Eternal health and youth will soon be possible, scientists say
By Dick Pelletier
Anti-aging activist Aubrey de Grey has identified medical advances that will
eliminate much of the wear and tear our bodies suffer, as we grow old. Those who
undergo continuous repair treatments, de Grey said in a
Futurist Magazine article
; could remain healthy for millennia without fears
of dying from old age.
A growing number of researchers around the world support the belief that eternal
health and youth can be realized. Aging is a destructive biochemical event,
experts say, and scientists are on the brink of developing interventions for all
of its life-destroying processes.
"Over 100,000 people die every day from age-related diseases,"
; "but research ventures, some which are in beginning stages today,
promise to one day end this carnage."
Most forward-thinking scientists believe the goal to end aging is technologically
achievable, and it could be reached in time to benefit many people alive today.
"I am working on immortality," says UC Irvine's
Michael Rose, who has
achieved breakthrough results extending the lives of fruit flies.
"There are many components of aging and we are chipping away at all of them,"
added Robert Freitas at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing
the future," Freitas claims, "aging will be cured."
Author Ray Kurzweil, in
Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever
, confirmed that we
are in early stages of an anti-aging revolution. "By 2020," he says, "biotech
upgrades will add more than one year of life expectancy to our lives each year."
However, not everyone agrees that curing aging is a good thing. Bioethicist
believes that "There is no known social good coming from the
conquest of death." But if this is true, advocates argue, why do humans strive
so hard to prolong their lives?
Critics also claim that ending death will cause population increases that our
planet cannot sustain. But supporters reason that as technologies advance, new
solutions will emerge. For example, as space travel becomes affordable with
people opting to live offworld, and
nanotech-enabled resource management
matures, most of our concerns about
overpopulation will disappear.
Over the coming decades, predicted healthcare breakthroughs will continue to
wield huge benefits for humankind. Between now and 2030, stem cell therapies and
genetic engineering procedures are expected to cure most of today's diseases; or
at least make them more manageable.
By 2035-to-2040, advances in molecular nanotech and an explosion in artificial
intelligence hold great promise to unravel the mysteries of consciousness, while
increasing intelligence a billion-fold. Experts predict this will enable
replacement of much of our biology with more durable non-biological tissues.
In one of his more widely-read books,
The Singularity is Near
, Kurzweil writes; "One day, people will reshape
their physical, emotional and cognitive characteristics as they see fit." This
could make future humans – circa 2050-2100 – as different from us today, as we
are to our cave-dweller ancestors.
Looking into this distant future, we will enjoy bodies that can change physical
appearance on command. With intelligence multiplied billions of times,
tomorrow's humans will be able to
using only voice or thoughts. Imagine, wishing for a radically
different body; maybe add wings so you could fly, surround yourself with an
invisibility cloak, or appear as the opposite sex. The possibilities seem
As we scatter our populations to faraway colonies in the centuries ahead, we will
run across many intelligent alien lifeforms. Some may seem strange, but we share
common traits. All life is made of similar atoms and governed by the same laws
of physics. If our new friends have eyes and clear skies, they will gaze at the
same stars and galaxies we do, and we can all trace our origins back to the same
Anti-aging therapies promise to return many of today's older citizens to a more
youthful form. The smart sexy strong years, once thought long lost for seniors,
is about to be reclaimed as humanity evolves into this most exciting "ageless"
era. Will the future unfold in this upbeat way? Positive futurists believe it
This article appeared in various print publications and
on-line blogs. Comments always welcome.