August 11 2008 / by futuretalk
Category: Technology Year: General Rating: 7 Hot
Death could be a thing of the past if certain advances are made.
By Dick Pelletier
The most hyped science of all time – nanotechnology – promises a utopian future with no food shortages or disease, and a world of leisure and unlimited lifespan.
Nanotech’s basic concept is to build things atom by atom using machines called assemblers. Assemblers can make food, or other products, by reassembling atoms from air, dirt, or seawater.
As early as 2025, a nanotech assembler could be sitting on kitchen counters providing food, appliances, or clothing; at little or no cost. In addition, by 2030 or before, nanobots could be roaming through our bodies protecting us from the ravages of disease and aging.
Cryogenic enthusiasts who have their body, head, or cell culture frozen when they die believe that nanotechnology will someday be able to re-create information from their brains, repair their damaged body, or clone a new one, and let them resume their life. Whether this will ever be possible is open to debate, but certainly billions of nano-probes connecting to every cell in our body offers some hope for this way out concept.
Could nanotechnology eliminate death? Today, we consider death as one of the great certainties of life, along with taxes. Taxes have not always existed though, and in the future, they may again be unnecessary. Death statistics are interesting. Over six billion people are alive today, but less than 6 billion have died since our species began. Why, if less than half the people ever born have died, do people say death is certain?
A person born today can expect to live 85 to 120 years or more – nearly three times that of 100 years ago. British Telecom’s Ian Pearson suggests that advances in genetics and nanotech expected over the next three decades will be sufficient for us to make a realistic stab at ending death. “Unless one is unfortunate enough to die from accident or disease, many people alive today have a good chance of not dying at all,” Pearson says.
Deborah Norville recently asked legendary reporter and skin cancer survivor Sam Donaldson when he would retire. Sam answered, “Deborah, if you retire, you die, and I intend to live forever”. Experts say living forever may not be realistic; but technology will soon be able to undo much of the damage caused by aging and disease, and keep our bodies eternally young and healthy.
Just how far we get with this vision has yet to unfold, but we can certainly expect progress to continue. While naysayers focus on overpopulation problems caused by lower death rates, advocates explain that nanotech will create plenty of food and make the environment cleaner than it is today with new exotic nano-bots.
Nanotech also offers renewed hope for space enthusiasts. By packing their minds and genetic codes in a tiny capsule along with some assemblers, astronauts could travel at faster-than-light speeds through wormholes to distant planets. On arrival, nanobots would make the planet safe for habitation, and then simply rebuild the astronaut’s bodies to continue the mission. Comments welcome.