I watched “Transcendant Man” last night. It’s about Raymond Kurzweil’s theories on the future of merging human beings and technology. He predicts things like teeny tiny robots that go right into our bloodstream to fight disease, and “reprogramming” DNA. Basically, he’s saying that in the not-so-distant future, humans have the potential to be immortal. After watching the documentary I can’t deny he has some good arguments which got me thinking, what would it be like to live forever? Thinking about the progress we’ve made in the last 20 years, it’s really not that hard to believe this could be a possibility. I’ve seen a surge in information about new breakthroughs in science, and I’d like to share some of them with you as I find this very interesting.
Aubrey de Gray is a Cambridge researcher who strongly believes aging is a disease we can cure (he also looks like Father Time already). He links metabolism to aging, which makes a lot of sense. Cynthia Kenyon has discovered a single-gene mutation that doubled the lifespan of C. elegans (a roundworm). DOUBLED THE LIFESPAN. That would mean 135 years would be the average human lifespan (based on the world average human lifespan in 2010 of 67.2). That’s amazing! I’ve talked to people about this and a lot of them said they wouldn’t want to live forever. De Gray talks about overpopulation, and also how we feel that aging is inevitable, increasing our resistance to accept the immortality theory or begin to plan for it. I’m on board with these experts. I believe amazing things happen every day and that we know virtually nothing about the earth and how things work yet. Completely new species different from anything we’ve known are discovered every day, we’re now watching 3D movies routinely, we have machines that can build human organs (see the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine), our music is being made on computers. Twenty years ago we would’ve laughed at those things even happening, but they’re here! We are underestimating the power of human knowledge and our amazing advances in technology if we do not believe that in 20 years from now things will be completely different.
Imagine being young at 100, the knowledge one could acquire, how much traveling you’d be able to do, not to mention the people you could meet and all the new experiences! I think humans would learn to overcome the downfalls of living forever and figure out financial and social issues (ie. a terrible ruler being in power forever) that could come with immortality before it happens if we actually have to accept that we have the potential to defy death (at least for a long time). Everything adapts. That’s how every living creature has gotten to where it is today throughout history. Humans are clearly the masters of technology at this point, so why not believe that technology will assist us in adapting in the most complete way: living forever.