X-Message-Number: 19957
Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2002 10:49:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Randall Burns <>
Subject: Re: Probabilities

Robert Ettinger wrote:
>A probability is the relative frequency of occurrence
>of an event in a recorded sequence of experiments 
>or observations. 

This is what insurance companies do in creating
actuarial tables. Still, this is only part of what
insurance companies do to estimate probabilities. You
can buy insurance policies on all kinds of events that
rarely occur. These are ulimately underwritten by
"betting pools" of wealthy individuals(which is what
Lloyds of London amounts to in the final analysis.
Demonstration of that technique in a non-monetary
context can be seen at www.ideosphere.com

The other major technique that has a substantial
academic literature associated with it is the "Delphi
Method" pioneered at Rand Corporation.

Neither of this techniques is perfect, but some
forecasts constructed this way would carry more weight
than the individual analysis I've seen so far.

The real question here: what kinds of things can be as
individuals do that can increase our life expectency
dramatically? For individuals of substantial wealth
and power there is obviously a much wider range of
options here. 

I personally suspect though that life extension
technology will not be allowed unless accompanied by
subsantial improvements in technology to expand the
range of human habitat(i.e. space migration) and
increase of human intelligence.

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