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Can We Live Forever?

Throughout history, human beings have been trying to prolong their lives for as long as possible. After all, who wouldn’t like to live as long as possible, if not forever. According to Ray Kurzweil, the famed computer scientist, inventor and MIT graduate, immortality might be within our reach. Kurzweil claims that within the next 20 years, human beings might be capable of sustaining life through the use of “millions of blood cell-sized robots” called “nanobots” that would keep us young and healthy forever, traveling through our body repairing any injuries and curing disease.

ImageAlthough Kurzweil’s claims may come off as a bit absurd, research into nanotechnology has already been underway in recent years and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies puts the number of available nanotechnology-based consumer products at over 1,300. In addition, Kurzweil bases his predictions on “carefully constructed scientific models” that have proven accurate in the past, such as the prediction of the development of a worldwide computer network and a computer that could beat a chess champion.

If Kurzweil’s predictions for human immortality do someday come true, what types of implications do you think that would have? How would this effect human society? If you were given the chance chance to live forever would you do it?

Coming Soon: Immortality?

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Alex
    March 21, 2012 at 1:42 am

    It has been a prominent dream throughout fables and stories to live forever. Movies and books have almost made it a complete figment of the imagination because it is so obscure to think that a human can live forever. But according to Kurzweil, it is possible and thinking about the possibilities now it is really exciting. However, living forever can individually be something very appealing but to human society is can be really destructive. In retrospect, we look at living forever as more of an aesthetic concept, when actually it will mainly lead to over population. But what really needs to be realized is that mother nature and the earth’s atmosphere will be strongly affected by over population. We already have problems with over populating, these nanobots will only bring more problems in that department.

  2. March 23, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Your hypothesis hinges on two (although not necessarily unrealistic) assumptions about immortality:

    1. There won’t be enough non-natural deaths to offset the population increase. However, a significant amount of people die due to other causes, not necessarily due to disease. No one proposed that we fix murder, suicide, and other accidents. Of course, these don’t account for the majority of death, and, all other things being equal, your assumption would still be right. However, maybe the population would not continue to increase at the same rate.

    2. People would keep making babies at the same rate they are now. Of course, it would take a dramatic shift in human society all over the place. Every human society recognizes death and, to some extent, relies on it. Society is based on turnover and mortality and rely on gradual and sometimes dramatic transformations due to the death of its members. But what if we fixed that? What if people were sterilized at birth? I’m thinking a Brave New World eugenics sort of thing. Of course, this sort of dramatic transformation would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

    And to the OP, f course I’d live forever if given the chance! I just hope they figure this out before it’s my time…

  3. Tina
    March 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Hi you guys… your friendly librarian chiming in here just to say if this fascinates you (like it does me!), the theory Kurzweil talks about is called Singularity, which is the moment when technology surpasses human ability and the two merge together. Some folks think we’re extremely close to this moment, and others still think we have a ways to go to get there. Lots of disciplines dealing with science will chime in on this idea, from science fiction to nanotechnology.

  4. March 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I agree with Alex- there are numerous problems that go along with immortality, but if I were given a choice, I probably would choose to live forever. The post above made a great point about how the population rate may note continue at a certain rate. I think that death does play an important role in how society continues. Humans living forever would also cause problems for other species of life living on Earth, because as we take up their space they will have no place to go. Another thing to consider is that living forever doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality of life. That may sound completely obvious- but I think that conceptually living forever sounds good, but I can’t say that I will be the way I am health wise forever, and that would ultimately take away from the idea that sounded so charming initially.

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