July 22 2008 / by futuretalk
Category: Other Year: General Rating: 9 Hot
Opinion by Dick Pelletier
Some of you have heard me talk about prospects for extreme life extension – “To live in a healthy body continuously until I choose to die; to not be killed by disease or aging.”
I believe that science and technology will make extreme life extension possible for most of us alive today. The prime requisite is to maintain good health, keep a positive attitude towards the future, and root for science and technology breakthroughs in the coming decades.
We will soon experience overwhelming advances in disease prevention and age reversal through gene therapies and nanotech breakthroughs. Over the coming years, we will slowly grow into a body fashioned from “designer genes” that can never age or get sick.
Overpopulation: Prospects for this beautiful future are not without controversy. Some argue that humans living longer will cause overpopulation problems, such as expanding poverty and damaging the environment. However, they fail to realize that technology – spurred on by commerce (filling needs) – will provide solutions through improved agriculture, easier access to food and better use of space resources.
Poor health: Some assume that people will continue to exhibit signs of aging and be decrepit into their hundreds citing people who are kept alive for years in terrible health, sometimes beyond the point at which they wish to live. Merely extending life without improving health is a bad idea. This is why today’s medical world focuses, not just on preventing death, but on alleviating the affects of aging by curing diseases. Discoveries will soon develop for the reversal of aging, so that elderly people might one day choose to revert to the mind and body of a healthy 20-something. (cont.)
Only for the rich: No way! Extreme life extension efforts are not a single technology hoarded by the rich. Rather it’s the natural consequence in the evolution of health maintenance and it will be commerce-driven. Also, new health technologies will reduce medical costs overall, as most expenses occur in the last few months of life, and senior citizens currently consume a disproportionate amount of health resources. Life extension could therefore lead to a greater availability of healthcare resources for other members of society.
Who wants to live forever? Probably nobody does. If we live for 200 or 300 years and get tired of it, we will always have the option of dying. However, that decision would be ours. Death would not be forced upon us like it is today.
Would life still be satisfying? Some say that scientific conquest of death would not be satisfying. We would be incomplete; we would lack wisdom; we would lack God’s presence and redemption. Such views are indicative of religious organizations’ concerns about humanity turning away from supernatural forces and religious traditions and instead looking towards humans to solve human problems. Aside from this argument’s blatant religious prejudice, there is no rational or demonstrable credence to this line of thinking.
In conclusion: Most arguments against extreme life extension are based on the idea that it can never happen, or that it shouldn’t happen. As science and technology advances, these arguments are waning.
Life extension is not new with humans; look at our past: from avoiding predators to developing antibiotics, we have always sought to extend our lives. Today’s technologies simply expand this scope – live long and stay healthy – this is a worthy goal for all of us. Comments welcome.