1a. Immortality, are we there yet? | Human Technology Interactions

The notion of living eternally has always been perceived as futuristic, although, science and technology have essentially decoded living significantly longer than expected. We are now capable of altering embryos, removing genes of diseases present in the nucleus and assimilating beneficial genes. We have reached the bionic era, product innovation and medical discoveries for human enhancement.

Maria Konovalenko, a transhumanist scientist, argued that science today knows how to eliminate ageing and prevent age-related diseases from happening, thus prolonging a healthy life. She relates her argument to life-extending drugs used by animals, that through research, and if generously funded, we could potentially modify these medicines for humans (Crosstalks 2015, 26:10).

Transhumanism is progressing each day towards being socially acknowledged just like how women’s rights, labor rights, prison reform, land distribution, democracy, gay rights took time to be accepted (Pellissier 2015). Even Google Venture’s president and managing partner, Bill Maris, believes that humans can live to be 500 years old. This year, 2015, Maris is looking to invest in companies that help people live a healthier and longer lives through technological innovation (Maris 2015). Transhumanism is indeed inevitable and perhaps living longer will be an individual choice in the future. It is arguably a great transition in moral and ecological terms, with indistinct possibility of barbarization or a new sustainable paradigm.

An immediate reaction to the notion of living longer is overpopulation, where we are faced with a moral dilemma to consider planetary boundaries. Karim Jebari, Ph. D in analytic philosophy, argues that the drastic increase in population will put a severe stress on the ecosystem of our planet. (Crosstalks 2015, 35:50). The ecological feasibility of transhumanism is overshadowed with optimism, living significantly longer might propose endless advantages but the consequences of our actions towards this propaganda will be real. It is an existing fact that this month we have already reached our biocapacity meaning the total combined consumption of all human activity on Earth in a year overtakes the planet’s ability to generate those resources for that year (Bullard 2015).

In contrary, Zoltan Iztvan, philosopher and transhumanist, believes that in the future people who have longer life span will be wealthier therefore will have better health that will then result to decrease in population (Crosstalks 2015, 39:50). Speculating on Iztvan’s ideology, we could adhere that perhaps prolonging life span in the future through human enhancing technologies will enable us to have a quality life, where having children will be an educated and financially driven choice. Once again, optimism of transhumanism is overshadowing the reality we face today. The concept is far ahead in the future with insufficient consideration for the wide population of developing countries. These human enhancement technologies have a long journey ahead on being accessible to the poor, that if not caught in a conventional world where markets compete via making product “better” which then means twice as long journey for these technologies to reach people who are most in need.

References

Crosstalks 2015, The delimma of human enhancements, video recording, Crosstalks, viewed 26 August 2015, http://talks.crosstalks.tv/the-dilemma-of-human-enhancement-2 .

Pellissier, H 2015, Transhumanism will be a Victorious Revolution (my modest predictions), weblog, IEET, viewed 27 August 2015, http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/pellissier20150825 .

Brooker, K 2015, Google Ventures and the Search for Immortality, weblog, Bloomberg, viewed 27 August 2015, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-09/google-ventures-bill-maris-investing-in-idea-of-living-to-500 .

Bullard, G 2015, We’ve Consumed More Than the Earth Can Produce This Year, weblog, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, viewed 27 August 2015, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/150813-earth-overshoot-day-earlier/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_fb20150813news-overshoot&utm_campaign=Content&sf11927768=1 .

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One comment

  1. I would be very curious to find out what the world would look like if everyone could extend their lives by a few hundred years. Of course there will be the problem of overpopulation, but there are many moral issues associated too. Would this transhumanist society be only achieveable by the upperclass elitist or is it something that eventually everyone would be able to utilise the technology. You have proposed some good arguments!

    Liked by 1 person

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