Comment author: turchin 19 April 2018 08:48:09PM 1 point [-]

I am puzzled by the value of non-born animals in this case. Ok, less chicken will be born and later culled, but it means that some chickens will never be born at all. In extreme case, the whole species of farm chicken could go extinct if there will be no meet consumption.

Comment author: Alex_Barry 19 April 2018 03:23:44PM 1 point [-]

I'm not saying you need to solve the problem, I'm saying you should take the problem into account in your cost calculations, instead of assuming it will be solved.

Comment author: turchin 19 April 2018 07:00:42PM 0 points [-]

In the next version of the article, I will present general equation in which will try to answer all these concerns. It will be (price of the experiment)(probability of success) + indirect benefits of experiment - (fixed price of metformin pills for life)(number of people)(share of adopters)(probability of success of the experiment) - unexpected side effects - growth of food consumption because of higher population. Anything lost?

Comment author: Alex_Barry 18 April 2018 11:35:43PM 1 point [-]

It probably should be analysed how the bulk price of metformin could be lowered. For example, global supply of vitamin C costs around 1 billion USD a year with 150 kt of bulk powder.

Yes but as I discuss above it needs to be turned into pills and distributed to people, for which a 2 cents per pill cost seems pretty low. If you are arguing for fortification of foods with metformin then presumably we would need to show extraordinary levels of safety, since we would be dosing the entire population at very variable levels.

In general I would find it helpful if you could try and keep your replies in the same comment - this basically seems to be an extension of your other comment about buying metformin in bulk and having it split in two makes it harder to keep track.

Comment author: turchin 19 April 2018 02:22:03PM -1 points [-]

Ok. I just have two ideas in different moments of time, that is why there are two comments.

I think that again the problem of expensive pills is not a problem of antiaging therapies, but a more general problem of expensive medicine and poverty. I should not try to solve all possible problems in one article as it will immediately grow to the size of the book.

Most drugs we now consume are overpriced compared with bulk prices; also food is much more expensive in retail. I think it is important problem, but it is another problem.

Comment author: PeterMcCluskey 18 April 2018 04:54:40PM 2 points [-]

It is even known to extend the life of diabetics so they live longer than healthy people.

No, it is known to correlate with living longer. But some or all of that correlation seems to be due to the sickest diabetics being switched from metformin to other drugs.

Comment author: turchin 18 April 2018 05:13:13PM 0 points [-]

How could it explain that diabetics lived longer than healthy people?

Anyway, we need a direct test on healthy people to know if it works or not.

Comment author: Alex_Barry 18 April 2018 03:28:34PM *  1 point [-]

I more meant it should be mentioned by the $0.24 figure e.g. something like:

"Under our model the direct cost effectiveness is $0.24 per life saved, but there is also an indirect cost of ~$12,000 per life saved from the cost of the metformin (as we will need to supply everyone with it for $3 trillion, but it will only save 250 million lives)."

Noticeably the indirect figure is actually more expensive than current global poverty charities, so under your model buying people metformin would not be an attractive intervention for EAs. This does not mean it would necessarily not be cost effective to fund the trial to 'unlock' the ability for others to buy the drugs, since it might be more efficient than e.g. other developed government use of money, but it does hammer home that the costs of the drugs is very non-negligible.

Comment author: turchin 18 April 2018 04:33:51PM 0 points [-]

Also, Alibaba suggests metformin for 5 USD for kg, which implies lifelong supply could be bought for something like 50 USD.

https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/HOT-SALE--99-High-Purity_50033115776.html?spm=a2700.7724857.main07.53.2c7f20b6ktwrdq

Comment author: Alex_Barry 18 April 2018 03:28:34PM *  1 point [-]

I more meant it should be mentioned by the $0.24 figure e.g. something like:

"Under our model the direct cost effectiveness is $0.24 per life saved, but there is also an indirect cost of ~$12,000 per life saved from the cost of the metformin (as we will need to supply everyone with it for $3 trillion, but it will only save 250 million lives)."

Noticeably the indirect figure is actually more expensive than current global poverty charities, so under your model buying people metformin would not be an attractive intervention for EAs. This does not mean it would necessarily not be cost effective to fund the trial to 'unlock' the ability for others to buy the drugs, since it might be more efficient than e.g. other developed government use of money, but it does hammer home that the costs of the drugs is very non-negligible.

Comment author: turchin 18 April 2018 04:27:19PM 0 points [-]

Also, the global market for snake-oil life extension is 300 bn a year, so spending 10 times less would provide everybody with actually working drug.

Comment author: Alex_Barry 18 April 2018 03:28:34PM *  1 point [-]

I more meant it should be mentioned by the $0.24 figure e.g. something like:

"Under our model the direct cost effectiveness is $0.24 per life saved, but there is also an indirect cost of ~$12,000 per life saved from the cost of the metformin (as we will need to supply everyone with it for $3 trillion, but it will only save 250 million lives)."

Noticeably the indirect figure is actually more expensive than current global poverty charities, so under your model buying people metformin would not be an attractive intervention for EAs. This does not mean it would necessarily not be cost effective to fund the trial to 'unlock' the ability for others to buy the drugs, since it might be more efficient than e.g. other developed government use of money, but it does hammer home that the costs of the drugs is very non-negligible.

Comment author: turchin 18 April 2018 04:02:34PM 0 points [-]

It probably should be analysed how the bulk price of metformin could be lowered. For example, global supply of vitamin C costs around 1 billion USD a year with 150 kt of bulk powder.

I also not suggesting buying metformin for people. In case of food fortification, the price is probably included into the total price of food and the manufacturers pay lowerest bulk price.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 18 April 2018 03:31:05PM 1 point [-]

Medical expenses are wayyy lower in the developing world.

Comment author: turchin 18 April 2018 03:58:40PM 0 points [-]

At the time when metformin will reach these markets as a life-extending drug, may be somewhere in 2040, these market will develop.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 18 April 2018 03:23:07PM *  0 points [-]

For example, here https://www.medindia.net/drug-price/metformin/diamet.htm one table of 500mg costs 1 rupee, which is 0.0015 USD.

1 rupee is $0.015 not $0.0015 by nominal exchange rates. Sales tax must be included, as well as comparison with the lower nominal incomes in India rather than the global PPP standard that I gave. Other metformin manufacturers seem to generally charge more (https://www.medindia.net/drug-price/list.asp). Presumably they are not available in all locations; presumably there are areas where people simply don't have easy access to buying these drugs at all. And we are just talking about India, the king of drug IP abuse. I bet if you look at Pakistan or Nigeria then it won't be so easy to buy these drugs there.

I just don't understand how it is possible to assume that even half of the people in the world will purchase and use the most effective product regardless of where they live. Have you tried to convince someone in this position to take any kind of supplements? Like, gone to someone who has very low income, and relies on bicycle or public transport, and explained to them why they should add this or that vitamin or OTC drug to their daily routine? If you had, I don't think you would be making this assumption.

The problem of constant taking a medical drug is not related to metformin, but to any drug which a person has to take constantly, like hypertension drugs, antidepressant, vitamins etc. This is a different important problem which should be solved to improve public health. There is one possible solution in the form of app (already exist) which records what one has taken and remind to take the drug.

Well yeah, but if you want to calculate the expected value then you must go by what is likely to happen, not what you wish to happen.

Apps exist on smart phones, which lots of people don't have, and most of the remainder won't bother to install or pay attention to it. Moreover, apps don't exist in every language.

Comment author: turchin 18 April 2018 03:56:16PM 0 points [-]

Yes, my typo but 0.015 is still around 2 cents as is said in the article.

About persuasion: it is a problem of marketing, which was successfully solved about vitamins.

The global market of vitamin C is around 1 bln USD, btw. https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/08/24/866422/0/en/Global-Ascorbic-Acid-Market-Poised-to-Surge-from-USD-820-4-Million-in-2015-to-USD-1083-8-Million-by-2021-MarketResearchStore-Com.html

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 18 April 2018 02:55:11PM *  1 point [-]

These claims about life extension's impact on the economy, finances and resource shortages are controversial and uncited. You also aren't applying sound counterfactual reasoning, instead you are appealing to a generic sense of "well, lots of people will live wonderful lives ANYWAY, so there is no opportunity cost!!" which clearly doesn't address my concerns. Moreover, no one is talking about killing people, we are talking about being more accurate about the value of saving people's lives.

My point is not to keep arguing about this here, but to say that these things should be properly addressed in the paper. With these points and the optimizer's curse especially, you're still not doing real work to improve the argument. You're just taking comments from yourself and other users, and including them in the paper. A paper for cause prioritization cannot be a list of comments, it must be a structured argument.

Comment author: turchin 18 April 2018 03:42:14PM 0 points [-]

I updated the section about unborn people and I am going to read and add more links on the topic. Currently it is:

2) Life extension will take resources and fewer new people will be born, thus unborn people will lose the opportunity to be alive. It is not easy to measure value of unborn people without some ethical axioms. If this value is very high, we may try to increase population as much as possible, which seems absurd as in would decrease the quality of life.

While life extension seems to mean fewer new people born each century, the total number of new people is still infinitely large in the situation of constant space exploration (Bostrom, 2003b). Also, fewer newborn people in the 21 cnetury could be compensated by much more people which will be born in the next centuries in the much better world with higher quality of medicine.

If the explorable universe is infinite, the total number of newborn people will not change, but these people will move to later epochs, where they will live even better lives. Tipler (Tipler, 1997) suggested that at the end all possible people will be created by enormous superintelligence in Omega point, and thus all possible people will get chance to be alive. However, we can’t count on such remote events.

But we could compare potential 21th and 22th centuries from our model. In 21th century, fewer people will be born because of life extension, but after superintelligent AI or other power technology will appear, supposedly at 2100, much more new people could live on Earth on much better conditions.

Also, it is not obvious that life extension will affect reproduction negatively because of the “grandmother effect”: the decision about reproduction people typically take in early life, but if they have available grandparents which could help them with babysitting this would increase the willingness to have children as also less strain economy outside the family

View more: Next