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Bryan Johnson in pursuit of a singular goal: don't die

Moderated by Sabinije von Gaffke



Most people know about your journey, biohacking your body back to the age of an 18-year-old. But it all started or was catapulted, from what I understand, when you were building your company. Tell us a bit about how this all came about and what incentivized you to really go on this very determined goal of reversing your age.

"What I find most compelling is the thought experiment - if we, people in the 21st century, imagine the 25th-century people gathering together, conversing about the early 21st century, and reminiscing about what the thing we did that allowed intelligent existence to continue to thrive in this part of the galaxy is... What did we do? If we think about this from a historical perspective, when we look back at the 15th, 16th, or 17th century, what happened then is very obvious to us. Of course, that’s the time and place these technologies were invented or this philosophy came about. That’s really what started this whole thing - the question of what simple thing did we as a species identify in the early 21st century?


That changed everything. To me, it's - don't die. It's the first time in the history of Homo sapiens that we could meaningfully say with a straight face that there is a chance that this thing that has been inevitable for every other Homo sapiens, may not be the case for us anymore."


Can you dive a bit into your project “Blueprint”, because not everyone might be acquainted exactly with the whole vastness of it? And the Don’t die perspective - is that something that adheres now with this regime or is it something that has surfaced during the time you were developing the “Blueprint” project?

"Again, if you zoom out and look at the broader context of our time on this earth, we are baby steps away from superintelligence. And when you have the power of the gods at your fingertips, the only foe is time and death. That’s it. That’s all you point out. Historically, you would try to conquer an area, raise armies, and try to do other things for power. But that’s not the case anymore. We are at a different stage in the development of intelligence as a species, and death becomes the only foe. If we look at it like that - then the only priorities the human race has is don’t die, don’t kill each other, don’t destroy the planet, and align with AI. That’s it, the only things we have on our to-do list.


So Blueprint is not necessarily even about anti-aging. The anti-aging, longevity, and health are the language to have the conversation about this next era of our existence. To me, it really comes down to this: if you and I have a conversation and we say: “What is the future of technology, ten years from now?”. We’re both going to come up with ideas about what that technology is going to look like, but underneath that, we’re going to assume it’s going to be better. We don’t even question it.


What is our future we’re going to consider? It’s going to decay and decline, just how fast? So the ideal blueprint was - can we put humans, you and me, on the same improvement curve as technology and science?"


When one looks at the blueprint protocol, it’s a very strict regime and it has a broader perspective of transitioning into a new era. But how do you see the possibility for more people to adopt this regime and what would you say are the key things to do if you don’t have the time or financial muscle like you do, but still want to at least start doing it?

"Personal change is very hard and people who want to adopt Blueprint - that's great. But for most people it's inaccessible. It's either too expensive or too hard. It doesn't fit into their daily schedules or they don't have the willpower to do it. So just from a scale perspective, it's unreasonable to imagine there's large-scale adoption when the effort required for this is somewhere remotely where I'm trying to do it myself.


So Blueprint really is an observation about society. We've automated many things. For example, clean drinking water is pretty well automated in developed worlds. Now, not always, but sometimes there are problems that surface but generally speaking, one can turn on their tap and drink water and not expect to die. We've also done things such as carbon monoxide detectors and seatbelts - all these things to basically prevent accidental deaths.


And what I'm saying with Blueprint is - we've built this scaffolding and we're trying to make things more automated. That's, of course, a bit of a step into the future because we need automated systems of measurement and then a feedback loop to deliver the things that people need. But to me, that's what it's about and it's really ideal health.


But the first principle is let's stop the silliness of self-destructive behaviors. I mean, the amount of fast food and sugar and the digital addictions we have… We are a society addicted to addiction which doesn't help any of us. We profit off this thing, but it's really making us less safe as a species."


I think everybody’s really interested in your daily regime. Could we go back to hear what your day looks like?

"My day starts the night before when I go to bed at 8.30 PM, every single night and I get high-quality sleep. I wake up between 4.30 and 6 AM. Naturally, I do a four-hour routine where I work out, eat breakfast, and do some therapies. I'll spend a couple of hours with my Blueprint team where we go over the science, review my therapies, talk about recent results, and then I work on several other endeavors, companies I have invested in, projects I have, and then I'll have a nighttime routine. But on any given day, I've automated maybe 50 to 100 daily supplements that I take on a daily basis."


Audience question

You mentioned innovation and the history of humankind and that we came to this fortunate state where we can actually have an algorithm to be the better version of ourselves. But thinking further, innovation also happened because we are human, because somebody was not following a protocol, because something happened. Also, coincidences happen. Coincidences don't really happen with algorithms. So the question is - when you destroy something, and let’s take nature as an example, we destroy it, what nature will do is it will go back to what it was and the circle will close one day. We will disappear, and new species will come. Is that something you think we can stop? Do you think that this is the best and fastest way of innovation? If we all apply blueprints for the planet, for us humans, don't you think it will disrupt the circle of life? We are a part of this time that will maybe not allow it to be a circle anymore. And then where will this linear thing go? What do you think? Where it will go?

"What I hear you saying is we are familiar with the algorithm of nature. We're familiar with the algorithm of the intelligence of nature. We're familiar with the intelligence of humans. And we use words like coincidence and spontaneity and other things. The question would be, will computational intelligence have similar patterns of intelligence? Will they be different? Will they replicate it? Will they offer new things? And so far, what we're seeing is in algorithmic intelligence, every time somebody makes a prediction that it cannot do something that is uniquely done by nature or a human, it disproves it.


I've yet to see something that you can't reasonably map for computational intelligence to do in some duration of time. And so I think it's a daring bet to assume that computational intelligence will not be able to do everything nature can do or everything humans can do and do it better. And then secondarily, as this intelligence evolves and if we look at the history of species and survival, this is why I think the only sensible thing for us to do as a species is not die. We want to secure our presence now, I currently really want to be around and this is why the things we do now such as wage war with each other, kill each other, and have violence are silly when you’re this close to this kind of a breakthrough in intelligence.


So to me, we would reorganize everything we are as a species and move towards this. Even with myself, like I basically said, I'm a collection of many Bryan's. Some of these Bryan's want to self-harm - I want to stay up, eat bad food, and do all kinds of self-sabotage behavior. I'm a collection of 35 plus trillion cells. How do they all get in line? We have our fingers on this, why wouldn’t we try to secure our own survival?"


Audience question

What were the hardest habits to overcome when you started your regime? Is there anything you really miss today?

"The hardest part of Blueprint was when my mind would chirp up and say: “Hey, let’s have more food. Let’s eat that steak, let’s eat this dessert, let’s not go to bed on time, let’s not exercise, let’s do the dozens and dozens of things my mind tells me to do every day”. What I did is, I reframed it and said, given that we have as many measurements as we do, I can begin to quantify things that accelerate my speed of aging. Not perfectly, but in some approximation. And if I can do that, I’m going to reframe those behaviors as acts of violence. I’m going to see if I can get my lifestyle down to zero violence and anything that’s going to increase my speed of aging, it’s not going to happen. Having done that, of course, it is uncomfortable to want to eat more food and actually eat it. It is uncomfortable to want to skip exercise, but then still exercise. I would also say - change is hard, but being miserable is harder. I would hate to go back to my previous version and feel the pain of continually being tossed to and fro out of a whim. I would so much rather be this version of myself than any other version I’ve ever had in my entire life. It’s pretty miserable being stuck in a situation where you can’t control yourself and you’re fighting to stay above water."


 

Bryan Johnson embarked on his age-reversal journey while building his company. He is motivated by the idea of being remembered as the generation that identified a key factor enabling intelligent existence to thrive. This concept of not facing inevitable death for the first time in human history is central to his mission.


His project "Blueprint" aims to align human progress with advancements in technology and science. While it includes elements of anti-aging and longevity, it is more fundamentally about ushering in a new era of human existence.


However, Johnson acknowledges that adopting the strict Blueprint regime may not be feasible for everyone due to factors like cost, time, and willpower. He emphasizes the need to address self-destructive behaviors and advocates for automated systems to promote ideal health.


Bryan's daily routine involves strict sleep and exercise schedules, along with a regimen of supplements. He highlights the importance of high-quality sleep and rigorous self-discipline.


Regarding concerns about disrupting the natural circle of life, Johnson believes that computational intelligence, driven by algorithms, has the potential to surpass human and natural capabilities. He argues that as a species, the priority should be to secure survival rather than engage in self-destructive behaviors.


The hardest part of adopting Blueprint for Bryan was overcoming the urge to indulge in unhealthy habits. He reframed these behaviors as acts of violence against his own longevity and ultimately found that the discomfort of change was outweighed by the benefits of improved well-being and control over his own health.


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