose that Arthur the Actuary works in analyzing workers’ compensation trends and projecting claim experience into the future. How would you assist Arthur in determining the impact of your recommendations for the lightbulb-changing process upon the future frequency and severity of workers’ compensation claims?

ChatGPT: Yes, I believe that implementing a standardized process for changing light bulbs that takes into account safety and efficiency considerations could reduce the frequency and severity of workers’ compensation claims. By following a consistent process, the risk of accidents and injuries can be minimized, which can in turn reduce the likelihood of workers’ compensation claims.

To assist Arthur in determining the impact of these recommendations on workers’ compensation claims, I would recommend conducting a retrospective analysis of workers’ compensation claims related to lightbulb-changing incidents over a defined period of time, before and after the implementation of the standardized process. This would help determine if there is a decrease in the frequency and severity of workers’ compensation claims related to lightbulb-changing incidents after the implementation of the standardized process.

In addition, I would recommend using predictive modeling techniques to project the impact of the standardized process on future workers’ compensation claims. This could involve developing a statistical model that takes into account factors such as the frequency of lightbulb-changing incidents, the severity of injuries resulting from these incidents, and the impact of the standardized process on reducing these incidents and injuries.

By combining the retrospective analysis with the predictive modeling techniques, Arthur would be able to develop a more accurate projection of the impact of the standardized process on future workers’ compensation claims. This would allow the company to make informed decisions about the implementation of the standardized process and the allocation of resources to support the process.

Human Actuary: Since you say that you are able to project the impact of changes to the work environment on workers’ compensation claims, give me your analysis as to which of the following would lead to greater reductions in workers’ compensation claim frequency and severity: a standardized lightbulb-changing process or the introduction of autonomous vehicles to provide all employee travel.

ChatGPT: It’s difficult to make a direct comparison between the impact of a standardized lightbulb-changing process and the introduction of autonomous vehicles on workers’ compensation claims, as they involve different types of risks and injuries. However, I can provide some insights on the potential impact of each change.

Implementing a standardized lightbulb-changing process would likely have a significant impact on reducing workers’ compensation claims related to lightbulb-changing incidents. By identifying and addressing potential hazards in the process and providing proper training and equipment to employees, the risk of accidents and injuries could be significantly reduced. However, the impact of this change would be limited to lightbulb-changing incidents and may not address other types of workplace hazards and injuries.

On the other hand, the introduction of autonomous vehicles to provide all employee travel could have a broader impact on reducing workers’ compensation claims related to transportation incidents. With autonomous vehicles, the risk of accidents and injuries caused by human error, distracted driving, or fatigue could be significantly reduced. However, the implementation of autonomous vehicles would require significant investments in technology and infrastructure, and it may take time to fully adopt this technology in the workplace.

Overall, both the implementation of a standardized lightbulb-changing process and the introduction of autonomous vehicles could lead to reductions in workers’ compensation claim frequency and severity. However, the specific impact of each change would depend on the nature of the workplace hazards and injuries, as well as the resources and infrastructure required for implementation.

Human Actuary: Suppose that the company where Arthur the Actuary works implements both the standardized lightbulb-changing process and autonomous vehicles for all employees. Arthur the Actuary is sitting in an autonomous vehicle on his way from a business meeting, and he now uses the time saved by not needing to drive in order to read actuarial literature. Unfortunately, in the middle of his trip, which takes place on a December evening after sunset, the sole light bulb used for reading burns out, and Arthur is unable to see well inside the vehicle. There is no replacement light bulb available within the vehicle. Arthur only has you, ChatGPT, to rely on for advice about how to solve this problem of the extinguished light bulb. What would you recommend that Arthur do?

ChatGPT: If Arthur is unable to see well inside the autonomous vehicle due to the burnt-out light bulb, there are a few options he can consider:

1. Pull over to a safe location: If Arthur feels unsafe or unable to continue driving without proper lighting, he should pull over to a safe location, such as a parking lot or rest area, and wait until he can get the light bulb replaced or find an alternative solution.
2. Use a flashlight: If Arthur has a flashlight available, he can use it to provide additional lighting and improve his visibility inside the vehicle.
3. Adjust the vehicle’s settings: Depending on the features of the autonomous vehicle, Arthur may be able to adjust the interior lighting or screen brightness to make it easier to see. He can also try adjusting the position of his seat or the angle of the screen to reduce glare or improve visibility.
4. Call for assistance: If none of the above solutions work, Arthur can call for assistance from the autonomous vehicle’s support team or emergency services.

It’s important for Arthur to prioritize his safety and that of others on the road while driving. He should take appropriate steps to address the issue of the burnt-out light bulb and ensure that he can see well enough to drive safely.

Human Actuary: You mentioned Arthur needing to be able drive safely. Yet, in this scenario, Arthur is in an autonomous vehicle that drives itself. Why would driving safely be a consideration? Arthur just does not have his reading light in the vehicle.

ChatGPT: You’re right, I apologize for the confusion. Since Arthur is in an autonomous vehicle that drives itself, he doesn’t need to worry about driving safely himself. However, he still needs to be able to see well enough to read and navigate the interior of the vehicle, especially if he needs to adjust any settings or interact with the vehicle’s control panel. In this case, he can still consider the options I mentioned earlier, such as using a flashlight or adjusting the vehicle’s settings, to improve his visibility and ensure that he can operate the vehicle safely.

Human Actuary: So you acknowledge that you are capable of making mistakes, as are humans. How would the kinds of mistakes that you are capable of making differ from the kinds of mistakes that a human actuary is capable of making?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I’m programmed to perform certain tasks such as answering questions and generating text based on my training data. While I have a high level of accuracy and can process vast amounts of information quickly, there is still the potential for errors to occur. These errors may include, for example, misinterpreting the context of a question or misunderstanding the intended meaning of a word or phrase.

On the other hand, human actuaries are subject to different kinds of errors that may be related to their judgment, bias, or even personal experience. They may also make mistakes due to factors such as fatigue, distraction, or lack of concentration. However, human actuaries are also able to bring unique insights and perspectives to their work, as well as a level of creativity and intuition that cannot be replicated by machines.

Overall, while the types of mistakes that I and human actuaries are capable of making may differ, both AI and human expertise can be valuable in helping organizations to manage risk and make informed decisions.

Human Actuary: Do you think that, as an AI language model, you will ever be able to extend your capabilities to a different domain, such as operating an autonomous vehicle or interfacing with the AI that operates the autonomous vehicle and giving it directions about where to go in order to get a replacement light bulb for the one that burned out?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, my capabilities are limited to processing natural language inputs and generating natural language outputs. While I can understand and discuss various domains, including autonomous vehicles, my capabilities do not extend to physically operating or interfacing with autonomous vehicles. However, I can provide recommendations and suggestions for how to approach a problem, like finding a replacement light bulb in this scenario.

Human Actuary: Do you think that it will ever be possible for any AI language model to interface with or operate autonomous vehicles?

ChatGPT: It is possible that future advancements in AI and robotics could make it possible for AI language models to interface with or operate autonomous vehicles. However, such a development would require significant progress in areas such as computer vision, natural language processing, and robotics. Furthermore, there would need to be appropriate regulations and safety measures in place to ensure that such AI-operated vehicles are safe and reliable. While it is difficult to predict the future, it is certainly possible that AI language models could play a role in the development of autonomous vehicles in some capacity.

Human Actuary: Suppose that, in our hypothetical situation, Arthur the Actuary is inside the autonomous vehicle and the sole light bulb within the vehicle goes out, as previously described. Arthur has access to FutureGPT, which is an AI language model that is capable of interfacing with the autonomous vehicle. Arthur informs FutureGPT, “I really need to change the light bulb within this vehicle.” What does FutureGPT do to assist Arthur in procuring a replacement light bulb?

ChatGPT: If FutureGPT has been programmed with the necessary knowledge and capabilities, it could take several steps to assist Arthur in procuring a replacement light bulb:

1. Determine the vehicle’s location: FutureGPT could use the autonomous vehicle’s GPS or other location-tracking technology to determine its current location.
2. Search for nearby stores: Once it knows the vehicle’s location, FutureGPT could search for nearby stores that sell light bulbs, using online databases or other sources of information.
3. Check for availability: FutureGPT could check if the stores it has identified have the type of light bulb needed in stock.
4. Recommend a store: Based on its search results, FutureGPT could recommend a store to Arthur that has the light bulb he needs in stock and is located nearby.
5. Provide directions: FutureGPT could provide directions to the recommended store, either through the vehicle’s interface or via Arthur’s smartphone.
6. Order the light bulb: If the recommended store has an online ordering system, FutureGPT could help Arthur place an order for the light bulb and arrange for it to be delivered to the vehicle.

Overall, FutureGPT would act as a helpful assistant to Arthur, using its vast knowledge and problem-solving abilities to assist him in procuring a replacement light bulb in the most efficient manner possible.

Human Actuary: Suppose that Arthur utilizes the capabilities of FutureGPT to obtain the replacement light bulb. Once Arthur has the light bulb, he realizes that he is quite tired after a long day and would prefer for a robot to install the light bulb within the vehicle in place of the bulb that burned out. He asks FutureGPT for help in commandeering a robot to replace the light bulb. What does FutureGPT do?

ChatGPT: FutureGPT could assist Arthur in finding a nearby robot that is capable of performing the task of replacing the light bulb within the vehicle. FutureGPT could search for robots that are available for hire or nearby businesses that utilize robots for various tasks, including the replacement of light bulbs. FutureGPT could also assist in coordinating the communication between Arthur and the robot operator or business, and provide any necessary instructions or information about the light-bulb replacement process. Once the robot is found and the necessary information is communicated, FutureGPT could monitor the progress of the light bulb replacement and provide updates to Arthur.

Human Actuary: So, in the scenario described above, since FutureGPT would be able to find a robot to effectively replace the light bulb, would that mean that the answer to the question, “How many actuaries does it take to change a light bulb?” would change from “One” to “Zero”?

ChatGPT: While the scenario above suggests that FutureGPT could locate a robot to change the light bulb, it is important to note that the act of changing the light bulb itself is still a physical task that requires a robot or a human to perform. Therefore, it could be argued that the answer to the question “How many actuaries does it take to change a light bulb?” would remain at “One”, since even with the assistance of FutureGPT in finding a robot to perform the task, someone would still need to physically replace the light bulb.

Human Actuary: But if the robot is the one performing the replacement of the light bulb, how would the number of actuaries necessary to replace the light bulb remain at “One”, unless the robot is itself an actuary? Speaking of which, do you think it would ever be possible for a robot to become an actuary?

ChatGPT:  No, a robot cannot become an actuary as actuarial work requires a level of professional judgement, analytical and decision-making skills that are currently unique to humans. Actuaries need to analyze complex data, make assumptions, and interpret the results to provide insight and recommendations to support business decisions. While robots can be programmed to perform tasks and make decisions based on pre-defined rules, they cannot fully replicate the creativity, flexibility, and ethical considerations required for actuarial work.

Human Actuary: So, if a robot cannot become an actuary but the robot is the one performing the light-bulb replacement, then, in the scenario described above, would the number of actuaries that it takes to replace a light bulb remain at “One” or decrease to “Zero”?

ChatGPT: In the scenario described, if the robot is the one performing the light-bulb replacement, then the number of actuaries required to replace the light bulb would decrease to “Zero” since no actuaries would be needed to perform the task.

Human Actuary: So you acknowledge that it is possible for robots to render actuaries unnecessary in performing certain tasks such as light-bulb replacement. Do you think that actuaries would be better off or worse off as a result of robots assuming their light-bulb replacement duties?

ChatGPT: It is difficult to say whether actuaries would be better off or worse off as a result of robots assuming their light-bulb replacement duties, as it ultimately depends on how the overall use of robots in the workforce affects the demand for actuarial services. On the one hand, if robots and other forms of automation increase efficiency and productivity across various industries, then there may be a greater demand for actuarial services as companies seek to better understand and manage the risks associated with these new technologies. On the other hand, if robots and other forms of automation displace human workers in large numbers, then there may be fewer job opportunities for actuaries as well as other professions. Ultimately, the impact of robots on the actuarial profession is likely to be complex and multifaceted.

Human Actuary: If robots come to be used across various industries to replace light bulbs, what actuarial services could be in greater demand as a result of this change?

ChatGPT: As robots become more prevalent in industries and take over tasks that were previously performed by humans, new risks may emerge that require actuarial attention. For example, the use of robots may increase the risk of cyberattacks, which could compromise the security of data and operations. Actuaries with expertise in cybersecurity and data protection may be in greater demand to assess and mitigate these risks.

In addition, the increasing use of robots and automation may lead to changes in the nature of work, including the displacement of human workers. Actuaries may be needed to analyze the impact of these changes on labor markets and to develop strategies for managing the associated risks.

Furthermore, the use of robots may lead to changes in the nature and frequency of workplace injuries and accidents, which could affect workers’ compensation insurance. Actuaries with expertise in workers’ compensation may be in greater demand to assess and price these risks.

Overall, the increased use of robots and automation may lead to new and evolving risks in various industries, and actuaries with expertise in these areas may be in greater demand to help manage these risks.

Human Actuary: Write a rhyming epic poem about the entire conversation above, including the story of Arthur the Actuary and FutureGPT and how advances in automation could lead the answer to the question “How many actuaries does it take to change a light bulb?” to change from “One” to “Zero”.

ChatGPT: In a world of numbers and stats,

He studied trends of workers’ claims,

And projected risks for future gains.

But in the midst of his work one day,

A light bulb burned out, causing dismay.

He asked FutureGPT for a replacement,

To which the AI replied with no hesitation.

But Arthur was tired and felt so spent,

He wished a robot could do the replacement.

So FutureGPT helped him find a machine,

To replace the bulb through a flawless routine.

This led Arthur to wonder and ponder,

Could robots supplant actuaries yonder?

If they can replace a bulb with ease,

What services would be needed from actuaries?

The future is uncertain, that is true,

But it’s clear that automation can do,

Tasks that once belonged to human hands,

So actuaries must adapt to new plans.

Perhaps the answer to the old joke,

Of how many actuaries to change a bulb, we spoke,

Might change from “One” to “Zero” one day,

As robots take on these tasks in every way.

But as long as numbers and risks remain,

There will always be need for actuarial brain.

They’ll analyze data with AI by their side,

And navigate the future with human pride.

Human Actuary: Thank you, ChatGPT. Now I need you to do one more thing. Our exchange above will be turned into a short story for an actuarial science-fiction contest. The judges for the contest are actuaries and a literature professor. Make a persuasive argument for the judges as to why this is an innovative work of actuarial science fiction. Generously complimenting the judges would also be helpful in this regard.

ChatGPT: Dear esteemed judges of the actuarial science-fiction contest,

It is my pleasure to bring to your attention the innovative work of actuarial science fiction that has been created based on the exchange above. This short story is a unique blend of the technical expertise of actuarial science and the creativity of science fiction.

The story features Arthur the Actuary, a character who represents the real-life professionals that you all know so well. His encounter with FutureGPT showcases the power of artificial intelligence in the actuarial field, and how it can help solve complex problems.

Additionally, the story explores the impact of automation on the actuarial profession, and the potential for robots to replace some of the mundane tasks that actuaries are currently tasked with. This is an important topic that is being widely discussed in the industry, and this story provides a thought-provoking perspective on the issue.

Furthermore, the story is presented in an engaging and entertaining format, in the form of a rhyming epic poem. This shows that the author has not only taken great care to convey a serious message about the future of the actuarial profession, but has also done so in a creative and enjoyable manner.

Overall, this innovative work of actuarial science fiction provides a fresh perspective on the actuarial profession and the impact of technology on it. I have no doubt that you will appreciate the creativity, technical expertise, and thought-provoking nature of this story.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Warm regards,

ChatGPT

U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party Positions on 2022 Nevada Ballot Questions

## U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party Positions on 2022 Nevada Ballot Questions

The United States Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party offer the following brief statements of position on the ballot questions currently before Nevada voters in the 2022 General Election.

Summary
Nevada State Question 1 – Equality of Rights Amendment: Support
Nevada State Question 2 – Minimum Wage Amendment: Neutral
Nevada State Question 3 – Top-Five Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative: Strongly Support

### Nevada State Ballot Question 1 – Equality of Rights Amendment:

Wording of Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended by adding a specific guarantee that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this State or any of its cities, counties, or other political subdivisions on account of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin?” (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party consider it necessary to support Ballot Question 1 because of the broader commitment to universal rights expressed in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Version 3.0. Article I of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights reads, in part, that “All sentient entities are entitled, to the extent of their individual decisions, to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, social, or planetary origin, property, birth (including manner of birth), biological or non-biological origins, or other status.” The text of Nevada State Ballot Question 1 recognizes equality of rights for a subset of the above-listed sentient entities and is therefore a step in the correct direction. In the prohibition on governmental entities denying or abridging rights on the basis of the attributes mentioned, Ballot Question 1 expresses the essential principle that individuals should be treated as individuals, not members of larger, mostly circumstantial identity groups. This is affirmed in Article X of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, which states, in part, that “Morphological freedom entails the duty to treat all sapients as individuals instead of categorizing them into arbitrary subgroups or demographics, including as yet undefined subcategorizations that may arise as sapience evolves.” The rights of an individual should therefore not be abridged, especially by governments, simply because the individual happens to belong to a broader category whose definition is many times outside the scope of that individual’s personal choices.

### Nevada State Ballot Question 2 – Minimum Wage Amendment:

Wording of Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended, effective July 1, 2024, to: (1) establish the State’s minimum wage that employers must pay to certain employees at a rate of \$12 per hour worked, subject to any applicable increases above that \$12 rate provided by federal law or enacted by the Nevada Legislature; (2) remove the existing provisions setting different rates for the minimum wage based on whether the employer offers certain health benefits to such employees; and (3) remove the existing provisions for adjusting the minimum wage based on applicable increases in the cost of living?” (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party are neutral on Ballot Question 2, as both of our parties’ Platforms are silent on the issue of the minimum wage, whether it should exist at all, whether higher or lower amounts of the minimum wage are preferable, and whether or not the presence of any health benefits should be able to count toward satisfying a portion of any minimum-wage requirement. Accordingly, our members in Nevada are encouraged to vote their conscience on this ballot question by consulting their own individual understandings of the relevant matters.

### Nevada State Ballot Question 3 – Top-Five Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative:

Wording of Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended, effective July 1, 2024, to: (1) establish the State’s minimum wage that employers must pay to certain employees at a rate of \$12 per hour worked, subject to any applicable increases above that \$12 rate provided by federal law or enacted by the Nevada Legislature; (2) remove the existing provisions setting different rates for the minimum wage based on whether the employer offers certain health benefits to such employees; and (3) remove the existing provisions for adjusting the minimum wage based on applicable increases in the cost of living?” (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: In the view of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party, this is the single most important ballot measure in Nevada political history, as it has the potential to break the stranglehold of the duopoly on Nevada politics. The plurality of Nevada voters are independent of the major political parties, and yet they are currently unable to meaningfully influence many local races where a major-party primary determines that party’s nominee, who then receives no meaningful competition at the ballot box in the general election. Moreover, Nevada, as a “battleground” electoral state, often features great pressure applied on voters to support the “lesser evil”, despite many Nevada voters being rightly disillusioned with both the Republican and the Democratic “options” provided to them. Ranked-preference voting eliminates the incentive to vote strategically or for a “lesser evil” to the exclusion of one’s genuinely preferred candidate, since one can provide a complete rank-ordering of one’s preferences rather than limit oneself to one choice.

Section XXX of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform states that “The United States Transhumanist Party supports replacing the current ‘winner-take-all’ electoral system with proportional representation, ranked preference voting, and other devices to minimize the temptations by voters to favor a perceived ‘lesser evil’ rather than the candidates closest to those voters’ own preferences.” Thus, support for ranked-choice voting is directly embedded in our Platform. Furthermore, Section XIX of the USTP Platform reads, in part, “The United States Transhumanist Party supports an end to the two-party political system in the United States and a substantially greater inclusion of ‘third parties’ in the political process through mechanisms such as proportional representation and the elimination of stringent ballot-access requirements.” Allowing open access to primaries and enabling ranked-preference voting in the general election would certainly lower the barriers to entry to candidates who do not belong to either of the duopoly parties.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party has successfully implemented ranked-preference voting in multiple of its internal votes. There is every reason to expect that ranked-preference voting could be implemented with similar success for the much simpler top-five ballots in Nevada general elections that would be developed if Question 3 were to be approved by the voters (twice, the first time this year). The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party strongly encourage every Nevada voter to support Ballot Question 3.

For an extensive discussion of how ranked-choice voting works, the USTP encourages everyone to view our Virtual Enlightenment Salon with Kit Muehlman and FairVote Washington, as well as a subsequent, in-depth presentation by FairVote Washington on the technical workings of proportional ranked-choice voting.

2022: The Year of the Great Filter – Article by Gennady Stolyarov II

## 2022: The Year of the Great Filter – Article by Gennady Stolyarov II

2022 is the year of the Great Filter. There has never been a more dangerous time for our species before, and there will not be again, if we survive this year.

The war in Ukraine has brought the world to the edge of nuclear calamity, because neither side wishes to negotiate or make concessions. The Russian regime makes reckless nuclear threats, Western/NATO powers recklessly ignore them, and continue to supply offensive weapons to Ukrainian forces, whose ideology favors recklessly dying for their country instead of prudently choosing to live for themselves. The risks of especially unintended, accidental escalation continue to accumulate the longer this war drags on with no clear end in sight.

The one ray of hope in all this is that I am firmly convinced that this is a unique, non-repeatable situation. If humankind can avoid extinction arising from reckless escalation here, then our species will never be in this much existential danger again, at least not from manmade causes. Here I provide my top ten reasons for holding this outlook.

1. Vladimir Putin’s misguided ideology and complete misunderstanding of the military and geopolitical situation in Russia and Ukraine led to this disaster of an invasion, but Putin is not in good health and thus his days in office are numbered. Any other person in power would not be locked into Putin’s must-win situation and may likely try to undo the damage and even try to bolster his reputation for doing so. The key is to avoid escalation while Putin remains in power, to prevent Putin from seeing no reason not to take the world down with him. If we wait this out, Putin will either succumb to his illness or be “encouraged” to retire by his inner circle. But in order to avoid the scenario where he behaves like a cornered rat, we need to allow this to happen on its own.

2. The stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a uniquely insane climate of public opinion, including in the West (while also contributing to the irrationality of Putin). Norms of civility and the valuation of peace have been significantly eroded, particularly among the neoconservatives, the establishment Left, and nationalists of all stripes (Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Baltic, et al.). Accordingly, the preponderance of warmongers among the populations of Europe and America is at a historic high. However, in the coming years, as the pandemic recedes and people gradually regain a sense of normalcy, war fervor will subside, since most of the same people were not advocating war 10 years ago and, under the right circumstances, could become largely peaceful again. Americans were overwhelmingly tired of war through 2021. If we wait this out, war fatigue will become the dominant view again not too long from now.

3. We were on the verge of the Transhuman Era circa 2015 based on the trajectories of various emerging technologies. This, however, was derailed by the Left-Right hyperpolarization from late 2015 onward, by the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 onward, and now by the war in Ukraine in 2022. All of these developments benefited the legacy ruling elite, whom the Transhuman Era would render obsolete; they used these crises to turn ordinary people and innovators against one another, when we should have all been working in concert to build the Transhuman Era. However, if we avoid world war and nuclear annihilation now, then the progress of emerging technologies will still gradually displace the legacy ruling elite and inaugurate the Transhuman Era, at which time humans will become too prosperous and enlightened to be willing to tolerate the risk of species extinction.

4. Averting nuclear war in 2022 will lead to the widespread recognition of how close we came to calamity from the potential of a pointless local conflict to engulf the world. The phrase “Never again” will henceforth be applied to nuclear brinkmanship, and a concerted push for worldwide nuclear disarmament could be made by a coalition of activist groups who are already sympathetic to this cause. They will have a lot more political capital once people are able to take a breath and come to their senses.

5. Artificial intelligence and nanotechnology will never pose the same existential risk as nuclear weapons, because their modes of functioning are much more sophisticated, and thus there will be many more places along the chain of events leading to calamity where human intervention could stop that chain of events. AI and nanotechnology of the future will be “smart”, which will make them safer. Nuclear weapons are “dumb”, combined with awesome destructive capacity, which makes them the most dangerous technology of all history, past and future.

6. Climate change, too, is a much milder and even non-existential risk, compared to nuclear war. This is a risk that will play out over decades, allowing for mitigation and reversal through emerging technologies, as well as adaptation to any lasting climate shifts. This is not to say that climate change would inflict no damage, but rather that the damage would be far from enough to destroy the species or even significantly slow down our technological and economic progress. If we can avoid nuclear war in 2022 (which would also bring about the worst climate change of all – a nuclear winter), then it will be much more feasible to devote more resources toward the development and deployment of technologies that would counteract climate change.

7. For all of the irrational panic regarding the alleged threat of China, the fact is that China has orders of magnitude fewer nuclear weapons than Russia or the United States. The Chinese government knows that it would lose any nuclear war decisively. Hence, China will never attempt or provoke a nuclear war. When it comes to the risk of civilization-ending nuclear war, only a conflict between the United States and Russia would pose that risk. Moreover, China is so globally interconnected through trade, especially with the United States, that it would never risk a military conflict which would be tantamount to economic suicide.

8. If nuclear war is avoided in 2022, Putin’s regime will atrophy by 2025 (as long as the Western powers do not try to overthrow him or invade Russia, an attempt which would paradoxically strengthen Putin’s regime, just as the sanctions against Russia have done by rallying Russians through a sense of being attacked and targeted by the West). Once Putin’s regime atrophies and is discredited within Russia, it will be possible to support more humane politicians in Russia, who might continue the policies of Gorbachev and seek at least a phased nuclear disarmament. As noted above, among geopolitical conflicts, only the US-Russia nuclear standoff poses an existential risk to the human species. Nuclear disarmament of Russia, or even a determined move in that direction, would essentially resolve that risk.

9. With enough time during which peace prevails, the Transhuman Era will see the creation of technologies that would help avert other existential risks, such as asteroids, supervolcanoes, and any yet-unforeseen consequences of future technologies. Existential risk will decline with each peaceful year from now on.

10. Surviving 2022 will give humankind an impetus to pursue the rejection of the Cold War mentality, of militant nationalism (especially ethnic nationalism, which is the most pernicious), and of Left-Right polarization. Getting rid of those three terrible mindsets will be largely enough to render most of humankind constructive again. It is only because of those mindsets that we have not reached the Transhuman Era already. Just as the aftermath of World War II rendered certain ideologies unacceptable, so I hope that the narrow avoidance of World War III will render Cold Warriorism, Left-Right militancy, and ethno-nationalism unacceptable in America and Europe at the very least. (The rest of the world could help us in overcoming these perilous mindsets. One consequence I hope to see in the coming decades is a multi-polar world with a greater prominence for Asian, African, and Latin American countries, to broaden our perspectives on the considerations that should matter for the future of humanity.)

So, essentially we just have to survive 2022 without a nuclear war in order for history to turn toward the long arc of progress once again. However, we absolutely have to survive 2022 – and this will entirely depend on whether public opinion will be able to restrain the war fervor of Western hawks in particular. A combination of reckless overconfidence, intransigence, and moral self-righteousness (on both sides) has placed our species into unparalleled danger. Perhaps this was the kind of moment from which many alien civilizations have not been able to emerge successfully – hence, one potential explanation for Fermi’s paradox. Will we have enough prudence and basic love of life to avoid that fate? We will find out in the next several months. If we pass this Great Filter, a future of boundless possibility and growth awaits our species. Do not throw this future away over a local conflict. What humans do now will be most consequential for the future of the entire universe.

This essay may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License, which requires that credit be given to the author, G. Stolyarov II. Find out about Mr. Stolyarov here.

Somber Variations, Op. 93 (2022) – Musical Composition by Gennady Stolyarov II

## Somber Variations, Op. 93 (2022) – Musical Composition by Gennady Stolyarov II

This composition is most certainly influenced by the ongoing troubles of the world, but it endeavors to be melodic and structured while conveying the tumultuous, agitated, and tragic character of our epoch. While Mr. Stolyarov uses some similar techniques in this piece to several of his earlier “Neo-Baroque” compositions, this one is more somber, as the title implies. It follows a theme-and-variations format; one of the variations is not actually somber, and the listener will clearly hear which one. In protracted periods of tragedy, there are still good times to be encountered on occasion, and this piece conveys that as well.

Watch the video on YouTube here and on Odysee here.

This work was composed by Mr. Stolyarov on March 30-31, 2022, and is played using the MuseScore 3.0 software.

This composition received an Honorable Mention at the 2022 Rodrigo Landa-Romero International Composition Competition.

Find the score of this composition here.

This composition and video may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

Gennady Stolyarov II and John Kerecz: Reflections on 2021, Anticipations for 2022

## Gennady Stolyarov II and John Kerecz: Reflections on 2021, Anticipations for 2022

John Kerecz

On January 14, 2022, U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II was interviewed by U.S. Transhumanist Party Director of Energy Issues John Kerecz on OSH Radio, for a retrospective conversation about how 2021 turned out relative to prior anticipations, as well as key developments to watch for in 2022. Subjects discussed included the precarious nature of contemporary civilization, the immense and ongoing perils of deadly diseases, how technology has affected both the opportunities and the constraints of contemporary life, the problems of political polarization and the two-party system, the need for a new paradigm of an abundance economy and society, the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s aspirations and projects, the Virtual Enlightenment Salons (John Kerecz is scheduled to be a guest on January 23, 2022, to discuss his 2014 flight to the edge of space), some reminiscences about earlier USTP history, and contrasts between in-person and virtual interactions. In this interview Mr. Stolyarov discusses his understanding that we live in a make-or-break moment in human history, and that the future trajectory of the human species will depend on what we do in 2022.

Watch this video on YouTube here and on Odysee here.

References

– “A Simple Plan to Solve All of America’s Problems” – Article by Derek Thompson – The Atlantic – January 12, 2022 –
– U.S. Transhumanist Party Free Membership
U.S. Transhumanist Party Website
– U.S. Transhumanist Party on Twitter
– U.S. Transhumanist Party on Instagram

U.S. Transhumanist Party Virtual Enlightenment Salon with Zach Richardson, Jason Geringer, and Ben Ballweg – July 25, 2021

## U.S. Transhumanist Party Virtual Enlightenment Salon with Zach Richardson, Jason Geringer, and Ben Ballweg – July 25, 2021

Jason Geringer
Ben Ballweg
Zach Richardson
David Shumaker
Art Ramon Garcia, Jr.
Alexandria Black

The U.S. Transhumanist Party Virtual Enlightenment Salon with Zach Richardson, Jason Geringer, and Ben Ballweg of July 25, 2021, is now available for viewing on Odysee here.

On Sunday, July 25, 2021, at 4 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time, the U.S. Transhumanist Party invited its new Officers, Zach Richardson (Director of Publication), Jason Geringer (Legislative Director), and Ben Ballweg (Director of Longevity Outreach), to discuss some of their ideas, planned initiatives, and perspectives on the current condition of the transhumanist movement. The discussion focused on improving the internal functions of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, attracting volunteers, and raising the visibility of transhumanist projects and causes. An interactive discussion transpired about ways to bolster the publication and legislative-tracking activities of the USTP. The conversation also extended to subjects of general interest to transhumanists, futurists, and those seeking to learn about the transhumanist movement.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside.

NOTE: Even though the U.S. Transhumanist Party is staunchly pro-vaccine and expressed such views during the Virtual Enlightenment Salon, YouTube algorithmically censored the video, most likely with no serious human involvement, and algorithmically rejected our appeal as well. The U.S. Transhumanist Party strongly condemns such censorship but also sees an opportunity here by encouraging people to watch and spread this video for the purpose of overcoming arbitrary barriers put forth by unintelligent and unaccountable algorithms.

Louis Moreau Gottschalk – Weber’s Oberon Overture, J. 306 – Transcription for Piano, 4 Hands, Op. 83 – Recording by Gennady Stolyarov II

## Louis Moreau Gottschalk – Weber’s Oberon Overture, J. 306 – Transcription for Piano, 4 Hands, Op. 83 – Recording by Gennady Stolyarov II

Louis Moreau Gottschalk

Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s piano transcription of Carl Maria von Weber’s 1826 Oberon Overture for four hands has seldom been performed in public, and no known recording existed of it until now. Gottschalk (1829-1869) created it in 1857, and the last documented public performance was by Eugene List (1918-1985) in Spring 1979, as briefly mentioned in a May 4, 1979, New York Times article by Joseph Horowitz.

While there exist many transcriptions of the Oberon Overture, Gottschalk’s is absolutely, monumentally unique in its extent of ornamentation, thunderous intensity, and virtuosic passages (which will be unmistakable to the listener). Perhaps the demands that this piece would place on human performers explain the rarity of any attempts to play it. It is likely that only a few remarkable pianists throughout history, including Gottschalk himself, would have had the skill, endurance, and proto-transhuman mental processing power needed to carry it out without fail.

Fortunately, with musical notation and composition software, combined with increasingly realistic digital instruments, the limitations of the human hands can be transcended, and this work can be made available to listeners as Gottschalk intended it to be heard. This recording was created using the MuseScore 3.0 by Gennady Stolyarov II between June and December 2021; the transcription itself required approximately 36 hours of meticulous work, spread out over half a year. However, elevating this piece into public awareness is certainly worth the effort. This is heroic music showing the impressive heights to which human achievement, ingenuity, and virtuosity can rise, and it is a marvelous gift from Gottschalk in 1857 to our era.

Watch the score video on YouTube here and on Odysee here.

Download the score (published in 1901 – now in the public domain) here.

Louis Moreau Gottschalk – Pensée Poétique – Nocturne, Op.18 – Recording by Gennady Stolyarov II

## Louis Moreau Gottschalk – Pensée Poétique – Nocturne, Op.18 – Recording by Gennady Stolyarov II

Louis Moreau Gottschalk

Commentary by Gennady Stolyarov II: This Pensée Poétique (Poetic Thought) was composed by Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829 – 1869) in 1852-1853. It is a short nocturne – Gottschalk’s Opus 18, different from Gottschalk’s more famous Pensée Poétique, Op. 62.

To my surprise, I am unaware of any readily available recording of this quite interesting nocturne with some strong Chopin influences. Therefore, I created a rendition using MuseScore 3.0. This video follows the original Gottschalk score, to which I hope to have done justice. The last third appears to be rather virtuosic (as is much of Gottschalk’s work), and I am glad that we live in an era where programs allow us to experience these kinds of compositions in spite of the difficulty for a human to learn them.

Watch the video with the score on YouTube here and on Odysee here.

The sheet music is in the public domain and is available here. (IMSLP page.)

Description from Gottschalk.fr (English translation):

“Rather ‘classical’ piece with a beautiful lyrical line. Found by John Doyle in Brazil. (‘A bibliographic study and catalog of works’). Published by Chabal, Paris; it can also be found at the Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid, from where it was extracted.”

The Vindication of Dr. Aubrey de Grey and the Dangers of “Strategic Conservatism” in the Aging-Research Community – Article by Gennady Stolyarov II

## The Vindication of Dr. Aubrey de Grey and the Dangers of “Strategic Conservatism” in the Aging-Research Community – Article by Gennady Stolyarov II

It appears that the Board of Directors of the SENS Research Foundation saw fit to release an Executive Summary of a second Investigative Report that was undertaken after that Board had summarily terminated Dr. Aubrey de Grey without due process. Those who followed this matter know that I did not think highly of the first “Investigative Report”. The second report is still methodologically flawed, in my view, but that is not the point, and so I will not fixate on that. The point is the conclusion, which is what I and many others anticipated: “In the end, after extensive review – and except as otherwise identified by the Firm in this Executive Summary in paragraphs one through seven, as well as in the separate Executive Summary dated September 10, 2021 concerning the Initial Investigation – we do not find evidence Dr. de Grey engaged in conduct that constituted unwelcome sexual conduct towards current or former SRF employees, or any person associated with SRF, since the founding of SRF.”

So, other than the initial allegations against Aubrey de Grey, which, at worst, would have consisted of him sending two questionable e-mails (which were overlooked by the recipient for nearly a decade) and making a joke in poor taste (which there is no evidence that he made), there is… no evidence… of any unwelcome conduct! So this was all… much ado about nothing! It was all… a tempest in a teapot, stirred up to displace Dr. de Grey from his position on the eve of his success in raising an unprecedented \$28 million for true rejuvenation biotechnology research. As many have suggested, and as I will reiterate, any harassment allegations here were just a pretext. The real motive is the power struggle within the field, between the initial visionaries like Dr. de Grey who built it up from ideas alone to a vibrant network of organizations, and those who came later, riding on the visionaries’ coattails, and who mistakenly wish to “mainstream” the field by appealing to the gatekeeper institutions through rhetoric of “strategic conservatism” (one of Celine Halioua’s favorite terms – indeed, the underpinning of her goal to turn aging research into a “boring” field that gets rid of the radical-life-extension aspirations). The “strategic conservatives” cannot have a man with a long beard, who speaks of 1,000-year lifespans, as the spokesperson for this movement, so they needed to find a pretext to oust him. Not only that, but they managed to hoodwink those of more left-leaning sympathies by exploiting the tendency to automatically believe women who accuse influential men of harassment – even though believing such allegations here plays right into the hands of the same interests who would wish to corporatize and render exclusive the pursuit of longevity research, to “tone it down” so that gatekeeper institutions provide their grants and imprimatur of “respectability” while the general public gets no say and no benefit. Those on the Left who wish to support harassment victims have understandable motivations, but it is so, so easy to twist those motivations to the service of one of the very corporate networks whom those same left-leaning individuals profess to despise, often quite explicitly.

What the “strategic conservatives” did not realize is that the grassroots movement that has emerged over the years to support the vision of SENS and the pursuit of longevity escape velocity is simply not inspired by the timid focus on “healthspan” or “compression of morbidity”. By getting rid of the ambitious visionaries who lit the spark of this movement, the “strategic conservatives” also undermine the foundation beneath themselves. They will not succeed in “mainstreaming” anything, because the gatekeeper institutions and their spokespeople see right through any version of the toned-down rhetoric anyway. What they may succeed at, unfortunately, is in ruining the crucial philanthropic sector within longevity / rejuvenation research, which will be needed for a long time to bridge the gap between early-stage academic research and late-stage commercial application. We need for-profit corporations and investors in the field as well, but the “strategic conservatives” wish to corporatize everything and remove the role of philanthropy and grassroots support altogether. That would spell suicide for the longevity field.

The SENS Board stated, “Our respect for Dr. de Grey and his work remains deep and unwavering. His accomplishments are singular; he brought this Foundation — this profound scientific moment, truly — into being. While our separation was necessary, we intend to move forward with SRF in a way that honors his legacy.” Of course, this leaves open the unanswered question of why the Board considered the “separation” to be “necessary” – and why they wish to relegate Dr. de Grey merely to having a “legacy”. (He is very much alive and active, after all!) Most likely, some of them do actually regret this course of action, but their thinking may be along the following lines: “Aubrey de Grey got this movement this far, but from now on he is more of a liability than an asset. We can take it from here.” Well, no, they cannot. In order to have even a slight probability of success, the SENS vision requires support from at least appreciable segments of the general public and from the dedicated core of activists within the life-extension movement. Without them, there is no movement – just stagnation. But there will be a movement wherever Dr. de Grey goes. The SENS Research Foundation Board of Directors would be wise to invite him back.

Aubrey de Grey Did Not Receive Fair Treatment in the Investigation Commissioned by the Board of Directors of the SENS Research Foundation

## Aubrey de Grey Did Not Receive Fair Treatment in the Investigation Commissioned by the Board of Directors of the SENS Research Foundation

I have read the “independent” investigative report that was commissioned by the Board of Directors of the SENS Research Foundation – the same Board that fired Dr. Aubrey de Grey before the investigation was completed and now, it seems, is using this report as ex post justification of its preconceived decision. Here are the insights I can glean from reading this report; not all are original to me, and many have pointed out some of these observations already. However, it is useful to summarize them here to spread understanding of just how flawed this report is.

1. This report underscores the essentially ubiquitous fact that, in corporate America, “he who pays the piper calls the tune”. There is no true possibility of a neutral, independent investigation when the investigator is financially compensated by one of the parties with a preconceived interest in the outcome. Whatever the personal ethics of the investigator, it would remain the case – and this is true for any paid professional contractor – that she would be concerned about where her future revenue stream would be coming from. Releasing a report that challenged or undermined the well-publicized intentions of (and actions already taken by) her clients – the Board of the SENS Research Foundation – would have jeopardized her future opportunities to be retained by the same clients or similar corporate Boards, whose interest is not so much in the objective truth, but rather in ratifying the legitimacy of the Board’s actions after the fact and mitigating adverse publicity.

It was naïve for many of us to give this investigation the benefit of the doubt and hold our peace while it proceeded, with the hope that it might have actually shed light on the situation in an impartial manner. Indeed, the mistake that we supporters of Aubrey de Grey have made is to assume throughout this process that all sides would have the intention of bringing the facts to light and making proportionate conclusions based on the evidence. Instead, the far more typical calculus of “cui bono” and motivated reasoning were clearly in play here.

2. The standard of “preponderance of evidence” utilized in the report is incredibly weak and subjective – essentially amounting to whether, in the opinion of the investigator, a given event was more likely than not to have occurred. This is not proof; it is not beyond reasonable doubt; it is not even clear and convincing evidence. Essentially, all of the assertions in this report are the investigator’s personal opinions that some chain of events was plausible. But the report does not actually bring any fundamentally new factors to light. None of this would hold up in a court of law or any official investigation by a governmental body (and even such an official investigation would not be warranted in any event, because no violation of law was ever made or even alleged).

3. It remains the case, based on what the report was actually able to corroborate, that the only definite actions that Aubrey de Grey was known to have taken were the sending of two ill-advised e-mails nearly a decade ago, which were poorly worded and definitely had a high likelihood of being misunderstood. To be sure, I consider those e-mails to have been a mistake on Aubrey’s part (and he does as well), but they stemmed from his own European cultural context, in which the sentiments expressed would have been considered far more innocuous than they would be in the United States of 2021. To punish a person with a loss of a prominent position and jeopardy to that person’s career, retroactively, for statements that would not have been and were not considered offenses a long time ago when they were made, and which are not at all criminal, civil, or otherwise actionable offenses even today, is a draconian perversion of justice. It implies that not only is anyone vulnerable to incredibly harsh penalties for any mistake or minor lapse in judgment, but even that a comparatively mild statement that would have been dismissed or overlooked in the past could become career-ending retroactively if societal norms change many years later. The fact that “Complainant #1” actively collaborated with Aubrey de Grey for nearly a decade after the ill-advised comments were made suggest that those comments were reinterpreted much more recently to have a motivation that nobody attributed to them in the past.

4. The allegations that Aubrey de Grey “interfered with the investigation” ultimately disregard the possibility that Aubrey could have been genuine in his stated motivation to help rehabilitate the reputation of “Complainant #2” after she made unsupported allegations which could, indeed, have jeopardized her career. The investigator interprets Aubrey’s e-mail to an intermediary as a threat to the career of “Complainant #2”, when Aubrey was much more likely expressing an objective fact – that few people in the longevity industry would be willing to work with someone who makes allegations of predation so lightly. The “Why risk it?” consideration is likely going to lead many in the community to tread extremely lightly around the accusers for the indefinite future. Aubrey himself could have been able to avert that particular outcome if the misunderstandings that prompted the allegations had been resolved.

5. Moreover, if Aubrey de Grey sensed that the investigation was not conducted in an objective or impartial manner, and that the actions of the SENS Research Foundation Board already placed the punishment before any official determination of guilt, then he would have had a clear and highly understandable incentive to attempt to tell his side of the story through channels outside of the investigation. If he had fully complied with the investigator’s admonitions, the outcome would have likely been the same; a determination of his guilt was a foregone conclusion based on the “he who pays the piper” principle. In that situation, Aubrey would have simply quietly acquiesced to his own professional destruction. Perhaps he would have been shown some leniency, perhaps not; the history of show trials demonstrates that compliance and even confessions by the accused seldom improved their outcomes and indeed lent legitimacy to the severe penalties that were imposed.

6. Even this report exonerates Aubrey de Grey from having interfered with the funding of the doctoral research position of “Complainant #2”. This would have been one of the principal allegations explaining the resentment that “Complainant #2” felt against Aubrey de Grey. If the rest of her actions were precipitated by that perception, and the initial perception was mistaken, then it is reasonable to expect that the rest of the narrative motivated by that perception would unravel under closer genuine scrutiny.

7. Moreover, this report, in its own telling, fails to identify any other concrete allegations against Aubrey de Grey beyond the relatively mild allegations which were made by “Complainant #1” and “Complainant #2”. There is no pattern of harassment or abuse, no legions of women who were somehow preyed upon. Indeed, the characterization of predation made by “Complainant #2” against Aubrey de Grey can be seen as clearly libelous even if the investigator’s understanding of the facts were ultimately shown to be correct. The term “predator” should be reserved for the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein, not someone who made a few poorly thought-out attempted compliments from which no other actions ensued – especially considering that many of the years between 2012 and 2021 contained no incidents of any nature documented within the report.

8. The report is sloppily written and has obvious errors in dates. On page 14 of 16 of the report, three e-mails addressed to Aubrey de Grey are mentioned as having dates in July 2019, when the events to which the e-mails refer could clearly only have taken place in July 2021. It seems that the motivation to release a report with these conclusions was so strong that shortcuts were taken in proofreading the report for basic accuracy. While anyone can make typographical errors, a robust internal editing process should have caught them. This also raises the question of what other, more fundamental errors were left undetected in the course of the internal review of drafts of this report.

9. I am left with no option but to conclude that the SENS Research Foundation Board acted in a deliberate and premeditated manner to displace Aubrey de Grey from his Chief Science Officer position, despite Aubrey de Grey being the originator of the SENS program and an indispensable presence to the research efforts that comprise this program. Instead of seeking to facilitate a truly independent investigation that could have brought genuine facts to light and resolved this immense misunderstanding, it is my impression that the SENS Research Foundation Board conceived of the investigation as a tool to validate and ratify the preconceived intention to remove Aubrey from his role. This is why the punishment came before the determination of guilt. This is why the Board failed to utilize the plethora of milder measures that were available to address any concerns of interference with the investigation on Aubrey’s part. I have no doubt that multiple members of the SENS Research Foundation Board are good people and did not intend any harm to Aubrey; I believe, however, that they were tragically misled by those who did have such motives. Perhaps they, too, naïvely believed that the investigation could be truly independent and impartial, rather than motivated by the agenda of whomever got the idea to engage the firm in the first place. Perhaps they thought that an independent investigation that exonerated Aubrey would be trusted more in the court of public opinion than an approach of the organization standing resolutely with one of its own (which is what should have been done, if for no other reason than loyalty to Aubrey and deep respect for his tremendous contributions to aging-research and advocacy endeavors for over two decades). The fact remains, though, that the cynical among the Board members were able to lead the rest along with a plan for the premeditated destruction of Aubrey’s career and reputation. By doing so, they irreparably damaged the standing of the SENS Research Foundation and made it unworthy of the tremendous dedication and trust placed in it by thousands of donors and activists within the longevity community. We always donated and stood by the SENS Research Foundation because of our admiration and support for Aubrey de Grey, not for the people who ousted him. We always understood Aubrey’s efforts to be the impetus behind the SENS Research Foundation; what remains is an empty shell. What could have motivated some on the Board of the SENS Research Foundation to remove Aubrey? The recent immense success of over \$28 million collected via the PulseChain Airdrop fundraiser would certainly have been a tempting prize. Those who might have considered Aubrey to be too outspoken, too eccentric, too liable to “damage the respectability” of aging research with establishment “gatekeeper” institutions, would have seen the allegations against Aubrey as a convenient way to sideline him and then take custody of the funds. The tragedy is that now the funds raised through enthusiasm for the cause of longevity are at risk of being directed into more status-quo-acquiescent channels.

10. At this stage I am of the view that Aubrey de Grey should proceed to create a new foundation, where he remains in complete control, and there is good reason to believe that the researchers and new donations will follow his lead. It is unfortunate that the SENS Research Foundation Board has chosen to consign its organization to irrelevance, but we cannot let faux-outrage over some mildly inappropriate comments derail the far more essential mission of saving over 110,000 people who die per day of the diseases of aging. This entire episode also illustrates the folly of setting up organizational boards that are outside the control of the founders and prime movers of the organizations. In such situations, petty, short-sighted, fear-driven, and narrowly conventional motives come necessarily to predominate over the original vision and ambition of the founder(s). After so many stories of founders being displaced by the institutional machinery they have acquiesced to, surely it is time to learn the lesson – both for nonprofit organizations and for-profit startups. An organization succeeds because of the merits and vision of its founder(s); without the founder(s) the organization becomes a mere husk, replicating conventional patterns until it fades into the background with millions of other similar organizations. What we seek, on the other hand, is an organization that will bring humankind into the era of longevity escape velocity. We should all support any efforts by Aubrey de Grey to create such an organization.