Posted: Mon, May 27, 2013 | By: Indefinite Life Extension
By Glyn Taylor
Everybody can be immortal within 35 years. Most would be skeptical of the previous statement, if not because they don’t believe it is possible then because they don’t think they would want to live forever. Continue reading if you wish to see why it is possible and why you will probably want it to be.
This essay first appeared on Glyn’s blog, ThatsReallyPossible.com, HERE
Why would you want to live forever?
If you are reading this with a feeling of dread with having the thought of living a never ending, monotonous and ever exhaustingly life, it is because you do not yet know about the possibilities of the future. The best way to picture the impending possibility is by stating one of our unquestionable aims: create paradise. Most will see that paradise as one which includes the company of lost loved ones. Currently it is thought impossible to bring back the long dead. In the future though we could discover at least one of countless methods by which we can be reunited with those lost.
To mention two: Time travel could be possible and the consciousness of all people at the point of death could be recovered with a future undetectable method of uploading conciousness (all the data from the mind). The body of the person could be rebuilt and their minds replaced.What if time travel is not possible or not allowed in the future? Well maybe somebody out there is already uploading the consciousness of the dead, and at some point in our evolution as immortals there will come a point where we have reached the level where our lost ones have resided since their death on Earth. Now we are bordering on the spiritual and the possibility of this ‘somebody out there’ being which ever version of God it is that whoever subscribes to. The questioning of such a spiritual possibility is not comprehensible inside our current realm of science and arguably philosophy; all we can do is state possibilities. For my view on religion see the article ‘All Religions are Possible‘.
The point here is, why die while not knowing for certain if you will be revived or simply be forever gone; if we can be reunited with our lost loved ones in our immortal future then if we die anyway it will not matter for we will be revived in a future/incomprehensible place; if we cannot be reunited with our loved ones then death is death, and as result we either forever miss the ones we love or chose to die ourselves because we cannot cope with the heart ache. So, for the final related point here: If currently death is death, and the first immortals will never be reunited with their lost loved ones, why allow that process of death and loss to continue? We have now reached a point where we can stop it; the children who are born after the establishment of immortality will never experience this loss, we will be the last generations to have to cope with the heart ache of having lost loved ones.
Humanity is on the brink of achieving wonders beyond imagination. A common reason people say they would not like to live forever is that they would be bored. The experiences of which you have grown tired of will be non-existent in the future, money will not be an option because the abundance of resources will make everything progressively cheaper and eventually free. If you grow tired of certain unpleasant memories then these memories can be removed/deactivated, before being backed up so you that they can be called upon again automatically and manually should you need or want them. Boredom will be nonexistent because we will always have goals to succeed, at least in the foreseeable and predictable future. We will always have fresh and innovative entertainment; ever wanted to fly like Superman? You can be him in your own virtual reality, as real as depicted in The Matrix. You can be anybody, do anything, be a creator or simply experience the creations. You can decided to be put to sleep until a certain point in the future.
This is a small response to those who feel daunted by the prospect of immortality. The key I believe is to research what is possible, jump on the back of the excitement of it all until your journey leads to you viewing mortality as primitive, as just a problem for humanity to overcome, where you see immortality as a natural development in the awakening of the universe. If you remain certain that you would not like to be immortal then please comment below and I or other readers will respond.
What about mutual-destruction through conflict?
As we progress on with further advances, mutual-destruction will remain a great threat. A theory for why we have had no known visits from other life in the universe, is that no life has became advanced enough yet without having destroyed itself through war and terrorism. We have done well so far in overcoming the nuclear threat but there are numerous foreseeable threats that will be much greater in the future. As we are progressing, so are our weapons. Weapons of the future will be much more effective, and be much cheaper and easier to produce. For example, through the upcoming technology of molecular manufacturing, inside a single suitcase could fit enough personnel seeking nano-machines with enough toxin in each to kill each and every one of us. Once molecular manufacturing is up and running it will soon be possible to do this relatively easily. For more information, view the paper Nanotechnology and International Security. Similar is possible with bio-engineering; viruses will be easy to produce and could be made to target specific people.
So why would anybody use such weapons? Conflict in the world is currently caused by competing global powers, ancillary power struggles, a determination to protect faith, and a determination to protect culture. What is likely in the next 10-15 years is the start of a global race to develop molecular manufacturing abilities. Other races fast approaching are ones to become self-sufficient (free of oil dependence), and to develop the first strong artificial intelligence (which could lead a country to be the one to lead the way into the singularity). The reason for these race being currently inevitable is the determination of some state leaders to retain inhumane dictatorships, while others prefer to advocate human rights and freedoms; If a dictatorship was to win the races above, then we can certainly wave goodbye to our freedoms and any hope of a peaceful future, if any at all. Countries naturally do not trust each other, and so they have a heavy focus on developing offencive-defence strategies.
The protection of religions has in recent times been ferociously active, particularly since 9/11. The main cause of the Islamic fundamentalist treat is the aim that extremists hold to halt globalisation and protect from dilution their extreme version of Islam and the associated powers it affords them. The main target is currently ‘the west’ simply because they are seen as the ones leading globalisation. Al Qaeda considered also attacking China but decided to consider them an ally against a common enemy (for how long that will last is unknown). To make it clear, Islam is not the threat, just as Christianity etc are not the threat, it is only the extreme versions of religions which pose problems as we progress. Due to our very slow but steady progression towards multicultural tolerance, it is not likely that differing cultures will cause significant conflict in the future and territorial disputes will most probably decline. A threat remains however if patriots continue to be resistant to multiculturalism in the quest to defend ‘their own’ way of life; the focus needs to be on creating ‘our’ way of life.
Another credible threat is a possible Artilect War (a term coined by Hugo de Garis). This conflict could occur between people who want to develop strong artificial intelligence, and people who don’t. Reasons for not wanting AI include the fear of a ‘Terminator, judgement day’ scenario, and the belief that we should not play God, but should instead remain at a ‘natural’ level of intelligence. We may bypass these issues though through a yet unknown understanding of AI.
We should remain optimistic in light of the threats
An extremely negative and scary picture of the near future is displayed above. It is not as negative though as it seems, for along with advanced weaponry comes advanced defence. For example, with molecular manufacturing and early forms of non-conscious AI, a system of surveillance could be established to defend against the creation of illegal weaponry. This system would not be encroaching of privacies because humans will only be notified of your actions, should those actions be flagged by the system as suspicious. The only time your privacy will be invaded in an optimistic (non-dictatorship) future is when you are acting illegally.
Along with the advances may come a rising willingness to globally cooperate in order to progress with mutually beneficial aims such as self-sufficiency, immortality and space exploration; the threat of mutual destruction could become so great that nations come together as a global government to tackle security problems together, such as quashing organised crime and terrorism. On the subject of religious defence, perhaps as we move towards such god like, global changes such as immortality and the creation of super smart artificial intelligence, religions will become more open minded about the potential for science to explain the truth of our creation rather then following non-factual predictions; the result would be the dilution of religion and so increased multiculturalization, secularisation and cooperation. The one threat that is most likely to remain is the threat of organised criminal groups on a selfish quest for money/technology and power.
How will there always be room for us all?
If technology was to not advance any further and immortality was the only future achievement, we would have major problems to face due to overpopulation. This though will not be the case. Abundance of resources in the future thanks to self-sufficiency and post-scarcity, along with advances in nanotech and AI, will enable a potentially infinite number of conscious beings to be created. Explore the site further to find examples of how.
How Can We Become Immortal?
For developments in the quest to achieve immortality and increase longevity, click here to view all articles relating to immortality. Below is listed the main methods of achieving immortality. All methods are related to the subject of Transhumanism.
We can already potentially be immortal through the method of having ourselves cryogenically preserved after death. Modern cryonic procedures create a glass-like state rather than freezing the body. The modern process reduces the risk of ice crystals damaging cell-structures, which would cause devastating damage to the brain. Companies are currently offering cryopreservation services, predictably with a necessary hefty price tag. The promise is that you will be revived once technology enables its success and the cure is available for the disease which caused death. View the website of Cryonics Institute for more information.
Nano sized robotic devices, miniature even compared to the size of a single blood cell, will become commonplace at some point in the 2020′s. It is predicted that these devices will progress to be used within the body to maintain perfect health and to halt/reverse the ageing process. The first use of these devices will likely be for diagnostic purposes; they can provide constant monitoring and report to your mobile device if you begin to develop any heath problem. Perhaps most excitingly, they will detect cancer at it’s very first sign of growth, notify you and latch on to the cancerous cells, tagging them for immediate removal. Once it is possible to do this, further advancements will be imminent. Theoretically, any cancers, diseases, parasites or viruses could be either neutralised by nano devices or simply transported for excretion. Furthermore, they can maintain neural networks, and repair any damage faster than our current biological state allows. Still, this is only a small introduction to how nanotechnology will increase human longevity and enable immortality. Through nanotechnology, humanity can become what sci-fi currently describes as cyborgs, upgraded humans through the natural evolution of technology
Genetic modification is often predicted by scientists to be the method by which immortality will first be achieved. This will allow humans to become biologically immortal without the need of technological intervention. Changes in the enzyme called telomerase are responsible for general human ageing. Telomerase is located at the ends of DNA strings and act to prevent DNA from unravelling/degrading, in the same way as the plastic at the end of shoelaces do. When cells divide during growth and repair, this enzyme in each divided cell is shorter in length. As the enzyme becomes shorter it causes the cells they belong to to become degraded and more easily damaged and destroyed. When scientists discover how to maintain the length of telomerase during cell division, cells will never naturally degrade.
Uploading the Mind to an External Storage Medium
Eventually through developments in artificial brain building, mind mapping and artificial intelligence, enough understanding of the brain will exist to enable ourselves to be ‘uploaded’ to another storage medium. This storage medium will not be like our current form of computer chip but will be a completely new type of hardware, designed to harbour an uploaded human mind, complete with memories and personalty, so as no changes occur to the person. Each storage medium will need to be customised in order to project the subtle physical deferences of each brain from which each person is extracted. Human emotions etc are controlled by chemical inputs into the brain. For example, a hug from loved ones releases endorphins which make us feel happy, when we sense danger adrenaline is released to sharpen our senses. These processes along with many others need to be replicated in the hardware of our future storage. Once this new storage medium is perfected, we will not only be immortal but we could exist in virtual realities, placed into robotic bodies, or placed back into our own. Inside the artificially created storage our intelligence levels can be significantly increased, we can communicate telepathically, and we can access the internet with our thoughts. For more information about our progress with artificial brain building, check out our information page about transhumanism, and look through our articles about immortality.
What are your thoughts on immortality?
Would you like to live forever? Do you think our predictions are realistic? Do you think anything should be added to this introduction page? Please comment below.
This essay first appeared on Glyn’s blog, ThatsReallyPossible.com, HERE