Essays on Infinite Lifespans
elimination of aging and disease and ensuring that cryonics
can work. If these problems can be solved, we will have hun-
dreds or thousands of years to think about other threats to
our existence. If they cannot, other problems are irrelevant.
If I am alive in a youthful condition 200 years from now,
then the most awesome problems of mortality will have been
solved and the chances of finding ways to ensure survival for
another 800 years will be trivial in comparison.
There is little to be gained by worrying about circumstances
beyond 1,000 years. We cannot now comprehend the con-
ditions of life and survival a thousand years in the future
anyway, so it is a waste of effort to try. The most immediate
survival goals are to either live long enough to benefit from
tangible reversals of aging through technology or to see revers-
ible suspended animation of the brain. That could happen in
anything from 10 to 50 years.
For those who survive the next 50 years, during which the
elimination of aging is bound to occur (in my opinion), the
next challenge will be to survive death-by-accident and to
learn to live safely. Close behind that danger will be death-
by-murder, because the progress of science will always include
the power for people to annihilate other people by increas-
ingly sophisticated means. Following that problem will be
self-annihilation through transformation. As people augment
themselves with smart drugs, biological add-ons, compu-
tational and communications hardware, migration to other
platforms, etc, they may easily lose their self in the process.
Although it is true that the longer we live, the more adept
we become at surviving, it is also true that we only need to be
a victim of murder or a fatal accident once to be obliterated
forever. However small we can make the probability, with
enough time a fatal event is inevitable.
Is there anything to be gained by attempting now to take on
the problems of survival beyond a millennium? Dont we have