Re: [GRG] Testing longevity messages

Hi Dasha,

My two cents. This is a personal perspective: 

  §  What messages do you use to convince people of the need to combat aging

1. Acceleration of enabling technologies

– We finally reached the time in evolution, when dramatic longevity increases will be possible within the next couple decades. – Recent revolutions in enabling technologies: PCR, iPCS, RNAi and CRISPR/Cas and Computer/Cellphone/Internet/Social

– Statistics from Aging Portfolio showing acceleration of funding in many areas

2. Economic messages

– Longevity dividends from prior research will increase longevity anyway. Now we can either accelerate aging research and proactively increase the retirement age and see the economy grow at unprecedented rates, or do nothing and see the economies of developed countries decline and possibly collapse (http://ift.tt/1ttO31Y)

– When you die, you can not take your money with you. 

– When you save even a tiny bit every year and re-invest with continuously compounding real interest, if you live long enough, eventually you will become a billionaire. 

 §  What messages work best to convince people of the need to combat aging for you and for other activists?

1. Economic arguments work best on the majority of people. These arguments supersede many of their philosophical issues. 

2. Hiring them. When you hire people and ask them to work on projects related to aging research and providing the umbrella view, they are very likely to convert. I think the best way to get people to embrace aging research and actively engage is to create jobs in related areas. 

  §  What messages cause the opposition? Which kind? How do you or other people counter it?

1. Transhumanism.  General public does not understand the term or does want to change. Promoting transhumanism is an easy way to gain popularity in certain limited circles and is a good way to establish priority of ideas. But it diminishes the credibility of scientists in the eyes of general public and causes opposition. Younger people can always be lured to play “DeusEx: Human Revolution”. 2. Diet & exercise. People have their own opinions and love discussing this topic. But aging will not be cured with diet and exercise. Arguing is counter productive. 

3. Aging as a disease messaging. It would be easy to work with the general public (and with policy makers) if everyone in the scientific community supported this hypothesis and agreed on the terminology. However, some of the prominent biogerontologists disagree on the subject frequently publishing “Aging is not a disease” papers to improve their citation ratings. Abundance of these papers makes it difficult to argue with the general public. It is better to use other arguments (e.g. economic), where arguments are credible and rather simple. 

  §  What is the best order of messages to convince people step by step?Universal approach:1. Acceleration of enabling technologies

2. Economic arguments

Personalized approach:

1. Young people may be convinced by the new job prospects and opportunity to adjust their careers to the new emerging fields. 2. Older people are more difficult to convince. Economic arguments work best. Examples of failed economies (e.g. Weimar republic, USSR, Zimbabwe, etc) and impact of economic collapse on the elderly usually works well. Some of the elderly may fear financial disability more than physical disability. 

3. Another argument that works well with older people and in countries, where birth rates are low and immigration is high, arguing that older people must live longer just to preserve their cultural heritage and nationalistic ideals works like a charm. Example: in some parts of the EU, where muslim communities are rapidly expanding and second-generation citizens start voting and arguing for more islamic rules to be introduced, some of the older endogenous citizens can be convinced that they need to live longer to preserve their cultural heritage. 

Curing deathism and ignorance requires a highly-personalized and targeted approach. Your study may actually be very valuable.

Regards,

Alex

On Mon, Dec 29, 2014 at 3:44 AM, Daria wrote:

Dear Colleagues,

We have funding to perform up to 3 focus groups to test messages to convince people that we need to combat aging. The testing will be done in Moscow in January-February, 2015. The target audience is limited to people with a university degree.

We, as a global community, need research data on what messages work to convince people to fight aging, what work less, what counterarguments arise, how they can be countered effectively. We need it to speak to philanthropists, scientists, civil servants, journalists, our friends and relatives.

This study should be one out of many in the future; we should test it in many cultures.

Right now, we are at the stage of collecting the messages to test.

Therefore, please send us your ideas on:

  §  What messages do you use to convince people of the need to combat aging

  §  What messages work best to convince people of the need to combat aging for you and for other activists?

  §  What messages cause the opposition? Which kind? How do you or other people counter it?

  §  What is the best order of messages to convince people step by step?

We are collecting the messages during the next week. Please send your ideas to us on email or insert them into the Google Doc: http://ift.tt/1tAWmyQ

We would also be thankful for your advice on focus group information and on the similar studies done before (apart from Pew research on radical life extension technologies and perception of aging population as a problem http://ift.tt/191mX9Y and http://ift.tt/1czhvic).

Daria Khaltourina

Board member of the International Longevity Alliance http://ift.tt/1tAWkXK

Board Chair of the Council for Public Health and Demography, Moscow http://sozd.org/en 

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About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. http://www.AgingIntervention.org Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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