• Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In    
  • Create Account
LongeCity .                       Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans



Online friends

None of your friends are currently online


Search Articles




Welcome back, Guest


- - - - -

8 Reasons to reach out to 'the public'


While the idea that drastic life extension may be an option for humankind in the future has been encountered by many through the media and fiction, the vast majority of the public do not grasp whether and how this could realistically apply to them or their loved ones. 
 
Some argue that since life is an universally desirable good and age-related suffering and death universally feared and avoided, ‘public perception’ is something that will take care of itself. If anything, the inherent attractiveness of the concept will always guarantee media interest perhaps even to the point of generating unwarranted hype and the empty promises that have been the bane of the scientific life extension movement for centuries. 
 
Others argue, with great conviction, that public perception and ‘marketing a life extension movement’ should be a prime objective. Here is a list of eight reasons why:  
 
1. Broaden the pool of ideas. Generally, the more minds are altered to and focused towards a common objective, the greater the chance than innovative or groundbreaking ideas will be generated. If Life Extension is a more broadly known, accepted and prestigious topic of interest, more bright minds will be attracted to it.  
 
2. Increase public sector funding and donations. As businesses tend to fund research only when profitability is close it often falls to the public sector and philanthropists to fund the "starter end" of research that will eventually lead to usable products which business will then want to take up. 
 
3. Reduce opposition.  There is an element of ‘shock’ associated with the concept that aging and death may not be inevitable which can lead to denial or impatient dismissal. Visceral or ideological opposition to life extension translates into less government funding, less scientific interest, less favorable laws and less industry support especially if there is no widely established counter-position.   
 
4. Improve regulation.  Whether we are thinking about laws allowing or prohibiting life extension treatments in general, or the speed and efficiency at which the FDA similar entities conduct their reviews, the support of government agencies is important at every stage of the process of getting treatments to the public. Responsive regulation can be generated through public pressure and media attention. 
 
5. Focus corporate interests towards effective treatments.  Only if there is a clear and well-informed demand for proven and validated treatments will effective products become more profitable to the industry than ineffective ‘snake oil’.
 
6. Build economies of scale.  Given the urgent need for life extension treatments for many people there is an interest in helping to bring costs down as soon as possible. If pent-up public demand becomes more clearly visible, consideration of scale-up will become a part of more business plans and healthcare reforms. 
 
7. Improve public health.  A focus on life extension often comes with increased health consciousness. Prevention is better and cheaper than cures and if more people participate in a wider programme of health-conscious living, this is likely to bring overall healthcare costs down.
 
8. Reduce social unrest and disruption.  Even once society accepts the concept of life extension and associated treatments there will still be people who are unwilling or unable to participate. Moreover, extended lifespans will affect society profoundly. Careful public engagement ensures that social unrest and discrimination can be minimised.  
 
If at least one of these reasons makes sense to you, then you may want to think about how you could help ‘connect’ the LongeCity’s mission with others. Generally, the ‘self-multiplying’ effect of outreach should not be underestimated. People act as role models and influencers of their peers. Beyond all media spin, if a person acts and speaks with conviction, others will take note; and if people realize that their friends and family members could live longer they will be more willing to engage in the idea themselves.  
 
 
-- 
This article is based on an original drafted by Sanhar in response to a LongeCity tender.



2 Comments

Hi everyone. I live in Los Angeles, CA and I'm planning to host an event or party to raise awareness for longevity research.

I would love some ideas as to how to raise awareness at a party in a fun and unforced way. I feel that having someone give a presentation would be boring and forced. I want to be able to communicate the idea that longevity research exists and that some people support it (without making the guests feel like they are expected to support it). I am targeting the event at the general public, many of whom aren't aware that this even exists.

The event will have live music but nothing too loud and guests will be standing, not seated, with the ability to mingle and talk to each other. I hope to spur conversation.

I would love suggestions about how to do this, as well as how to attract people to the event and whom to invite (again, I want to focus on the educated general public).

The only ideas I have so far, which feel kinda lame to me, are: having a table with flyers or other handouts regarding longevity research, and showing a very brief (<5 min) film about the topic. I also thought of having a short skit or play on the topic, or to play a game of some sort that would involve everyone, but those would take more planning. A very simple game could work, but I'd need ideas... :)

Finally, if anyone lives in LA and would like to connect, please let me know. I am somewhat new here and would like to expand my longevity network.


I greatly appreciate any help.

Aaron

Doing an unstructured and "unforced" event for the general public isn't going to accomplish anything because the general public isn't interested.

Your idea will be much more productive if you first identify a profile group that IS interested and then throwing a party for *them*.  You will need to take the time to devise a method of finding who is interested.  Try checking (or hosting) local online groups, message boards, etc.  Find who is talking about it, find out who would come to a party and plan the party based off who says what.  Keep in mind you will only have a 33% to 50% attendance rate based on who said they'd come.

 

All of this being the case, you want to have some kind of informational presentation because if you leave people to their own devices they will simply enjoy the refreshments, chat, and by and large not accomplish anything lasting.  Because you're dealing with a group of people that you know are interested you will do pretty well by doing short activities of that sort and it gives people the impression that you're trying to accomplish something (very important).  You have to take the lead and use the opportunity to create a more formal network out of who attends and learn more about them and in so doing you can figure out who will be helpful to you in the future.  You'll need such talent to accomplish other goals or to help someone else accomplish theirs.  Be aware that not everyone who attends is going to be good networking material but even the people who aren't are going to be better disposed to the cause in the future and that is valuable.

 

As far as donations: not going to happen this way.  If you make a habit of throwing appealing events that people attend you could get a $5-$10 cover charge and make it explicit that it will be helping the cause - that could work.  You'd be better off using the event series as a reputation basis for doing things like kickstarters for projects to help the cause.  Online donation drives also work out ok once people believe in what you're doing.  Working formally in connection with a more established project/entity (like SENS) can also help you donate but you want to talk to said entity about that first.

 

Hope this helps!