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Do You Want to Live Forever?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the depends-with-whom dept.

Biotech 1334

Jamie McCarthy writes "In 1918, Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Daly inspired his weary men to attack by yelling, 'come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?' But how would the world change if we could? This month's Technology Review introduces us to the computer scientist, and self-taught biologist, Aubrey de Grey, who thinks immortality could be within our grasp by 2030. Thinking like an engineer, he's broken aging down into seven specific problems, like cell atrophy and mitochondrial mutation, which he believes can all, in principle, be solved. And he has good reason to think those seven are the only 'bugs' standing in the way of a thousand-year lifespan. De Grey is clearly both a genius and a little nuts, but I'm not sure in what proportion..."

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1334 comments

Doom for Social Security (4, Funny)

slashnutt (807047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410110)

The Social Security System will fail Shortly after 2031. Could you imagine getting paid to not work for 935 years? You would have to have a population growth 935 times what it is today to sustain that growth! This is one reason that SS is fundamentally flawed.

Re:Doom for Social Security (5, Funny)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410134)

Look, kid, the world doesn't owe you a living. Nobody said eternal life was fair.

Re:Doom for Social Security (1)

m3j00 (606453) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410139)

I'm sure if people had the ability to invest their social security benefits in the stock market this would be a problem at all, right?

Re:Doom for Social Security (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410169)


This is one reason that SS is fundamentally flawed.

Failing to take into account that people live forever and could collect SS in perpetuity is hardly "fundamentally flawed"

Actually, it is. (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410295)

The real problem is that we have redundant systems that have the same purpose but overlap.

Social Security and Welfare are two forms of social saftey nets to try and make sure that people that fall below a certain line can be helped back up (or at least that's the idea). But someone on welfare does not keep receiving welfare if they manage to pick themselves back up and start earning money again.

Why then does a program like Social Security make any sense? Why just because you get old are you garunteed to have the government pay you as long as you live? Indeed if suddenly people did start living forever (or even just to 200 years old) the program would ie a very ugly death.

Speeking from a systems standpoint, it makes more sense to have a single program to help with living expenses for people of all ages, one that really worked. I'm no fan of welfare but perhaps if you combined social security and welfare into one you could come up with an improved system to help people who fall on hard times.

Obviously as people get older they need more medical care, so something like Medicade makes a lot of sense. I am mostly talking about payments made to help people with cost of living expenses.

Worse than that (3, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410195)

If much of these projected technologies come to be, then Social Security will fail long before 2031. That projection relies on an increase in lifespan of only seven years in the next seven decades!! Image what happens when the baby boomers come to use Social security in 2018, and then suddenly people stop dying nearly so fast as they do now...

Yet in the recent Social Security article, many Slashdot readers would seemingly choose to ignore advances like those outlined in the article, quite odd for a supposedly technological nerd oriented forum. I guess we can expect them all to post and tell us why this article is complete bunk and we'll be dying in 100 years at about the same age as now.

I think I shall label them with the new term "politically-motivated luddite".

Re:Doom for Social Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410209)

why would social security stil start at 65?

Re:Doom for Social Security (4, Informative)

bogie (31020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410218)

Actually that's 2042 not 2031.

http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/trsummary.html

"This is one reason that SS is fundamentally flawed."

Your take, not fact.

Btw I'd like to point out that the reason most people need social security is because the most productive years of their lives are behind them and they need it because they have no more earning power. If you were "immortal" you could just keep working and wouldn't need SS.

Re:Doom for Social Security (2, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410266)

If you were "immortal" you could just keep working and wouldn't need SS.

Not necessarily. You could still end up decrepit and arthritis-ridden, barely able to care for yourself, and just live that way for the next several hundred years.

Re:Doom for Social Security (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410282)

Have to work for more then 40 years? Unless I was uber rich I might choose for the shorter life span.

Re:Doom for Social Security (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410222)

If your lifespan is that long, you'll probably be fit as a fiddle at 65 and could go on working for several centuries longer. The retirement age would get raised to 900-something.

Re:Doom for Social Security (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410254)

By 2050 we will most likely have robots able to do all manual labor and service or at least beat us at soccer. Either the powers that be will be *coughs* generous with this technology or we will have 8* billion unemployed people that are very irrate since they can't afford anything the robots produce leading to the first robot vs human war that leads to something like this movie I saw once but can't remember it's name... Something with that guy from Bill and Ted movie... *8 billion is a rough estimate. We might have more or less depending on birth control acceptance and as always nuclear war, super virus, and/or large comets...

In other news (1)

paranode (671698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410315)

The creators of the Social Security system were resurrected from their graves with new regeneration technology only to serve out the rest of their 1000 years of life in prison.

No (1)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410113)

But it'd be nice if someone remembered me a thousand years from now...

Re:No (1)

armb (5151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410214)

I'm with Woddy Allen: "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying."

Re:No (1)

Squareball (523165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410281)

Yeah but no matter what they can do to make us live forever, getting blown up when a fuel truck hits your car is still going to kill you! :)

Nuts, but also well suited for the task (5, Insightful)

filmmaker (850359) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410115)

As he reviewed the possible reasons why so little progress had been made in spite of the remarkable molecular and cellular discoveries of recent decades, he came to the conclusion that the problem might be far less difficult to solve than some thought; it seemed to him related to a factor too often brushed under the table when the motivations of scientists are discussed, namely the small likelihood of achieving promising results within the period required for academic advancement--careerism, in a word. As he puts it, "High-risk fields are not the most conducive to getting promoted quickly."

The world needs more thinkers like him, even if he's a little nuts. Anyone willing to start his own international symposium after teaching himself micro biology is. Too many professional scholars are pinned into doing research that has immediate market viability and too many researchers are more interested in their own career advancement than the science they're supposed to be advancing. So they play it safe.

Daly dreams of being on the cover of Time magazine I'm sure, ego is almost certainly a factor for him as well, and no doubt a huge payday would follow and major advancement on any of his 7 problems. But it's the all-or-nothing mentality, the fact that he's willing to go for it even if it never pans out, that separates him.

Re:Nuts, but also well suited for the task (5, Informative)

Holi (250190) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410316)

Daly dreams of being on the cover of Time magazine

No,
Daniel Daly is dead and buried in Cypress Hills Cemetary. Daly was arguably the greatest marine of all time and the man behind the famous quote. Aubrey de Grey is the self taught micro-biologist who may or may not "dream of being on the cover of Time magazine".

There can be only one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410116)

First Highlander Post.

Hmm... (1, Funny)

SuperDJ (809957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410121)

De Grey is clearly both a genius and a little nuts

Those are the kind of people we count on now days! But honestly...I'm sure there are many people who might be better off not living forever. I won't mention any names or anything...

Sure I would. (2)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410122)

I really would like to, just to see what happens.

Re:Sure I would. (1)

Stone316 (629009) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410213)

Personally i'd love to live forever but i'd be content if I knew for certain there was an afterlife as to which I could be an observer... One of my biggest fears/disappointments is not knowing how human life will be in 200, 500 or 10 thousand years.

Things To Look Forward (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410126)

Things To Look Forward To In Immortality:

3D High Def THX Surround Sound home entertainment (some brain surgery required)

The 100th season of the Simpsons

200 more years of Dick Clark in Times Square

Windows Cthulhu (C'mon, you know it was coming some day...)

Baseball players finally agree to seriously address the steroid issue after a homerun ball is driven through the skull of a guy two miles away from the stadium.

No matter how well you cared for your teeth, you'll eventually lose them.

Watching every public retirement system go into the stock market and then watch it really tank! (Alpo! Yum!)

Liver Spot removal pill spam

Survivor Krakatoa

Final Fantasy LXXVI: The ploy that isn't beaten to death, yet.

After about 20 presidents claiming to reduce spending you realize they're full of shit as the world runs out of money to finance the US debt. And those guys who said, "The debt doesn't matter", they died, so it didn't matter to them.

Re:Things To Look Forward (1)

Deinhard (644412) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410167)

One more...

  • The NHL enters the 200th year of its lockout.

Re:Things To Look Forward (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410208)

Who cares, sports are retarded. Overpaid morons that can throw a ball or shoot a puck are not impressive.

Re:Things To Look Forward (4, Funny)

jxyama (821091) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410217)

you forgot one...

we can all live long enough so that a 6-digit /. id's will become "rare and wise" when there are 10 million /. members. :)

Re:Things To Look Forward (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410224)

And more:

"Vote Cheney/Nyarlathotep 2016"

NBC maxing out at 76 different "Law and Order" series in prime time each week. Yes, I, for one want to see "Law and Order: "CHJ" (court-house janitor).

We will see if Kurt Vonnegut was really right in that "wear sunscreen" thing.

The year of "Linux on the Desktop".

A new season of NHL Hockey.

Re:Things To Look Forward (2, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410263)

"200 more years of Dick Clark in Times Square"

And he still won't look a day over 20!

Re:Things To Look Forward (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410285)

and ofcourse: Duke Nukem forever.

Re:Things To Look Forward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410287)

looking forward to the simpsons.

I look forward to when the plot has all of them murdered, the writers killed in real life, and matt groening attacked by killer bees simply for destroying a great tv show.

conan left as a writer, the show went to shit (same thing happened to SNL)

they should cancel both and be done with it.

YES! (0)

N3Z (746334) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410128)

But not if I have to eat stuff that tastes bad!

Re:YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410216)

Don't worry. All you have to do is learn how to breathe, take a warm bath a couple of times a day, and have frequent sex.

Oh, and eating a beet or two wouldn't hurt.

More Spam (5, Funny)

Deinhard (644412) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410131)

Oh great, in addition to the bigger penis spams, we'll start getting "Live Forever" messages.

AND...we'll be getting them much longer. Jeez!

Re:More Spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410328)

and if you extend it by an specific amount each year, by the time you've reached a thousand, you'll be able to destroy tokyo from the comfort of your new york apartment.

Still no cure for cancer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410132)


of course that isnt as important

i shall visit the hospital when its ready in my flying car

Overpopulation (1)

CockblockTheVote (849450) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410136)

What would immortality do to the planet? What happens when we reache the carring capacity of nature? Would johnathan swift's A Modest Proposal then be up for use? Serve the children as food... Because we can does not mean we should

Re:Overpopulation (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410249)

I suspect that only those who can afford to will live, and we will have one- or even zero-child policies put in place in most of the world. In the longer term we'll see a lowering of the value of human life, and then a bunch of no-hopers will go out on a crazy attempt to start a colony on another planet. They will probably die, but eventually one such group will succeed. And then we start to conquer the galaxy.

Re:Overpopulation (1)

podperson (592944) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410297)

You might like to read "To Live Forever" by Jack Vance.

The thesis can be summed up in one line -- to live is to kill. You're taking up space someone else could be using.

Not the right question (4, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410137)

I believe the proper question at this point isn't "can we" it's "Should we"

Re:Not the right question (1)

Quebec (35169) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410241)

Well.. while you ask yourself the question, I'll drink the potion (or get the shot, or go through the molecular processor or whatever).

The owner of that technology will hold me by my balls and I'll even still thank him after my third mortgage on the house.

Re:Not the right question (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410312)

Okay, why shouldn't we?

The same overtone of moral disapproval you express has greeted every major medical advance. And it may take a while for people to hash out, but the overwhelming response in the end is always, "Hell yes, we should!"

Social Security (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410144)

I guess it would mean that the U.S. government would have to take another look at the Social Security (i.e. government pension plan) system.

Not really... (5, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410158)

By the time you are in your 70's so much stuff pisses you off that you can barely deal with it. Things change so much from what it was even when you were growning up.

Other problems... (1)

pcraven (191172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410161)

This would raise interesting ethical problems. Such as, what if you could have 1000 year life span, but the brain only lasted 100 years? That makes euthanisia a more important topic.

Plus, where will we fit everyone?

Maybe (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410171)

Only if my brain keeps working and doesn't turn into pudding. Plus I don't want to have to drink blood or anything. If I could live forever in a 25 year old body that would be nice too. But if I have to live forever in a 120 year old body wetting my diapers forget it.

Man that's a long time to be a virgin (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410172)

er em ... better post this AC

no thanks (1)

jxyama (821091) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410173)

a lot of moments (good and bad) that make "life" worthwhile would become less so if we could live forever.

also, in practical terms, i'd rather not know that my death will most likely be by a sudden accident and that i can't ever "retire" because i won't know how long i'll live (hence how much i need.)

Who wants to live forever, when love must die? (5, Insightful)

doublem (118724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410177)

Who wants to live forever, when love must die?

Arch Obler addressed some of the realities of such a life span in one of the episodes of the old radio show "Lights Out".

There was a revolution. The younger generation was tired of being held down by the generation that was in power when immortality became possible. Bereft of political power for hundreds of years, there was a violent and bloody revolt, resulting in the massacre of the older generation.

Can you imagine the state of civil rights if the people running the country in the 1950s were still alive and well?

To an extent, society just doesn't change unless the older generation dies off.

Re:Who wants to live forever, when love must die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410269)

If we don't die off, then every country will be like India.

Probably not (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410179)

Granted I didn't RTWFA (Read the whole f*ck*ng article), but no I don't want to live forever. Why take as a case in point my grandparents. One of which just recently died at 94, and the other one is still alive at 95. Both of them, since about age 85 onward have been depressed to the point of which the only thing apparently running/ran through their minds was "kill me...kill me...". No amount of family contact/therapy/meds seemed to help this. So rather than spend about 910 years thinking "Kill me...Kill me..." I think I'll just ask to die at 85 a nice happy man. Then again I've known some happy old people so YMMV...

Re:Probably not (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410264)

I'd suggest that there are two main reasons why old people want to die: first, the pain and disability that almost always come with old age, and second, the feeling of being out of place in the world when almost everyone you knew when you were younger is dead. If we could, in fact, stop the aging clock, both of those problems would disappear. (Assuming that it would be a treatment that everybody, or at least a large majority of people, would respond to, of course.) And under those circumstances -- being young and healthy for a thousand years, or a million, or until the last stars flicker out, for that matter, and with good company all the while -- I don't see any reason not to keep going as long as I possibly can.

Re:Probably not (1)

Stone316 (629009) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410320)

But what are the reasons behind that depression? Knowing that death could come any day? Not having the same physical abilities as before?

I'm lucky, both my sets of grandparents are still alive but for the past 5 years or so they haven't really 'lived'. My grandfather used to go hunting Moose by himself but now he is unable to do that. (For those that don't know, moose are pretty damn big and heavy..)

He used to own a fishing/hunting camp that you could only get to by seaplane, etc, etc. Alot of the things he loved to do he can't anymore because of age.

If we achieved immortality (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410180)

We might see the day when Duke Nukem Forever is published.

All kidding aside, it would remove the current obstacle of slow-speed space exploration.

A 60-year mission to Pluto? No problemo.

Re:If we achieved immortality (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410275)

The only thing I'm worried about in slow speed exploration after the human living that long problem is solved, is the machine living that long. The average lifespan of a hard drive to the best of my experience has been 5 years, and I don't think I've had any gadget longer than 10 years before malfunction. The middle of the Solar system is a long way to go to Earth for a replacement part...

not that novel (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410186)

I read the article, and was surprised to discover what are basically the conventional explanations of aging. Neither are the possible solutions particularly revolutionary, although I have some doubts as to whether de Grey's proposed approaches are the most likely to yield results. None are easy or likely to come about in the next few years.

Cate Archer (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410187)

Fox Interactive would need to change the name of their spy-parody first person shooter series.

sure, why not (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410196)

i certainly wouldn't mind going on as long as i want, without growing old and feeble, and being able to choose at what point i was finished.

there's no fundamental reason (that we know of) that a sentient biological entity shouldn't be able to sustain itself indefinitely. the only reason we're not effectively immortal is that we're not designed to be. there's no evolutionary advantage to being so.

Fixing aging (4, Insightful)

amstrad (60839) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410199)

If we "fix" this whole aging thing, won't we also need to put a stop to this giving birth thing?

I don't think the Catholics are gonna like this very much.

Re:Fixing aging (2, Interesting)

ibn_khaldun (814417) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410288)

Italy, one of the most Catholic countries in Europe (proximity effects...) also has the lowest birth rate. Which suggests either that Italians do not have the love life they are so famous for (or at the very least, self-promote), or else they've found other ways around the birth problem.

Can you imagine the consequences? (1)

eeg3 (785382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410201)

Unless we ended reproduction, or severely limited it (perhaps, by removing reproductive capabilities of newborns), the world would soon be extraordinarily overpopulated. Economies would crumble, society would be in shambles, etc.

Of course, we could always legalize murder to balance it out a little, but I think having everyone not live 1,000 years is a better idea.

Imortality-must restrict reproduction (1)

crow (16139) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410221)

If we could stop aging, imagine the population boom. Especially imagine the families that like to have lots of children, when women never go past childbearing age (whether preference or religious belief, they would have huge families).

So any cure for aging would need to also include a limit on reproduction. Perhaps the treatment would, by law, include sterilization. And perhaps the treatment would be denied to anyone with more than a certain number of children.

Life in prison would be expensive (1)

pcraven (191172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410228)

If you could solve these problems, most of our money would probably go to medical. Dealing with all the aches and pains we'd pick up along the way.

And who would we, as a tax-paying society, be obliged save from an early death via old age? Prisoners? Poor? Past Presidents?

Would you rather... (1)

Crash24 (808326) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410229)

...live 1,000 years with 940 of them infirmed, or live 100 years of youth?

I know that's an old question, but it's worth asking.

fame and fortune--well, fame at least, 5 minutes (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410234)

Telling people that they don't have to die has to be the oldest get-famous-quick scam out there.

How credible this guy is is something you can tell from the fact that he has never actually done any hands-on biology. Unfortunately, in real life, biological systems are enormously complex and unpredictable. We can't even cure the common cold or create a safe and effective diet pill; immortality is likely still very far off. (And whether it is at all desirable, even from the completely selfish view of an individual, is also an open question.)

Compliment of the season (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410242)

FOREIGN OPERATION DEPARTMENT
AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
44/46 WESTERN AVENUE, ASOOKORO
DISTRICT ABUJA NIGERIA
Email= rob_chey02@yahoo.co.in

Dear Good Day,

Compliment of the season

I am Mr Robinson Chey , a Manager at African Development
Bank group, Nigerian branch here in Abuja ,
However I got your contact through the
international web directory.Recently we discovered a
Dormant Account with a hug amount of Money Valued
USD24,000,000.00 (twenty Four Million Dollars only)
that belongs to one of our late Customer who died in a
plane crash . During our investigation and auditing in
this bank, my department came across a very huge sum of
money belonging to Mr. Carison Hogarth who died along
with his wife and his Two sons and the fund has been
dormant in his account With this Bank without
any claim of the funds in our custody either from his
family or relation before our discovery of this
development.I sent a routine notification to his
forwarding address but got no reply and it were fruitless.
The Banking law here stipulates that if such money
remains unclaimed for Six years, it will be forfeited to
the Bank treasury as an unclaimed bill It is only a
foreigner that can stand as a next of kin and It is upon
this discovery that I decided to contact you to
collaborate with you to pull out this dormant fund. In
order to avert this negative development, I on behalf of
my trusted colleagues now seek your permission to have
you stand in as next of kin to Our late Customer so that
the fund will be released and paid into your account as
the beneficiarys next of kin now that the bank is still
expecting a next of kin or relative of the deceased
In fact we could have done this deal
alone but because of our position in this country as
civil servants, we are not allowed to operate a foreign
account and that would eventually raise an eye brow on
ourside during the time of transfer since we still work
in this bank, this is the actual reason why we
required a second party or fellow who will assist us
forward claims as the next of kin and also provide
either an existing bank account or to set up a new Bank
a/c immediately to receive this fund, even an
empty a/c can also serve for this purpose.
On smooth conclusion of this transaction, you will be
entitled to 25% as gratification for your assisting us,
while 5%will be set aside to take care of expenses on
our both sides that may arise during the time of
transfer and also for telephone bills, and the
remaining 70% will befor me and my partners. What I want
from you is for you to act as the deceased next of kin.
I have in my possession, all the necessary Documents to
successfully accomplish the operation. Bear in mind that
this proposal is 100% risk free.my position as the Branch Manager
guarantees the successful execution of this transaction.
Hope this mail will meet your perfect understanding.
Further Information will be given to you as soon as I
receive your positive response.

Best Regards.

Mr Robinson Chey

Re:Compliment of the season (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410327)

my department came across a very huge sum of
money belonging to Mr. Carison Hogarth who died along with his wife and his Two sons and the fund has been dormant in his account


This is a lie! This is a lie for I am Mr. Carison Hogarth!

medical knowledge too unstable for conclusions (1, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410244)

Nearly every week there is some "new study" published that contradicts a previous one. Theories of aging 10-20 years ago are pretty different than those of today. So I'd venture at least half of his seven claims would be either wrong or insignificant 20 years from now.

I am optimistic that someday medicine will have a better understanding, but not today.

not a chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410246)

Since we age because the air we breathe oxidizes (read: RUSTS) the metals (ie: iron) in our blood, all you'd have to do is simply suspend chemistry and go against all that evolution has created.

Want to live forever? Everyone stop breathing. hah.

Besides, what'd be a functional purpose?

Good luck.

leisure time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410257)

entertainment industry dominates global economy forever.

"since no one starts working until well into their two-hundreds, we've seen our consumer base grow exponentially," said one industry exec. "these fleetingly short 4 year cycles of government make it impossible for anyone to overturn any of the legislature we've pushed through, so our intellectual property is secure forever. we win!"

Yes. (4, Insightful)

kryzx (178628) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410258)

Duh! Of course!
Just think how well my meager investments will be doing after they've had the chance to grow for 100 years! I'll be loaded!

Seriously, I think the money and class issues are the interesting side of this. If it happened there would be a clear class division between those that could afford it and those that couldn't. And for those that could, their wealth could grow without bounds. Our (in the US and most other western countries) society depends on inheritance and the associated taxes, dividing of estates, etc, to redistribute wealth, and this would immediately negate that effect. Anyone with an estate worth much could afford the technology to extend their life, and therefore not pass on the estate.

While it raises all kinds of social issues, on a personal level it means each of us has to try to accumulate enough wealth to get into the category of people that can afford it before the end of our natural lifespan. It's a race against time.

Did anyone notice... (1)

VargrX (104404) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410259)

that this article is from the all too near future?
Do You Want to Live Forever?
By Sherwin Nuland
Febuary 2005

(emphasis mine)

At least live long enough to... (3, Interesting)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410262)

acquire enough wisdom. But the question is, are you someone who believes in reincarnation, the afterlife, etc.?

This doesnt mean you could live forever... (1)

doormat (63648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410283)

Just, you wouldnt die of old age. Jumping off a 100 story building would still probably kill you. Stuff like car accidents, etc could kill you as well. I'm still for it though, I wouldnt mind living to be 500, or even 1000 as long as I could get out of bed every morning and be productive. Of course, I'm only 23 right now so when I'm 60 I might have a different attitude.

why ? (1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410290)


I perhaps may be in the minority but I really have no desire to live beyond my life expectancy of 80yo. I mean how greedy does one have to be. I woudl rather live the life that i do have to teh fullest. The world has had enough of me let someone else take my place. can you imagine a world of montgomery burns' who just live forever with there old thinking and old ideas. it's safe to say they the concept of renewal is built into every espect of nature. why can't we just go with the flow

remember EVERYONE is living longer (1)

TK2K (834353) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410302)

Alright, Slashdot as a whole has a highly educated, engaged and interesting population that post on it, however, we are but a fraction of the people in this world, i am asuming that the majority of people here are in the top 5% of the inteligence bracket. This being said, that leaves 95% of the population of the world to be ether less mature, informed or inteligent in one form or another. Now, imagine everyone on shashdot picking the most anoying, stupid, ignorent idiot they know and making them live for the next 1000 years. THEN, factor in that a new generation of people comes along every aprox 25 years, so in that span of 1000 years, you do not only have the original anoying people, you now have X to the 40th power (X being the original number of anoying people, 40 being the number of generations in 1000 years, asuming each generation there is the same percent of anoying people) (sry if my math is flawed, but i hope you can ignore that and get the idea im trying to say)
So you can see how within the spann of just 10 generations the earth would become increadable overpopulated.
some scientific breathroughs should not be made, others should, but i have to say if they found a way to make people live signifigently longer lives, it would just end up as a disaster in the end.

Can anyone live that long? (1)

doombob (717921) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410308)

Because, On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

Not me (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410309)

I hope to live long enough to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary and play with my grandchildren. After that, I can die a happy man.

Don King at 900 Years Old (1)

Evil W1zard (832703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410311)

Would have hair as tall as the statue of liberty by then.... The great thing about extendeding life such as this would be that the greatest minds wouldn't fade out of existence and the newer generation of great minds would have the opportunity to better learn from those still living. Of course population would be an issue, but hell we are gonna all be Star Trek like by 2030 anyways so what the hell.

"do you want to live forever" (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410319)

Speaking of dumb catch phrases to lead people into battle, I never "got" the Klingon phrase, "Today is a good day to die." Because the response would simply be, "Yeah, for YOU dipshit." And there could no clever follow-up to it. Basically, the Klingon would be standing there like a moron.

200 years might be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11410325)

I think a thousand years might be a nightmare, but as short as life is now, I think 200 years might prove useful. At 1000 years, you would have to work for 650 years to provide enough retirement benefits to cover the last 350.

Kurzweil says the same thing (1)

harvardian (140312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11410326)

I don't know if the two have talked about this, but I went to a talk by Ray Kurzweil (the inventor and writer), and he said much the same thing. His claim is that not only has processor speed, storage, etc. followed a logarithmic climb by time, but lifespan has as well. I think he said 2026 is about the time when we'll gain one day of lifespan for every passing day, if the curve keeps up.

In his efforts to reach the point of immortality early, he also said he's taking some ungodly number of nutritional supplements. I guess he's trying to stretch YMMV to its limit :-p
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