I was reading an article the other day about how a human born today may have the opportunity to live for a 1000 years. It seemed pretty far fetched but Cambridge is a pretty respectable institution. So I started digging for the technologies that will allow this to happen.
I hope you take the time to read these articles and think about their repercussions if the become a reality. The information provided in the articles is fascinating and scary. Each of these technologies has the potential to be used for good or evil. How they get used and the impacts on society remain to be seen. I personally believe that we as a society need to get ahead of the technologies and the laws that govern their use to ensure we minimize any negative impacts on society.
The Next Frontier
Here is a brief list of medical technologies with articles you should keep you eye on in the near future.
The premise of these drugs is to remove damaged cells (senescent cells) from our systems so they can be replaced with newer cells. Apparently what happens when we age some damaged cells that should have died and been replaced remain in our systems. These damaged cells degrade the performance of our organs and muscle tissues. The senolytic drugs target the damaged cells and force their removal as well as replacement with new cells. This replacement restores the organ and muscle function. Human trials are going to begin in the next several years. A whole new class of medicine is about to begin.
Surgery at a Molecular Level
How about DNA based machines that do surgery on your body at a molecular level. This sounds like a cheap sci-fi movie but the reality is closer than you think. Cal-Tech already has the robots working cooperatively. According to the article these DNA robots may be able to work together to perform small scale surgeries. I did not see a timetable for clinical trials. However, it seems closer to science fact than science fiction.
What about tissue regeneration? Scientists have found the 326 genes that allow the anole lizard to regenerate their amputated tail. Here is another article on the same subject. This one takes a simpler approach to the regeneration puzzle.Based upon the research listed above it appears tissue regeneration in humans will become possible sometime in the not too distant future.
Stem Cells Zombies
The next article has me very concerned because I am not sure what we will get. Researchers are working to reawaken brain dead patients with the latest stem cell innovations. This is a bit too creepy for me. What happens to their memories? Their personalities? Can they be brought completely back? Will they be left in some semi-vegetative state?
Externally Controlling Body Movements
When I first read this article, I was thinking they had the ability to install a chip that controlled the body. Not with this one. It is accomplished by ‘implanting specifically built DNA strands and nanoparticles’. Just think of the possibilities. Maybe we can get a semi-vegetative state individual that we can control externally. I wonder if they would have rights?
The Fountain of Youth
At the end of our chromosomes are strands called telomeres. As we age these strands shorten. When they wear away we go away. I think of them as natures little time bomb that ensures we go away at the proper time. Scientists have now figured out how to regenerate the telomeres. With a little work telomere regeneration may actually become the fountain of youth.
Looking at the research and emerging technology the original article stating that a human born today may live to 1000 years may be accurate. According to UN Agenda 21 the planet has an extra 6.5 + billion extra people. There are so many articles on Agenda 21 I won’t even cite any in this article. These extra people become even more extra when you consider AI and technology will eliminate a large percentage of jobs in the world in the next 20 years.
Technology aside what are the moral and ethical issues? So, who will get the life extending technology? I just don’t see how providing life extending technologies to the general population is feasible. The planet cannot support hundreds of billions of people. Technology and AI are already replacing people in the workforce at an alarming rate.
Will a super race be created? Will we consider them to be human? This makes me think of Hitler and the master race but I don’t think color or religion will be a consideration to be part of this futuristic group. The rest of us would then become their slaves, puppets or toys. Maybe we will be entering the Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World? Would you choose to live in the savage lands or in the general society?
Could we build a race that can live long enough to explore the cosmos (article)? From all of the options I feel this has the best potential for a positive outcome. Will natural procreation be eliminated? It would make sense to stop natural reproduction if people don’t die. You would only need to replace people when they cannot be repaired and the die. I don’t have the answers. However, it is something worth watching. What are your thoughts?