Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Upsides and Downsides of REALLY long lives

This article barely scratches the surface, but it was enough to get me thinking.

I have a lot of sympathy for transhumanism and I'm delighted that these issues are getting to the point where we can realistically talk about them.

Naturally, it will be rich people who get to live for 140 years first, and all of the related social issues around new technology apply.

But still, wow.



Anonymous said...

Naturally, it will be rich people who get to live for 140 years first,

Will rich people's children start figuring out sly ways to murder their parents?

I think if our lifespans increase to 140 healthy years, our fertility will not increase much with it. Women will still have the same number of ova, men will probably fade out at slightly older than they do now. Will fewer young women marry old guys because they have to wait longer to inherit? Maybe people will go back to having kids in their teens and twenties; their, now young and energetic, parents will raise them, then they are done with that until they raise their grandchildren....
In other words, I thought the article wasn't very imaginative, but then, I read science fiction....

LaReinaCobre said...

I wish I had more of a sense from the article of how close this is to actually becoming a reality. It didn't quite seem real.

My mother read this and asked (among many other questions), "Where on earth would all of these people live?" In general, she had lots of questions about overpopulation.

My brother read this and thought it was ridiculous. He pointed out that our average lifespan has effectively doubled already (from when average age was 35) and we are still managing to screw things up quite royally on earth.

I'm in agreement with both of them when they said we need to focus on how better to live together than how to live longer.

Joel Monka said...

Having worked for the county Health Dept., and spent many an hour chatting with the statistician, I learned that people don't really live any longer today than they did 200 years ago- it's just that fewer are dying in childhood or early adulthood. If a person in the 1700s made it to 35, they had the same chance of hitting 70 or older that we do today- he pointed out that most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence made a ripe old age- both Jefferson and Adams saw the 50th anniversary of the declaration.