3

I had a flash after watching some videos of Dr Aubrey de Gray's researches on postponing aging indefinitely. According to him, it will be possible – in a near future – to cure aging process of every single cell of our body, so people could remain healthy until … well for ever. And the major side effect of being healthy indefinitely is immortality.

How would humanity react to the possibility of humans living forever? How would that impact our global way of living? Ultimately, is a person’s immortality good or bad for humanity?

I like to observe that similarly to the impact of the industrial revolution. That revolution brought the possibility to do more and more things within the same life time (which is a little similar to what deGray’s science would bring) and it ends up pretty bad for the planet. It is like every time there is a revolution impacting life-length, we exploit the new concept until a new resource suffers from it. If we can live forever, what resource(s) will suffer first and is it better not to go there? Even if most people fear death, that step is the natural conclusion of the journey, isn’t it?

Sources and Quotes on deGrey:

"Our life expectancy will be in the region of 5,000 years" in rich countries in the year 2100, predicts Aubrey de Grey, a scholar at Cambridge University.

Here is a Source to more than 100 publications of his

Here is an interview recorded in 2009: CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta teams with anti-aging experts to bring you an in-depth discussion on the search for immortality.

  • 1
    Is it appropriate to equate mere agelessness with immortality? – stoicfury Aug 26 '11 at 17:28
  • 1
    @Joseph: As interesting as this question is, it's not particularly answerable, too open-ended, contentious, etc. I vote to close. – Mitch Aug 26 '11 at 18:22
  • @Mitch agreed it's borderline, voting to close for the time being. – Joseph Weissman Aug 26 '11 at 18:33
  • 1
    A movie coming out called In Time (2011) actually addresses some of these issues, and we can only pray it doesn't end up like that! – stoicfury Aug 26 '11 at 19:11
  • 1
    @ChrisEve: touche. let's just say that your question is very -speculative-, and as difficult as it is to give answers to philosophical questions, this site is not intended for speculation (unless of course the community allows it). I fear it won't be constructive. – Mitch Aug 26 '11 at 21:06
2

Because living forever, or at least much longer than we do now, is something who's impact would unfold predominantly in the future, consideration of its consequences have to take into account the nature of the future. Of course, we all the know the problems associated with predicting the future. The subject of future resource availability is something that many people have studied closely, yet there is still, of course, substantial disagreement. Thus, I would say, the consequences are unpredictable.

Personally, I subscribe to the idea that a technological singularity will likely occur within the next 10-50 years. Thus, to me, immortality does not seem to pose much of a danger. Notably, many people who today endorse life-extension research and/or the pursuit of immortality also anticipate the advent of a near-term singularity. The most notable such person would be Ray Kurzweil. Also, I believe that Aubrey de Gray is a board member of the singularity institute.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.