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Live 20 More Years and You May Never Die, expert claims
Dick Pelletier   Aug 14, 2012   Positive Futurist  

Futurist Ray Kurzweil believes we will soon eliminate most disease, pain, and forgetfulness; “If you live well for the next 20 years,” Kurzweil says, “you may be able to live in perfect health for as long as you wish.”

In a recent Nova Science Now presentation astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson reports on procedures that hold the greatest promise to eliminate aging and allow humans to live forever. These include stem cell therapies, uploading minds, genetic engineering, printing organs, and more. Watch the video below:

Although accidents, crime, and violence, could still cause death in this future time, nobody will suffer the pain and misery now dished out by cancer, heart disease, obesity, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and most other age-related human ills.

This future is not surprising considering the current speed of medical innovations. It seems just about every day, we hear researchers make fresh discoveries, or begin clinical trials for a new therapy; and over the next 20 years, experts say, healthcare breakthroughs will occur at even faster rates than today.

Kurzweil agrees that aging will one day be eliminated. Researchers recently discovered how skin cells can be transformed into embryonic stem cells, he says, which will enable doctors to repair worn and damaged organs; and when necessary, regrow new ones.

In Nanomedicine, author Robert Freitas talks of tiny nanorobots that can roam through our bodies, fighting pathogens and keeping us in perfect health 24/7. “Although the road ahead may be difficult,” Freitas says, “in the end, the goal of living in perfect health for an indefinite time will be achieved.”

Freitas compares nanomedicine development to the computer industry. It took 60 years of market-driven research to bring computers to their present state with today’s ‘smart’ cell-phones, laptops and tablets; and we will see a similar, but more rapid progression with nanomedicine.

“Nanoscience,” Freitas says, “is already producing bio-robots. Next, expected during the 2020s, will be hybrid robots built from engineered structural DNA, synthetic proteins, and other non-biological materials. Finally, by early 2030s or before, researchers will construct completely artificial devices: nanorobots capable of protecting every cell in the body from disease and injury.”

If we define disease as something gone wrong with an otherwise healthy body, Freitas adds, then aging; and indeed, ‘natural death’ are diseases, which occur when the body’s cellular structure cannot repair damages. Nanomedicine will not only allow us to repair these damages, but we can undo damage already inflicted. This means that the young can remain young and the old will become young.

Even though life extension technologies promise to erase most of today’s killer diseases, naysayers ponder possible negative aspects of a longer lifespan. Would we still be able to express courage if we knew we might not ever die; and will these technologies change our view of what it means to be human?

Positive futurists believe these issues are important and must be addressed, but they will not stop efforts to extend lifespan. Demand from citizens who believe they deserve a healthier and happier life, will drive this future forward; and it could become reality in time to benefit the majority of people alive today.

In just 20 years, seniors and ‘boomers might look in the mirror wondering, “Who is that gorgeous creature?” Their reflection would reveal a perfectly-shaped body with beautiful flowing hair in its natural color, wrinkle-free skin, real teeth, and perfect vision.

As we trek through the decades ahead, people will remain healthy and appear youthful for an indefinite period, while enjoying the good life with creature comforts such as, driverless cars, household robots, and getaway galas to Moon, Mars and other exotic locations in the high frontier.

Is this our future? As technologies continue to advance exponentially, positive thinkers believe that an indefinite lifespan filled with undreamed of rewards will soon be ours to enjoy. Comments welcome.

Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.



COMMENTS

In just 20 years we will be immortals, have fusion energy and AI,
if we have the courage to stand up to the deathists, the environmentalists, and the cognitively impaired.
Onward Transhumanist soldiers!

Wel said, Jim.

Huh.  I didn’t realize that environmentalists were opposed to Transhumanists.  So if I like the natural world, want to prevent pollution, and want to keep species from being made extinct in large quantities, I can’t promote any of Transhumanism?

Oh well, Jim’s shown me the light, apparently I’m not the “right kind” of Transhumanist, since I rather like the environment.

For the most part, I believe environmentalists are not harmful to our cause of wanting to improve our bodies and extend our healthy lives. Nearly everyone on Earth would like these events to happen.

However, when some of these ‘traditionalists’ refer to our attempts to grow pure meat without growing animals as ‘Frankenfood’; putting down efforts to solve worldwide food shortages, or imply that because some of us believe that replacing more of our biology makes us less human, is not supportive of most transhumanist ideals.

But the bottom line is that nobody wants to suffer a premature or unwanted death. The goal to gain an indefinite lifespan should unite us all.

Comments welcome.

Dick Pelletier:

I can understand your position there, but I would say that genetically engineered crops are being used without any good precautions, and treated in a way that is illogical for treating genetics.  The genetic code itself is copyrighted (as if it would stay the same and not change, nor spread past the crops planted); crops are genetically modified in a way to make them resistant to pests but not harmful to humans, but indications seem to be that they are not actually resistant to pests, and instead end up needing more pesticides—and even if the genetic engineering did work as advertised, there’s the the chances of ending up with “super pests” that, through natural selection, become harder to deal with as they’ve adapted to the genetically engineered plants.  In that scenario, we are using corporate and copyright logic on something that is, in my opinion, not well tested enough to actually be sent out in the world and breeding with other plants.

As for replacing our biology making us less “human”, well, the point of the name Transhuman is that it DOES make us less human, but we should transcend simple humanity into the Posthuman state (which will probably be pretty far off).  The Posthuman state is the best chance humanity has, I think—it’s easier to adapt us to other worlds than to adapt other worlds to us.  And, as Carl Sagan put it, we have all our eggs in one basket if we just stay on Earth, so in my view it’s simple survival to expand and change ourselves.

As for growing meat without the animals, I’m curious to see how that develops.  I haven’t heard anything negative about that yet.

And no, I don’t want to suffer a premature or unwanted death.  I think that our lives should be in our hands.  While there are economic and social concerns with true longevity, I do think that we can surmount them before we even develop longevity; we’re already on that path, and our economic and social systems are not keeping up with us.

The Capitalist society is nice when there’s scarcity, but what if there isn’t?  If we can make everything necessary abundant, and put menial labor under machines instead of people instead of seeing “employment” as a major necessity just to live in the world…

I guess I view the world in a more positive vein.

In regards to genetically modifying crops, draught and pesticide damage warrants that as innovative humans, we search for solutions. We have always been the species that tries to improve itself and its environment. We may find some of our solutions don’t work well, but others do, and we will never give up trying.

Producing meat without growing animals is necessary. Rising food prices have recently pushed many of the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day into poverty. In addition, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported that livestock take up 70 percent of all agricultural land and generate 18 percent of greenhouse gasses, more than all the vehicles on Earth. Lowering animal populations would reduce global warming, and as a plus; make more land available for human housing.

Of course, should molecular nanotech develop as some predict by late 2020s, many of our scarcities could quickly end.

Finally, I find a problem with categorizing future non-biological humans as ‘posthumans’ or ‘transhumans’. I prefer to imagine that I would always consider myself a human being. I believe that my consciousness, memories, and emotions describes my humanness, not my body.

Comments welcome

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