Since the dawn of time people have been trying to find the Fountain of Youth: discover the secrets of anti aging to look young and stay healthy forever. As a matter of fact, people’s efforts to extend human life and fight aging date as far back as 3500 B.C. Immortality has always had such an enigmatic appeal to people of different nations and nationalities.
Throughout the centuries famous people like Ponce de Leon, Spanish explorer who discovered Florida and was a governor of Puerto Rico, Alexander the Great, a king of Macedon, and many others were looking for the Fountain of Youth that would provide rejuvenation and possibilities for eternal life.
In the 20th century there have been a lot of incredible inventions and discoveries that changed the face of Earth and human life forever. Here are just a few to mention: radio, phone, the automobile, television, nuclear power, personal computer, the Internet, the airplane, rocketry, antibiotics etc.
Now living in the 21st century, the age of the latest technologies, are we getting any closer to discovering the secret of immortality? There have been a few scientific approaches to immortality in the recent years that are quite interesting, promising and shocking at the same time.
Immortality Theory #1: Cybernetic Immortality
This theory has been featured on Discovery News Channel as well as on ABC News and talked about this young Russian billionaire, Dmitry Itskov, whose dream is to achieve cybernetic immortality for humans by 2045.
He teamed up with dozens of scientists who will work on his immortality project and will use especially created avatars to transfer human personality into artificial body.
Together with his team he created a 4 step plan on how to achieve eternal life by 2045.
1. Step 1 will include creating a robotic copy of a human body which can be controlled by a brain-computer interface from 2015 to 2020.
2. During step #2 starting in 2020, a specially designed avatar will be created to transplant a human personality into by the end of the project (2045).
3. From 2030 to 2035 (step #3) the scientists will be working on creating an avatar that will contain an artificial brain.
4. During the last step of this project which will start in 2040 and end in 2045 a hologram-like avatar will have a human brain.
This cybernetic immortality project is based on utilizing cutting-edge technologies in android robotics, nanotechnology and neuroscience for “building a bright future for mankind”.
Not sure if a lot of people would be thrilled by the idea to become a new cyber human being – a walking hologram with brain – that will have much higher survival abilities of withstanding extreme external conditions such as radiation, cold, heat, lack of oxygen, etc.
Only the time will show whether this project will be successful or not, but for now, it sounds like another science fiction movie to me.
Immortality Theory #2: Reprogramming Our Bodies
The 63-year old American scientist by name Ray Kurtzweil truly believes that immortality will be possible in just 20 years from now. His theory is based on the latest discoveries of nanotechnology and better understanding on how the human body works.
By the way, if you are not familiar with the term “nanotechnology”, the easiest definition for it I found on www.nano.gov website. It describes nanotechnology as “science, engineering and technology conducted at the nanoscale”. Just to give you an idea of how small a nanometer is: one nanometer is a billion of a meter (!).
This means that nanotechnology deals with study and application of extremely small things like atoms and molecules in various science fields like chemistry, engineering, physics etc. Nanotechnology is a new way of looking at things and controlling them at an atomic and molecular level.
So, back to Ray Kurzweil who believes that in 20 years we will be able to reprogram our bodies “primitive software” the way that we can reverse aging and with the help of nanotechnology we will be able to live forever. He based his theory on the facts that medical and computer technology have been accelerating at an incredible rate and with the help of nanotechnology it will be possible to replace many of the human vital organs.
Human blood cells will be replaced by nanobots which will work thousand times more effectively. Getting vital organs replaced will be just a minor surgery for humans and having bionic hearts and other organs will give them an opportunity to do things we have never thought would be possible. Holograms will be popping up in our brain whenever we need it to give us all the necessary information.
Remember the movie “Limitless”? How about being able to write a book in 15 minutes or learn a foreign language in one day or run faster than we ever could? Would not that be incredible? Going to Paris for a business trip next week? How about learning French in 1 day?
Ray Kurzweil also suggests that virtual sex will become common practice.
I don’t know though if humankind wants to sign up for all that. What do you think? Are you ready to become a cyborg in an exchange for an eternal life? Or you’d rather lead a healthy lifestyle which includes healthy eating and exercising and extend your longevity that way?
What are your thoughts on immortality?
Image Source: Garrette