Most of us can own up to the fact that we are afraid of dying. While we know we all die at some point, and have witnessed this reality with strangers and family members alike time and time again, it doesn’t seem to ease the unsettling feeling that our life here on Earth is limited. But what if it wasn’t?
Plays, books, movies, songs, and so many different forms of art give us a glimpse of an imaginative world where immortality exists. But it’s just fiction. And so, while we let our minds float off momentarily to this make-believe land, our wrinkles, grey hair, and aching body parts remind us that we are, indeed, dying a little bit every single day.
But British scientist Stephen Wolfram says immortality could, indeed, become a reality.
“It’s always been the case in the past that when there sort of isn’t a reason why something isn’t possible, it ends up being possible in the end,” Wolfram explains.
We will, indeed, have simulations that run efficiently enough to out-run what’s happening in natural biology, he says. And this is when mind-blowing advancements like immortality will occur.
He compares how we used to believe we could never clone a mammal to now; now that we can do it, we just say, “Well, of course it works!” This, he says, is why someday we will eventually be able to do the impossible: achieve immortality. One day, a wacky idea will come to be, and it will, through trial and error, become the tool, the machine, the utmost option for achieving an eternal human life.
And, as he speaks, there are most definitely advancements toward that already happening.
Aubrey de Grey, a Cambridge University researcher, heads the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) project, in which he has defined seven causes of aging. He believes all of them can actually be dealt with.
LiveScience recently spoke with de Gray about his idea of living longer, and perhaps forever, and concluded that:
Our human genomes will be modified to include the genetic material of microorganisms that live in the soil, enabling us to break down the junk proteins that our cells amass over time and which they can’t digest on their own. People will have the option of looking and feeling the way they did at 20 for the rest of their lives, or opt for an older look if they get bored. Of course, everyone will be required to go in for age rejuvenation therapy once every decade or so, but that will be a small price to pay for near-immortality.
But what if we don’t want to live forever?
“I don’t see any inherent limit to how long it would be desirable to live,” de Gray says. “If life is fun at the moment, because one is healthy and youthful, both mentally and physically, then one is not likely to want to die in the next year or two. And if a year or two down the road, life is still fun because one is still youthful and so on, then the same will apply, and I can’t see a time when that would cease to be true.”
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