Immortality and the future of humanity
Reading about the research into the human life span extension is fascinating. One of the researches — Aubrey De Grey from Cambridge University — estimates that in 25 years from now, people will start living 1,000 years and more. By the way, De Grey is also an international adjunct professor of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, where yours truly also got his Master’s degree in physics and dreamed to change the life of humanity for better.
Immortality naturally brings up a concern about increasing overpopulation. But the extended life span might actually slow population growth. Families in developed countries tend to have fewer children. The tendency seems to go in the same direction with mortality: the lower the mortality, the lower the birth rate. So, the elimination of mortality may bring birthrate to the full stop. In support of this thesis, note that our children are, in part, our way to fight our sense of our own mortality — by leaving our footprint in the future generations.
Besides, there is plenty of room for making the existing food and energy sources more efficient and better utilized. New sources can be found too. Especially since the longer living researches will have a better chance to bring their scientific quest to fruition. And, also, let us think about the human ability to accumulate knowledge and pass them on to the new generation. Every new person today goes through their own life experience, making similar mistakes and eventually appreciating the wisdom that had been given to them (but not understood well enough) in childhood. It feels like taking two steps down, then three steps up, then two steps down again and so on. The decrease in mortality will allow eliminating the offset with every new generation, and human progress in knowledge and application will accelerate even stronger. Just imagine Einstein still living now and how much more he could contribute to physics since his death in 1955. By the way, he had unusually well-connected brains.
There is one “soft” problem though that might ruin everything if not addressed early. I am talking about the inequality of access to an extended life span. Today, death makes all of us equal, and those less provided materially can confidently state that wealthy 1% are vain, because no amount of money can buy them eternal life. But the growing inequality may bring up social tension to a destructive level. How much would you be willing to risk on the way to eternal life? My only hope is that pretty soon this treatment will become cheap enough (as it was happening so far with other technologies) to become accessible to the great majority.
So, here is the possible picture of the future:
- no mortality, the life of the individual remains highly productive and even more so with the age;
- more effective utilization of the existing resources decreases the need for food production expansion;
- no birth of new humans as we know it today;
- instead, integrated cooperation between individuals (hooking directly into each other mind) creates a new kind of humanity — the one that unites the immortal mind with its tremendous potential on the scale of the universe scale (should we call this new formation God?).
I can imagine how we — thinking together — produce ideas that play the role of our children — the realization of our dreams and internal struggle. They grow and realize the goals that used to be our dreams.