There are two main ways that we might live for ever, or at least for a lot longer than any previous generations
(Do we WANT to live for ever? Will we go mad if we do? What about over population etc? Would death be even more scary if it was optional rather than inevitable? These are important questions but not my subject here)
1 – Genetic Advances
Recently there has been a mouse in the news that has not only been made to live longer http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/25/AR2005082501224.html
but has actually had its age REDUCED from human equivalent 80 to 40 years old. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7119552.stm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methuselah_Foundation If they can get that in humans I’d be delighted to be reduced from 80 back to 40, when I reach 80! In fact, right now 50 to 25 sounds pretty good…
Did you now that none of your cells are the same ones that you had in your body a year ago? They are constantly replaced, and so there is no real reason why you have to age at all, and it’s only recently that biologists have been finding out why we do age. It’s not the accumulation of small copying errors, but seems to be a built in (genetic) limit to the number of times the cells are allowed to renew. What if this limit was switched off by a cunning gene therapy process…?
2 – Backing up your brain
This is a bit further into the future, but very interesting. The idea is that you back up the contents of your brain before setting off to work, (maybe not every day!) and then if you have an accident and get killed you simply restore the contents of your brain into another body.
The body could even be a clone of yours, grown in a lab.
Or it could be the body of a 20 year old, or of the type that you wish you’d had first time around. In fact, why not do it even if you don’t get killed? Maybe check that the new one is working and then switch off the old one…?
Would it really be you? Well if you feel that the real you is in your head, as I do, then yes.
You’d need a trusted friend to do the restoring if you had an accident and got killed, but that could be arranged I suppose.
So in summary, with either of the above, we don’t have to die, at least not when we’re 80 or 90. I find that quite encouraging!