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GoatLord

Living forever (or at least a really long time)

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There are a lot of factors that contribute to aging, not just isolated ones like the malfunctioning of self-repair mechanisms in our cells. It seems that every few months, scientists discover another piece of the puzzle, and soon after, lab rats undergo age reversing procedures. Obviously, the first human trials of age reversal procedures won't be here tomorrow, but more like a decade or two, and some time after that they'll be consumer products, probably in the form of a pill.

Will you want to be a part of this phenomenon? I certainly plan to. I have no interest in immortality, but a significantly longer lifespan would allow me to witness our transition into one of the most important phases of human history. Not that I have a religious devotion to the tech singularity, but clearly, some pretty fantastic technologies are on the horizon, and one would need to be around a century or two to really see things take shape.

If age reversal medicine is available within the next few decades, the effect it will have will be minimal, though each new iteration will offer improvements over the last; theoretically, one could ride the wave of each new generation of medicine and live as long as they wish. This is my goal, although I'm completely willing to accept that I'll be too old to take advantage once it finally arrives.

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GoatLord said:

Not that I have a religious devotion to the tech singularity, but clearly, some pretty fantastic technologies are on the horizon, and one would need to be around a century or two to really see things take shape.

Yeah, but that's kind of the 'thing' with the kurzweildian way. All the cool stuff is perpetually just a decade or two away and then all of our problems will vanish.

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I understand and respect your desire to live longer to learn and witness more - In theory, I agree. However when it come to practical execution of "mass age reversal", we have to look at some larger factors.

-Overpopulation. This is a big one - In years to come, researches have speculated that our population could boom to over 9 billion or perhaps even further. Considering Earth's resources are already hard for us to access and are rarely lumped where we need them, considering the quality of life is diminishing somewhat rapidly in big cities around the world, this is a glaring issue with extending life expectancy even further. We already have too many people, we don't need them all to live for 200 years.

-Health risks, specifically to individuals. Naturally, the hope would (theoretically) be that all medical malfunctions that extending life expectancy would cause to the human body will be ironed out. Practically speaking, however, this is unlikely to come until well after these 'treatments' hit the medical scene and are actually being given to patients. Basically, the first few decades who undergo this procedure will be, perhaps unknowingly, guinea pigs.

-Psychology/Mental deterioration. Since it's fairly rare for a person to live over 100 presently, we haven't had much in the way of opportunities to study the psychology of people in this postulated age bracket. We have nothing more than speculation when it comes to determining the effects such a long lifespan will have on the average human brain. This alone is not a reason to discontinue studies of age reversal, but when paired with the other two above, we have a shit storm a-brewin', as it were.

I personally do not want to make it to 100. I would want to look back on my life and say it was a quality experience, rather than just a long one. As they say, enough is enough.

Really interesting thread topic, GoatLord!

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Everyone in my family lives to be 90 - 100.

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Doomkid said:

-Psychology/Mental deterioration. Since it's fairly rare for a person to live over 100. . .

. . .and dementia incidence rates rise sharply once you pass the mid 70s.

There's no cure in sight and I don't fancy the prospect of spending an indeterminate number of years in a semi-vegetative state.

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Now you're going to live to the ripe old age of 250! Spending the last 180 years as a senile, cancerous, incontinent mess. Sure is great to live for so long.

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I think this sort of life extending would include the body staying healthy, or more like that's the reason why someone would live longer.

If you've aged to 100 and look like a raisin.. and then get some treatment that makes your body function like when it was 20.. then the body should return back to looking/being like 20 eventually.

I suppose you could also have cybernetic body parts, that can be changed/repaired easier when damaged. I wonder if it would work for brains and consciousness.

I think if I had a cybernetic body, I'd end up like Batou.. using weight lifting equipment and exercising.. for what?

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I'm down with living longer in good health, but I feel the modern human life span is enough to do everything you truly want to.

In a weird selfish way, my interest in those advancements has more to do with older relatives. It's easier to face your own mortality than to let go people you care about.

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We need to upgrade our cellular structure. Each cell should naturally store an enormous amount of energy, to be able to survive on its own for a long time (even without oxygen supply), to effectively give out the energy, and to regenerate itself (and also whole body parts) quickly and thoroughly, including the degenerative parts which cause our aging. Then, our bodies would be perfected to be stronger, more resilient and completely not liable to natural aging.

But according to my belief, this kind of immortality is not appropriate for the humankind in its current state of development. Humans have tendencies to be aggressive, selfish, hostile, ambitious, immoderately pleasure seeking, able to do deceits, etc. Also we desire to spread our life immoderately too much. Perhaps we need some more centuries or thousands of years to mentally and genetically grow up to this "higher" state. The "ungood" tendencies will vanish completely, they won't be present anymore in any individual human. And the goal of life will be simply the life itself, and just keeping it (not necessarily spreading it) and enjoying it in a non-selfish way, with no desire to achieve something more, or interrupt the life.

Humankind, as it is today, is not mature enough yet, and so the individuals need to be mortal...

End of fiction. :)

Spoiler

If anyone's interested, I came up with it myself, taking loose inspiration from Avatar and from the Nox race in Stargate, I'm not aware of copying any other existing sci-fi, but I find it very probable that such a fiction already exists.

The second to last sentence actually expresses my opinion about immortality, for the purposes of this thread. I admit it might be great to live long and healthily, but the person would need to have qualities to be able to endure it, and (probably?) also to deserve it.

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Before I die, I hope they figure out how to upload my consciousness to the hard drive of a super-computer.

http://www.livescience.com/37499-immortality-by-2045-conference.html



"Kurzweil — an inventor, futurist and now director of engineering at Google — predicts that by 2045, technology will have surpassed human brainpower to create a kind of superintelligence — an event known as the singularity...By 2045, 'based on conservative estimates of the amount of computation you need to functionally simulate a human brain, we'll be able to expand the scope of our intelligence a billion-fold,' Kurzweil said...Itskov and other so-called "transhumanists" interpret this impending singularity as digital immortality."

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Kontra Kommando said:

Before I die, I hope they figure out how to upload my consciousness to the hard drive of a super-computer.

http://www.livescience.com/37499-immortality-by-2045-conference.html

But that wouldn't be you, but a copy of you. You'd die anyway. That's the same situation like if they scanned your body and your brain and assembled a living copy of you atom by atom. Then you'll die. The copy of yourself stays alive, so for all other people it seems like if you survived. But YOU (like your OWN conscious, your mind, your "soul") will be dead, you will feel the death upon dying, etc. Even if they first scanned you and decompose you at the same time, and then assembled the copy (perhaps even from the same atoms), it wouldn't change anything, you (your consciousness, "soul") will be dead. Or not? I think yes.

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Kontra Kommando said:

Before I die, I hope they figure out how to upload my consciousness to the hard drive of a super-computer.

http://www.livescience.com/37499-immortality-by-2045-conference.html

[youtube link]ckwGUai_Vvk[/youtube link]

"Kurzweil — an inventor, futurist and now director of engineering at Google — predicts that by 2045, technology will have surpassed human brainpower to create a kind of superintelligence — an event known as the singularity...By 2045, 'based on conservative estimates of the amount of computation you need to functionally simulate a human brain, we'll be able to expand the scope of our intelligence a billion-fold,' Kurzweil said...Itskov and other so-called "transhumanists" interpret this impending singularity as digital immortality."




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scifista42 said:

But that wouldn't be you, but a copy of you. You'd die anyway. That's the same situation like if they scanned your body and your brain and assembled a living copy of you atom by atom. Then you'll die. The copy of yourself stays alive, so for all other people it seems like if you survived. But YOU (like your OWN conscious, your mind, your "soul") will be dead, you will feel the death upon dying, etc. Even if they first scanned you and decompose you at the same time, and then assembled the copy (perhaps even from the same atoms), it wouldn't change anything, you (your consciousness, "soul") will be dead. Or not? I think yes.


I was wondering the same thing. Though someone had explained to me that our brain is active by an electrical current that processes through our brain-matter. If you think about it, a brain is only a vessel. Perhaps if we could extract what exactly makes it work; replacing the organic maternal that makes it function with a computer. Or perhaps it would be better to retain the brain in its organic form. Because unlike machinery and circuits, organic material is able to repair itself. Maybe by that time, they will advance medicine to the point where they will at least be able to maintain the brain's longevity. Perhaps through nanotechnology, cell-like robots will be able to repair it, acting as tiny neurosurgeons. But who knows, we will just have to wait to see what the future has to offer.

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If you can make a brain implant, some external device, that is linked to your brain and you use it with your brains.. and then make that device something that equals brains. Use it for some time, and one day shut off the link and see if you stayed in the organic brains or if you preferred the cyberbrains better.

Or replace parts of the brains with cybernetic parts, not all at once, but eventually there would be very little organic parts left.

That's what I think how the consciousness could be transferred.

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Kontra Kommando said:

I was wondering the same thing. Though someone had explained to me that our brain is active by an electrical current that processes through our brain-matter. If you think about it, a brain is only a vessel. Perhaps if we could extract what exactly makes it work; replacing the organic maternal that makes it function with a computer. Or perhaps it would be better to retain the brain in its organic form. Because unlike machinery and circuits, organic material is able to repair itself. Maybe by that time, they will advance medicine to the point where they will at least be able to maintain the brain's longevity. Perhaps through nanotechnology, cell-like robots will be able to repair it, acting as tiny neurosurgeons. But who knows, we will just have to wait to see what the future has to offer.

The truth is, we still don't know the essence of a "soul". I personally imagine it as something very fragile, and any artificial messing with brain neurons is too controversial and shouldn't be allowed. Definitely not in such a way like to "transfer" mind characteristics to a different hardware, mechanically or chemically influence neurons in a mass measure, decomposing / reassembling the brain etc. I'd be afraid to even thinking about such things, I believe they shouldn't be allowed even if they became technically possible. Perhaps a very slow, continual replacing of neurons by their (improved, maybe mechanical) substitutes might work without a risk, but even that's controversial. How far can we go with influencing human's brain processes and his "soul"? I'd be very, very afraid about doing anything with the neurons, and I think this technical approach is probably a wrong way to go, if we want to preserve a TRUE ORIGINAL OF A CONSCIOUS SOUL.

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I would say just keep in mind that for most of human history the potential of future technological advance has been under-predicted by people, like a Victorian drawing of a "20th century house" which features gigantic steam-driven gears all for the point of turning the house to face different directions.

Yep that's definitely what we invested our R&D in.

At this point you should hope that the predictions made by people like Kurzweil are conservative and not falling short of what will really happen during the rest of the 21st century. We *are* on the precipice of important breakthroughs in multiple fields like quantum computing and particle physics, some of the consequences of which can't be known until they become fully capable of industrial-scale deployment.

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Food for thought. Imagine people uploaded to the super-computer, interacting with the real world. They could probably have to be projected through holograms; we will essentially create ghosts through science. Moreover, if they could take the form of themselves, they could pretty much take the form of anything. Further, they would be able to appear pretty much anywhere they can be projected, almost at an instant through cyberspace.

If they will interact with the real world, they would most likely continue their careers. A disturbing prospect would be their influence. Older more established ones would probably try to become a global power-elite.

Maybe through cloning, and genetic engineering, they would probably re-install themselves into a new/better version of their former bodies. We could probably be reborn. Imagine living a new childhood, with all of the memories of your past. You would see child CEO and politicians, who have the bodies of children by the minds of wise men that have lived for thousands of years.

Terra-forming would benefit from this. Instead of sending living humans on board a ship. We could send one that is controlled by upload minds. They would be able to grow their new bodies with the basic building blocks, once they have made their new planet hospitable to human life. Perhaps we could even cut corners, and make new bodies that can adapt to a more extreme environment.

The possibilities are really endless, when you have an eternity to do it. Some are cool; some are monstrous.

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Kontra Kommando said:

Imagine living a new childhood, with all of the memories of your past. You would see child CEO and politicians, who have the bodies of children by the minds of wise men that have lived for thousands of years.

Never gonna happen. Think of the psychological problems of being trapped in such a body for 15-18 years.

Adult clones for adult minds only.

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That's reminding me about part of the plot in the Chaser FPS, where it mentions sonething about some sort of "Dark Eye" device which can transfer a copy of someones mind into another being.

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Quasar said:

I would say just keep in mind that for most of human history the potential of future technological advance has been under-predicted by people, like a Victorian drawing of a "20th century house" which features gigantic steam-driven gears all for the point of turning the house to face different directions.

Yep that's definitely what we invested our R&D in.


Well....

Heliotrope building.

You're welcome :-)

As for the various soul/existential questions, I was always fascinated by the Swampman and the Ship of Theseus philosophical paradoxes.

But to me they have a pretty simple solution: even if someone makes a completely functional copy of you that acts entirely like you, and YOU are destroyed/die, YOU are dead for good. I do not make assumptions about what the copy will feel, or how its personality will be, or whether it will have a soul, but I don't believe that you will "continue living", seeing, feeling etc. through your replica(s).

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Maes said:

But to me they have a pretty simple solution: even if someone makes a completely functional copy of you that acts entirely like you, and YOU are destroyed/die, YOU are dead for good. I do not make assumptions about what the copy will feel, or how its personality will be, or whether it will have a soul, but I don't believe that you will "continue living", seeing, feeling etc. through your replica(s).

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scifista42 said:

But that wouldn't be you, but a copy of you.


So, if I took Maes' ship and replaced all its parts one by one, would it be the same ship? If my parts slowly get replaced (which they do), do I remain the same person? Does it matter if I replace them all at once or one by one? I disagree with you and say no it doesn't matter, it's the same person if you make an identical copy. I guess the question, if I may auf Deutsch, is „Bin ich jetzt der selbe Mann oder der gleiche?“

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If you make a copy of you, it's a copy. If you transfer you into another body, that's still you.

Think of yourself as water in a glass. Then put the water into an another glass. It's still the same water.

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Jimi said:

If you make a copy of you, it's a copy. If you transfer you into another body, that's still you.

Think of yourself as water in a glass. Then put the water into an another glass. It's still the same water.

But what exactly the metaphorical water really is? My brain? The unique structure of my brain? Electrical impulses in my brain? Or some non-physical thing like a "soul"?

I'm able to come to a conclusion that brain is also the glass, and unique brain structure is the water. I'm also able to come to a conclusion that unique brain structure is still the glass, and electrical impulses in the brain are the actual water. Or it might also be that even the electrical impulses are part of the metaphorical glass, and the only "water" is "soul".

The truth probably is, we don't know where exactly is the real border between "hardware" and "software", when examining human brain and consciousness. How far can we go, if we wanted to meddle only with the "hardware", but keep the "soul" untouched? With our current knowledge about the "conscious soul", how do we guarantee that the "conscious soul" will actually stay in the right place, or get into the right place, if we did anything artificial with the "hardware"? I guess that we just don't. I'd even say that we shouldn't.

Maes's links regarding philosophical paradoxes are interesting.

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