Friday, December 23, 2005

The "Live Forever" crowd

Ah the "Live Forever" crowd. I have never understood the obsession with extending life. It is one thing to beat disease and illness. It is another to want to reverse or slow down aging to an extent that we live for a couple of hundred years. I strongly believe that those technologists that spend a large portion of their thought process on this subject would be doing society a service by channeling their thoughts elsewhere. I know many of them already do that, but I would spend a lot more time thinking about energy, healthcare, communication and the means of building a world which does not have to worry about making ends meet. There are aspects of anti-aging that fall within the above topics, which are very relevant.

What confuses me is how absolutely brilliant people like Ray Kurzweil, for whom I have a lot of respect, focus on the regenerative aspects and medicine. Question becomes: Do we want to alter our natural aging process, or do we want to live healthy, disease free lives. Longevity will be a natural offshoot of the latter, but IMHO, that's where our focus should be. Science and technology are meant to be leveraged to improve how we live and what we know. Lets use them responsibly and for the right reasons ("right" being VERY subjective)

Further Reading
The Impact of Emerging Technologies: Fictional Science
I am going to live forever
Immortality

Beyond Human





2 Comments:

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous harijay said...

It is very difficult to delineate "living forever" from living a healthy life. Maybe the lawyers can define for us what "health" really is. Anti-ageing research today almost entirely concentrates on mitigating the effects of ageing. As you rightly state this has the side effect of increasing longevity. But I hope that considering our knowledge of the molecular basis of life we no longer naively pursue such myths as the fountain of youth in its new molecular avataar.
But the fact of the matter is that infectious disease research does take a back-seat to other "first world" research topics like alzheimers and parkinsons. I would not be surprised that more money gets spent in researching that new face cream which reduces wrinkles ( those dreaded cosmeceuticals) than on, say malaria and tuberculosis. In this context it is notable that foundations such as the Bill and Melindah gates oundation and organizations such as nature magazine have made it a point to thrust infectious disease research to into the spotlight and make sure it stays there.

 
At 11:51 AM, Blogger Deepak Singh said...

I agree it is tough to separate the too. I think its the spirit as opposed to the end-result that I worry about. I agree that if we stick to the science and understanding and fixing disease, the life issues will take care of themselves.

Don't even let me get started on the other issue. At least alzheimers and parkinson's are diseases that have a significant impact on life. If half the money spent on what I call "lifestyle" drugs (Viagra, Cialis, Lipitor) was spent on Malaria and TB, the world would be a much better place.

 

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