Deborah Woehr. Deborah wrote a post Living to be 100? in which she referenced a Yahoo! article saying that "Life expectancy may balloon to 100 years old in rich nations thanks to scientific advances, but such progress could widen the gap between wealthy and poor nations, according to researchers."
Being the geek that I am, naturally I am familiar with the issue. I have written about it in July twice: Forever Young - Immortality and Bones, Cats and Shock Absorbers (please excuse the state of that blog I'm not sure what I'll be doing with it yet and it was inactive for about six months).
Being also the dense person that I am, I never thought it would interest people on this blog, but that was rather ridiculous of me to think, given the large amount of genre, especially sci-fi, writers out there.
So Lee Carlon and I hijacked Deborah's blog and started a little debate there.
In short, my point of view is that once we would become immortal or have a very extended life span, we would also fundamentally change, as individuals and as a society, probably beyond what we can imagine. For example, I offered, I doubt people would have kids.
If you recall my singularity post, I contended there that we couldn't possibly imagine now what our society would be like if we ever grow beyond our intelligence (and hence its affect on writers). Same thing with immortality, I say.
Lee's point of view was more cynical than mine (I am, after all, the eternal optimist). First, Lee offered that "we should be concentrating on ensuring everybody (in the world) has a good quality of life, before we reward ourselves with even more." And I fully agree with that. He's a better person than I am.
Second, Lee claimed that society is run on fear of not having enough and he thinks that this fear will only increase if we live forever and that our concern for others will further diminish. And this is where Lee and I differ.
Both Deborah and Lee also disagreed with me regarding people having kids. I know it's a hard concept to swallow, the notion that the thing that's been driving our society for thousands of years will be no longer, but if one thinks of the reason we were driven to procreate - for continuity - then that would no longer be an issue. Then why have kids?
Don't answer from the emotional point of view about how much kids mean to us. Remember, if you live to be 500, the time the kids are young is a speck.
As for the fears of not having enough resources to sustain one self as Lee suggested, I can offer this as a thought - if we're immortal, we take care of the one resource we always run out of - time. Once we feel, know that we have all the time in the world, and that seeing the Pyramids can wait another year or hundred, then our attitude changes. Dramatically.
Now go to Deborah's blog to continue the discussion there :)
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Categories: science, immortality, science-fiction