Off Topic: Will We Live Forever?

Every now and then I'll have this discussion with friends: how long do you think we'll live? I've always said that, given the advances of science, I estimate people in their 20s/30s will live for an extremely long time, possibly 200 to 300 years old. I also think there's a possibility we could live a lot longer than this.

But I say this as someone who knows very little about the advances of medicine! It seems as though I'm constantly reading an article about how this advancement or this advancement takes us one step closer to a Highlander style immortality.



    I plan to be uploaded into the singularity when I get older (if my wife lets me).

      People keep on acting like sentient machines replacing humans is a bad thing. The persistence of humanity in it's current form is doomed to failure - we should embrace the fact that intelligent machines are our legacy and the only means by which we'll ever achieve immortality.

    Nah, I don't think any current generations will get hugely extended lifespans.
    Probably see an average increase of 10-20 years but the medical tech to truly change the course of nature is not even on the drawing board.

      Potential digital immortality is where it's at.

      I don't wanna be stuck with the one body for eternity, I'd much prefer to be able to chop and change.

      Depends on how organ replacement goes and the new synthetic universal blood transfusion test go. Assuming they go well, you could have ALL your organs replaced which would give you a HUGE vitality boost. Also have fresh less deteriorated blood pumping through yourself would keep it all clean and then using Stem Cell to repair any damaged nerves and finally have your bones reinforced would assist greatly.

      All the things I just said are already in testing but due to their high-risk the non-human trials and theory involved are expected to go for another 10-20 depending on on the specific study. I'd say we all die before tech reaches fruition.

        Yeah that stuff is not far enough along. The gen just being born might get to see it but even then it won't fix everything, just slow it down more. Brain and muscle deterioration and other, less clear conditions will still limit lifespans. Maybe a 50 year boost best case and you still would be frail.
        If the secret to immortality was discovered today, we would still die before it becomes available. Takes time to.turn theory into practice.

          Especially if social engineers decide to sabotage distribution to ensure that only the 'right' people get extended lifespans.

          (Hint: None of us are the 'right' people.)

            The won't even need to. Just make sure it stays prohibitively expensive. Which it will be.
            The kinda thing middle class work their whole lives to save for, only to do it again the next "life".
            Meanwhile the rich live as eternal 20 yr olds and the poorest turn to crime out of desperation and are thus marginalised as not deserving anyway.

              Price is actually one of the tools they use. The technology won't NEED to cost that much. Just like current pharmaceuticals. Anything to keep the 1% being the 1%, even if it means solvable global problems go unsolved.

    If people my age are going to live to 300, then why are so many people my age, even younger then me, are currently going through their mid-life crisis?

    If this is going to happen, I'd better start learning how to swordfight.

    EDIT 1: To answer your question though, I don't think so. Even if we worked out how to make cells regenerate, you'd have to think that lifestyle stuff would eventually make some critical organs stop working: like fat and cholesterol and who knows what else goes wrong after 100+ years. And humans are still fragile enough that you'd have to have a fatal accident eventually.

    About the only way I can see "forever" happening is with outside help. Cyborg skeletons with your brain floating around inside? Or if we work out exactly how the brain works and are able to recreate it in a computer? But then is that you living forever, or just some facsimilie... cue existential pondering...

    EDIT 2: VVVVVV Also, Dr @freya said no. Good enough for me.

    Last edited 20/01/15 11:39 am

    I think I'm lucky to be alive as is. Asthma, allergies, bad stomach, high cholesterol, bad immune system, possible diabetes in old age.

    Not to mention the migraines & bad skin.

      Oh & I'm short sighted.

        Should have eaten more dirt as a child.

          Was locked up in hospital...

          Nah, wasn't that bad.

            That sux, i have a friend with crohn's disease and ehlers-danlos syndrome, essentially she has rubber bones and her own immune system is trying to kill her, and i couldn't imagine that... i never get sick :(

      Not to mention the migraines

      A little off topic, but if they're a serious problem find yourself a good doctor and sort it out. I pretty much gave up on finding a solution when I was a teenager because doctors would just shrug and give me some Panadol, but a little over a year ago I finally found a doctor who took it seriously. She put me on Amitriptyline and it's pretty freakin' awesome. I went from having migraines so frequently I actually forgot what not having them was like to just a few headaches a month. There are side effects it's worth investigating (the only one that stuck for me is dry mouth, which is murder on my breath but manageable). I guess technically speaking I'm a drug addict which isn't ideal. =P

        I get them around weather change & presume it's caused by air pressure &/or temperature change from mmyblocked sinus.

        Will be seeing a specialist about my allergies which if removed, I hope, will remove the migraines.

        I don't get especially bad ones. Just intense headache, mild stomach ache & can't handle bright lights

        I hear horror stories about migraines that are way worse than mine.

        Some neurofen + & sleep in a dark room and I'm good to go the next day 90% of the time.

          Aspro clear works really well for me. I get visual disturbances first and if I take like 4 aspro clear immediately I can pretty much avoid the headache part. If you haven't tried it, might be worth a test.

    Heads in a jar won't be a thing until 2999, according to the historical documentary Futurama.

    I say we just have to make do with hoverboard and Jaws 19 before accepting our fate and dying at the ripe old age of old enough.

      I always wondered about that, they have current and past celebs/ politicians heads in jars. Were they frozen whole until head jar technology was perfected then thawed out and beheaded.

        Cloned from DNA samples.

    On one hand: Yes, I think human beings have the potential to have longer life spans, especially in reference to new technological advancements for curing diseases and ailments and understanding the body and how it works/how we can get more out of it.

    On the other hand: It's so hard to say that we will live longer and be healthier when conditions like obesity are climbing salarmingly due to bad diet/lifestyle/habits/genes and along with that there are many other conditions/diseases that are keeping the human race from living up to it's full potential.

    Joe Hockey seems to think we'll live to 150. Or at least that's his excuse for cutting Medicare refunds.

      I don't know why even that could be an excuse to cut medicare. Under the Joe Hockey school of economics, the prudent thing to do would be raise the retirement age to 145.

        Only 145? If they're living to 150 they should work until they're 160!

          It'll take that long to work off our privatised HELP debts, at least the privileged handful who are still allowed to obtain a higher education.

    Yeah, I can see medical tech advancing to the point that people are kept alive for a longer period, but not forever and certainly not hundreds of years. Anything outside that would have to involve uploading consciousness into a machine or something and that gets into some really weird philosophical territory.

    Also, while medical science has improved a lot, we're also not doing ourselves any favors with the terrible diets and lack of exercise in the western world leading to issues like obesity. That'll push us the other direction.

    Besides that, I'm not sure that you'd actually want to live forever.

    What about Interstellar type "forever", where the lifespan includes long periods of hibernation?

      The hibernation in Interstellar didn't stop ageing, though. It just kept you unconscious for however long you wanted.
      The large shift through time they experienced was due to time-dilation caused by special/general relativity [as well as the trip through the black-hole tesseract].

        I know there was age discrepancies between characters because of the time dilation thing, but I don't remember there being anything to say that they didn't stop aging while doing it. Like when they come back to the ship and find Black Guy looking all old and stuff, asking why he didn't hibernate to pass through all the years he was waiting there. And then how young Matt Damon still is when they find him.

          Matt Damon was like 20 something when he set out, so he aged the 30 years. The black guy said he didn't want to sleep his life away, so I'm pretty sure the hibernation just made them unconscious and kept them from using the ships oxygen. Great movie

        Hypersleep in the Alien series might be a better example. For memory that was essentially cryogenic freezing.

    If what you are saying is possible, what sort of quality of life do you think you'll experience?

    I would much prefer the current normal lifespan and have quality of life over quantity.

    There are some interesting things going on with anti aging genes etc they are playing with. And Google has that project Canvas too. We'll see.

    I suspect any big breakthroughs will only be for the super rich though.

    Given the increasing amount of people throwing medical science and fact to the wind, refusing to vaccinate and treating everything with waving fairy dust towards sick people...

    Not for a very long time will we see that.

      To be fair, those people are in the minority; people being gulled into bogus cures has happened since time immemorial, but I reckon medical treatments as a whole, and trust of doctors/science/medicine is improving.

      I mean anti-vaccers, etc. are disgusting, but thankfully they don't reflect the majority view.

    Audrey Grey is the man to google if you are seriously interested in this subject. he did a good TED talk a few years back that opened my mind to this being a possibility. There are a few hurdles to overcome, but researchers believe it's a possibility.

    Given that we come up wth just as many ways to harm/kill ourselves as we do to help us live longer, I think we're pretty much going to continue to idle along at our current lifespans for a while. /socioPoliticalCommentary

    I'm with you Mark, I generally say "200 years", only because if you say to people "forever" they get even more confused.

    First off, let's make this clear. I'm talking about stopping the aging process. We're not going to stop accidents happening.

    I've read a bit on this, and as far as I can tell, we still don't have a good idea of what aging is, and what causes it. There's certainly a few credible theories out there.

    From a physics point of view, there's really no reason why this shouldn't happen. Something like 70% of our atoms are replaced every month, 90% every year, and 100% every 5 or 7 years (I can't remember the exact figures, but it's something along those lines). We are constantly being refreshed, only problem is, we're accumulating defects along the way. We "just" have to stop/reverse this degradation, and no reason we can't be 20 forever (or until we're satisfied with the life we've had, and cut our own heads off).

    Our bodies do a damn good job of keeping us going. We're equipped with the tools to bring us from zygote to adult. All we need is a little bit of a push in the right direction to keep the system going in the right direction.

    Last edited 20/01/15 12:22 pm

      From a physics point of view, you make a good point. From a biological point of view, no. All of our DNA gets steadily damaged as we grow older (which is how cancers and general degeneration occur). We have built in mechanisms to try to make up for it but these fail once you get to a certain level of critical errors. I don't think modern technology will be able to repair those errors.

        That's why we have future technology! \o/

          But it'll be modern by the time we start using it.

    TFW kotaku starts getting article conversation ideas based off stupid shit politicans say :(

      TFW you're so out of touch that you need to look up what TFW means :(

        WTF, looked up TFW and still have no idea what you mean.

    While stopping ageing completely will be difficult, slowing it a significant amount shouldn't stretch technology too far, its not there yet but 20-40 years time I am confident it will be.

    The next step after slowing the ageing process is actually resetting, or reversing it. Restoring your/our bodies to a healthier state with DNA repair, organ replacement, rejuvenating our selves to a younger biological age.

    One of the biggest issues with all this though is the space required, and resources required to sustain a large and growing population that is in effect immortal. There will need to be key advancements in other areas of technology apart from just the medical rejuve/age slowing to make it viable in the long term.

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