Do you want to live forever?


For any student of potential disruptive technological advances, life extension inevitably looms as one that could completely change the condition of humanity.

While there is heated debate about whether the current proposed approaches to life extension being proposed have any merit, there is no question that major advances are possible in the field.

For the last two centuries, life expectancy has increased by very close to 2 years for every decade that has passed. The rise in life expectancy generally seems to be continuing to rise at the same pace, though it is plateauing in some developed countries where for example obesity and other lifestyle diseases are having an impact. If it does continue, then by the end of the century there will be countries where life expectancy at birth is 100.

It is possible that over the next decades developed country malaises, pandemics, and other factors could stop the very consistent trend of increased life expectancy.

However it is more likely that gerontological, medical, and other advances strongly accelerate the current pace of our increase in lifespan.

In fact some believe that we will be able to entirely stop the aging process and live forever, barring accidents.

Aubrey de Grey is a credible person though highly eccentric scientist who promotes Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which basically means ‘how to stop growing older’.

Apostle of the Singularity Ray Kurzweil believes we will transcend our mortality in a number of ways. I have just received a copy of his book written with Terry Grossman TRANSCEND: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever, which looks largely at the basics of living a healthy life, as well as some of the techniques that could extend lives, potentially indefinitely.

All of this begs the question: DO YOU WANT TO LIVE FOREVER?

Some respond immediately and vociferously that of course they do, and anyone who doesn’t is deranged.

Others blanch at the very idea, and besides thinking that it would be wrong to live forever, would never want to.

I was thinking about this question today. I don’t know.

I deeply appreciate the extraordinary wonder of life, and yes, something deep in me rails against my mortality.

Yet mortality defines the human condition, it is part of what makes us who we are, and acceptance of our mortality in fact can allow us to transcend our condition.

It is possible that in the next decades we will all have to make the choice about whether we live forever.

If so, there will of course be massive disruption to economies, financial systems, and religions that are hard to envisage today.

I will think more about whether I want to live forever. Perhaps one day I will have that choice to make.

How about you? Do YOU want to live forever?