Progress On Aging

…and the resistance to it. I think he’s right that it’s not based on science or logic, but philosophy. Some people (including Isaac Asimov) think that death is necessary, almost to the point of ultimately worshiping it. Of course, some of it could be a recognition, conscious or otherwise, of the supreme disruption to many accepted institutions that it would entail, including pensions, life-time appointments, death taxes, etc.

And I hate when they use the word “immortality.” I think an eternal life would be far worse than death, but that’s not the goal; it’s simply living as long as we want to continue to live.

Update a couple minutes later]

Sort of related: GM Salmonella cures cancer. Cool. But the anti-science left will oppose it because GM.

12 thoughts on “Progress On Aging”

  1. “eternal life would be far worse than death”

    I hear this often, but can’t really understand why?

    It seems to assume the human condition will not change from what it is today and life would become repetitive, but that seems to me to be a profound lack of imagination.

    Those same people often believe in an eternal afterlife (disagreeing with the bible that says we return to dust and there is no thought after death. The bible gives examples of resurrection which is not automatic and not usually instant… returning the live person to earth and eventually dying again.)

    Just look up. Those stars are there to visit. That’s going to take some time especially since the journey will probably not be direct and involved socializing with many interesting people. If that’s dull it’s because of the person in the mirror.

    1. “It seems to assume the human condition will not change from what it is today and life would become repetitive, but that seems to me to be a profound lack of imagination.”

      Yes…and as an example, given the ability to repair and replace would inevitably lead to upgrades being available. Your new eyes won’t need glasses ever; better than the ones you had at 18. Higher density of rods/cones in your retina; upgraded optic nerve cells (and brain vision center), basically “high def vision” for instance.

      Further down the line rather than continuing to repair replace failing/ageing organs/tissues in your original body with bio-printed up-grades simply go for whole body replacement. Somatic upgrades would then be rivaling genetic engineering as a way of controlled human evolution. With new abilities would come new possibilities as far as performance; both for business & pleasure. And lots of other “upgraded” folks around to interact with, new interests and hobbies thought up by physically & mentally enhanced people to alleviate boredom.

        1. Several years ago I looked up demographic data, and estimated that if old age were removed as a factor in mortality, but otherwise various causes of death were unchanged, average life span would be around 1000 years. Some dying sooner, a few being careful or lucky living much longer.

          1. “Several years ago I looked up demographic data, and estimated that if old age were removed as a factor in mortality, but otherwise various causes of death were unchanged, average life span would be around 1000 years. Some dying sooner, a few being careful or lucky living much longer”
            Accept that we are not just talking about death from old age….”upgraded” humans would be simply more robust in general not just with respect to dying of old age. Successively upgraded bodies over time each one stronger, faster, tougher, more resistant to injury/trauma wouldn’t have the same death rate for accident/mishap that are relatively less robust bodies have now. Don’t want to say Superman style “invulnerability”; but maybe something eventually approaching that. Of course the man made hazards like war (or even murder) would be evolving at the same time so maybe on balance it (odds of death by other means than aging) might not change so much. If so that solves Rand’s “problem” of living “forever”.

  2. Rand,

    You write:

    “And I hate when they use the word ‘immortality.’ I think an eternal life would be far worse than death, but that’s not the goal; it’s simply living as long as we want to continue to live.”

    That sounds nice, but what happens when the choice is taken away from you? To wit, “For I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison.

    Yes, it’s fiction, but I think you get my point.

    Sometimes death is not a curse but a *blessing*.

    My two cents’ worth.

    Hale Adams
    Pikesville, People’s still-mostly-Democratic Republic of Maryland

  3. I think it would be a problem if people lived forever. I suspect society and development would basically stagnate as a result. Still I have nothing against people working on it. I guess its just one of those things that we would have to figure out once we got it.
    I do suspect if we do come up with a way to make it work though, it won’t apply to those already living, it will probably require genetic modification to work properly, and personally I’m not interested in living as a simulation inside someone else’s machine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *