Home / Utopia / Extending Human Life to a Point of Becoming Immortals

Extending Human Life to a Point of Becoming Immortals

by | Apr 11, 2022 | Utopia

Imagine a world where 80 is the new 20, where your lifespan is double, even triple of what it is now. A world where your body will never fail you. A world where the concept of “age is just a number” has become a reality. Scientists all over the world are working to get to unlock the secrets to extending our lifespans well into our 100s and beyond.

By definition, immortality means living forever or infinite. Humans have been trying to find a way to prevent death for years. In some cultures, you attain a kind of immortality by doing great deeds that people keep talking about. Others, feature the concept of immortality, where the body may die but some part of you will exist forever. But in reality, humans are still trying to figure out how to beat death.

Up until around the 1800s, the average global life expectancy might have been between 30 and 40. Then around the 1840s, we started to see a dramatic rise in life expectancy. Today the global life expectancy is currently somewhere around 72 years. As fewer people are dying early from disease, conflict, famine and natural disasters.

Life expectancy has increased rapidly in early industrialized nations, while it remained low in the rest of the world. As a result, there was a great deal of inequality in health distribution around the globe. Rich countries had high life expectancies, while poor nations had consistently low ones.

Life expectancy varies based on different demography. It is longer for women, shorter for men, higher in developed countries, and lower in developing nations. And even lower in countries with poor sanitation, diets and access to healthcare. And some countries are doing better, in Japan, women live up to 87 years.

In recent decades, however, inequality in health has decreased significantly and many countries are catching up. This has been achieved largely thanks to the fruits of our advancements in technology, science, economic progress and medicine. And experts think that trend will continue.

Hence, in today’s world, it is much easier to get basic longevity hacks. People don’t smoke and drink like they were doing before. They get more exercise, fresh air and have a good diet. Usually, where life expectancy is high, there is a good environment with healthy air, clean water and good medical care. Hence, this leads to the question, can human beings become immortals?

Though it may sound straight out of a sci-fi movie, futurists believe technology could help make this possible. In fact, some believe we can defeat death. Humans have made great progress in genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and brain interfaces.

Nowadays, when people talk about extending human life beyond, this can fall into two categories, immortalists and health spanners. Health spanners mean becoming a cyborg. Where human ability is enhanced by technological and mechanical elements. And the immortalist is where people want to conquer and cure aging using medical technology.

So scientists are looking to the natural world to sidestep the aging process. In fact, for some species, death rates actually go down with age. Instead of getting sicker and sicker as they get older, these species get healthier and healthier. And as they grow bigger, they get new tissue and restore their health.

For instance, some whales live 200 years and they’re genetically very similar to humans. But we do need to be able to either change our genomes or find medicines and other ways to enhance our systems so that we have the same kind of lifespans as they do.

So to live longer we’d have to slow aging itself and this is what health spanners are aiming for. They imagine a world where 80 is the new 20 and people live to 200 or beyond. To do that, we shall have to reverse or stall the process of cell aging, called senescence. But the problem is we don’t know the whole story of what drives senescence.

Over time, cells lose their ability to replicate and function properly. Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) is a co-enzyme or helper molecule, formed from vitamin B3. All the ways it helps your cells reset and repair themselves. It is a molecule that tells the body when it’s time to fight disease and stay healthy. And without NAD we will be dead in probably 10 seconds.

As we get older, some of our tissues have less and less NAD. By studying how the body makes NAD, scientists believe they might just be able to find a more direct path to a longer life. Scientists are working to understand and reverse engineer the process of senescence at the molecular level. If this works, age could really become just a number. However, this path toward life extension will not get us far.

Some predictions expect life expectancy might go up to 3 months per year. So that means in 4 decades, people will live 10 years longer and in 8 decades, they will live 20 years longer. Research indicates that most young children in countries with high life expectancy will probably live past 100.

If we want immortality, we are going to have to do something more extreme, like merging humans with technology. Some promising areas are genetic manipulation, individualized medicine and nanotechnologies which might eventually let us put lots of small mini-robots into our bodies that would help build bones or kill germs.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

There are three potential paths for embracing transhumanism to living forever:

  • Genetic engineering
  • Living in an android body
  • Living in a virtual world

With the power of technology, we might be able to merge our minds with machines. In the future world, damaged or aging body parts would simply be replaced with more resilient prosthetics and organs could be 3D printed. Some researchers have already demonstrated that it is possible to print functioning organs. And bionic body parts would make people more than just human.

Another possible solution is uploading your mind to the cloud. Hence, your digital brains can be transplanted into humanoid avatars or new 3D printed human bodies. Humans might switch to different humanoid bodies after a certain period which will make death obsolete.

Scientists have made great strides in developing the technology to create a body part that can grow indefinitely. They have developed ways to grow bones and skin, and are now developing methods to grow other parts of the body. They have even developed devices that can grow human organs like the lungs, brain and kidneys.

In a few decades, these innovations will be widely available to the general public. In the end, scientists will be able to make humans immortal. For instance, nutrition, sleep, social life and global access to health care are just the perfect recipe for the ultimate youth. While no science has yet conquered death, it is still possible to make your life memorable by doing something you love or doing something that will last long after you pass away.