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Author Topic: What if we lived forever?  (Read 6639 times)

Offline Nizzle

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What if we lived forever?
« on: 03/11/2011 12:48:59 »
Hi,
I'm proposing a thought experiment here:

What would be the consequence if in the future, through a whole series of revolutionary medical breakthroughs, humans would no longer die of old age or diseases but only die in accidents or by murder/suicide?

- Would it become illegal to have children?
- Would crime rates go up or down?
- What would happen to the value of money?
- What would happen to the concept of religions?
...


 

Offline Don_1

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #1 on: 04/11/2011 08:30:57 »
As far as birth control is concerned, I think there would have to be a 'one born, one dies' policy. The waiting list could be very long and some may not get the chance to have children before this happens*.

Crime would likely increase as people decide they have no desire to work forever.

I don't think there would be any difference in the value of money. But I do think the gap between the rich and the poor would widen and the middle bracket would disappear altogether, save for the private armies employed to protect the rich from the poor.

Although the capability to live forever would blow the concept of religion and deities out of the water altogether, I think there would remain a significant religious population. In some ways, the situation could even strengthen religious beliefs as individuals turn to their gods for spiritual help in facing an everlasting life.

*I think that there would be a very significant increase in suicide. Imagine the dilemma; you can live forever, therefore, you must work forever. You have been married to the same person for 200 years. Maybe by this time you can't go on, you need a new partner, you need new family and friends, new surroundings, new stimulus. But to leave your old life behind to seek something new seems like a betrayal. Serious psychological problems result.

Having given us the ability to live forever, there would need to be a voluntary euthanasia policy.

Personally, the thought of everlasting life scares the sh1t out of me.

But, on a positive note, I have thought of great business idea. I would run coaches offering one way trips to Beachy Head.
 

Offline Nizzle

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #2 on: 04/11/2011 10:17:21 »
I'm not sure your conclusions about the value of money and the fact that we have to work forever are correct..

See, the main reason for most people today to work is to earn money that they can then spend on things they need and/or like.
However, at some point you can save up enough money so that you can live off the (compound) interest and you can stop working if you like.

Of course, if everyone would do this, it is almost mandatory that huge advances in AI are to be made or otherwise there would be an acute shortage of employees.

Now, take into account that the brightest minds of mankind will also be able to become +1.000 year old so they can continue contributing to scientific/technological advances, which would increase the likeliness of these breakthroughs in AI...

This process of immortalizing the human body has far more consequences than we could even start to imagine, but I really like to ponder about them :)
 

Offline CliffordK

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #3 on: 05/11/2011 04:23:28 »
If everyone retired early...  there would certainly be a need for much greater automation, but in theory, many menial tasks could be automated.  Would we truly want this?  Would we be happy to be retired for a large portion of our lives with machines doing everything?

Population would be an issue.  If we extended the lifespans of everyone earth by 2 fold, it would likely cause an initial bolus of doubling the global population.  Especially, if we continue to have a limitation that women have to have children before the age of 40.

I certainly don't want to live forever if I can't do anything.  I.E. extreme muscular/corporal degeneration, or mental degradation.
 

Offline Don_1

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #4 on: 05/11/2011 17:30:09 »
The problem with a capital fund to bring in an income for life is that it could not be achieved. After say 50 years, your capital fund might not realise sufficient interest to live on. The question would be, how much capital do you need for an everlasting pension? $1m, $10m, $100m??? And then the question would be, how long would it take for the average paid to amass such a capital fund?

If AI were doing virtually everything for us, what would we do every day for 1000 years? Join the droves of others spending a few years looking around the temple at Karnak or Victoria Falls?

As for intelligence, would our brain be able to store and utilise 1000yrs worth of gathered knowledge? Would it reach a saturation point where there was too much knowledge to sift through? Apart from that, with so much AI doing everything for us, would we actually need to learn more, or would further knowledge be superfluous?

No. I am resigned to my opinion that such a world would be a hell on Earth. I think you'll need to go a very long way to convince me otherwise.

Now, excuse I, where's the cyanide?
 

Offline Karen W.

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #5 on: 06/11/2011 04:02:05 »
I can imagine no pain no hurt but good physical health and the time to go out and do all the wonderful things in the world I always wanted to do... see the world travel.. watch more sunsets see more people smiling and enjoying my life taking time to learn new things everyday and really living for a change.. loving living giving..hee hee hee.. and having pardon me, loads of lovely glorious sex and cuddling,snuggling, huggling, dancing, necking and hand holding with the perfect partner!!! LOL...
« Last Edit: 06/11/2011 04:04:19 by Karen W. »
 

Offline SeanB

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #6 on: 06/11/2011 12:15:10 »
More likely is that the race would be split into the immortal and the ephemeral, as there would be a cost to the treatment.
 

Offline CliffordK

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #7 on: 06/11/2011 21:06:38 »
Medicine will likely slowly increase lifespans, although we still have an aspect of aging that is difficult to get around.  Will there ever be the proverbial fountain of youth?

One technology that we do have is that a community could start "breeding" centenarians. 

Certainly any kind of eugenic breeding program would be controversial.  One might have to incorporate a delay in the system with egg (and possibly sperm) harvesting followed by a waiting period to observe the health issues of the donor, and then later implantation into a different host if deemed viable.

But, within a few generations, one should be able to push the average lifespan of the community up to...     say...  120 years or so.  Perhaps with good "future" medical care and fitness, one could push it up to 150 years or so.  And, hopefully eliminate genetic brain deterioration.  Two lifetimes per person?
 

Offline Karen W.

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #8 on: 06/11/2011 23:15:40 »
You guys are all missing a few parts of the equation...referring to medical care will have pushed back the problem of dying from old sge meaning i think we would no longer age that way nor would we be dying of muscular ar mentaL illnesses or other disease.. He says that would all be of no concern because medical advances will have already removed those other diseases from the equation with the two exceptions...accident by murder suicide accdent or murder..etc.. We would be completely heathy.. I would love it.. Not to experience pain and suffering from current diseases because there won,t be any... I loke that and frankly moving into new learning experiences would be fascinating also..perhaps having better mentalfuntion and learning due to a healthy disease free body....because it t would be healthy in mind and body unless of tbe other accidental or self mutling or murdered options....
 

Offline Gordian Knot

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #9 on: 20/11/2011 16:19:50 »
Putting aside the living forever concept, let's talk about just living longer. Science is making advances in this area already. My perception is that within a few decades, maybe much sooner, extending life and the quality of that life will be a reality. That is the good news.

The bad news is that it will be so expensive that only the super rich will be able to afford it. Your average Joe and Jill will still live just as we do now. Sure there will be advances in medicine that may give us a few more years, and hopefully better life quality. But the added time will be miniscule.

I for-see a future where the gap between the life of the average person and the life of the super rich will continue to spiral apart geometrically. It will, of course, be in the interests of those at the top to keep this technology as expensive as possible. If only one or two percent of the population can live extended life spans, and the rest of us live as we do now, all the big problems of a population explosion would not occur.

That may seem like a downer attitude. I am extrapolating from my experiences in other areas of life, though. The very rich already lead a life so completely alien to the average person's life experience, and this will only grow more extreme if extending their lives becomes a reality.
 

Offline Don_1

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #10 on: 20/11/2011 16:38:17 »
Very good points Gordian Knot and ones which I suspect would certainly come to pass.
 

Offline Geezer

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #11 on: 20/11/2011 20:56:11 »
The very rich already lead a life so completely alien to the average person's life experience,

Not necessarily. Warren Buffet is a good example. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Buffett
 

Offline Gordian Knot

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #12 on: 20/11/2011 22:55:11 »
True Geezer. He IS the exception! Okay, probably not the only exception. One of a very, very small few though.
 

Offline Nizzle

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What if we lived forever?
« Reply #13 on: 30/11/2011 14:07:54 »
Immortality could also take shape in a very different way than what we generally think of and maybe within reach for our children already.
If mankind would be able to somehow translate our brain functions to machine language, and "upload a brain", it may be possible to live forever in some kind of virtual world (be sure to make a backup though ;))
This would avoid the population explosion problem..

See here for some interesting reading: Mind uploading
« Last Edit: 30/11/2011 14:16:28 by Nizzle »
 

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What if we lived forever?
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