Do you want to live forever?

Socrates /

Posted on: November 15, 2009 / Last Modified: November 15, 2009

Humanity has achieved huge progress in life-extending and anti-aging technologies.

Just weeks ago the BBC reported that today half of the babies born in the advanced world are likely to live to 100.

A quick comparative review shows us the following life expectancy change in years:

Cro-Magnon Era: 18 years
Ancient Egypt: 25 years
1400 Europe: 30 years
1800 Europe and USA: 37 years
1900 USA: 48 years
2002 United States: 78 years

The trend is hard to miss: since our Cro-Magnon times we have managed to increase our longevity fivefold and in the last 100 years we have managed to double it. Both of those trends are important to note for they reveal that we are not only living longer but this change is happening at an accelerating pace.

For example, it took tens of thousands of years to simply double the Cro-Magnon longevity from 18 to the 37 years of 18th century Europe. However, it took only 100 years to double longevity from 48 years in 1900 to 78 in 2002 (and notably more in 2009). Thus by extending life expectancy more and more, transhumanists such as Ray Kurzweil, Nick Bostrom and Aubrey de Grey believe that eventually we shall live forever.

But how will future anti-aging technologies impact human evolution?

Can our understanding of neuro-anatomy get to the point where neuro-technologies based on biogenetics, nanotechnology or brain uploading help us transcend biology and become post- or transhuman?

Can technology indeed discover the legendary and ever elusive Holy Grail of immortality?

Eternal Life Road Sign

Some people say that eventually it will.

Others say that it will not and, more importantly, that it should not.

How about you? Do you want to live forever?

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