Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Live long and...?

There's a doctor in France - ‪Laurent Alexandre - who says people are going to live 1,000 years, starting in a few decades. He says this is wonderful. Is it?

Physically, everyone treated for aging should be better. I'm assuming that if people live 1,000 years, they'll somehow be rejuvenated. Otherwise, what would be the point, if they were confined to a wheelchair, hooked to various artificial life supporting machines, unable to run, swim or play.

Just because someone is healthy and able to play tennis again doesn't mean he or she will be fit for the new world - unless they're readjusted somehow.

Today's elderly, at least the people we've talked to, live in a world completely different than what they knew. Nothing makes much sense. Everyone in their families have moved on, leaving them to cope with life on their own. How do you understand all the facets of today's immersive technology where it seems everyone is constantly linked to their friends, where everyone has a movie studio in their pocket, where nothing ever stands still. Does anyone stop to smell the roses? 

The future is scary, and getting scarier. That golden age with flying cars and floating cities looks less and less likely. The economy is broken, with no solution in sight. The weather is crazy, cities go underwater during storms, terrorists lurk everywhere, rogue states will have nuclear missiles and there's certainly more bad stuff that nobody's even thought of yet.

Where will their oxygen to breathe come from when we've cut down all the forests and polluted all the seas? Will they extract it from asteroids and drop it in the atmosphere?

What about the food?

Who is going to feed all those people? If the birth rate is above zero and everyone lives 1,000 years, this planet is going to get very crowded. Even if they're shipped to the Moon and Mars, they'll still need sustenance.

What will they eat? Synthesized food made using some form of energy and raw materials mined from the Earth? Not a pleasant prospect for chefs, imagining a recipe that would read, "take 1400 grams of protein red No. 437, sauté with 30g of Onionizer, 15 g of Garlifier in Type A65 oil..."

Will everyone live underground, leaving the surface of the planet for crops and carbon dioxide absorbing forests?

Imagine how many CAFOs it would take to feed 30 billion people... not pleasant. Maybe we'll be vegetarians by necessity.

Earth, not as we know it

Imagine living in this world. Everyone will probably have some kind of implant that makes them into walking smart phones. Our national parks will be little bits of green surrounded by human hives. Parts of the planet will probably be radioactive from dirty bombs and nukes. The weather will be chaotic, everything and everyone will be in constant rapid motion. People will be able to choose from thousands of different TV stations, but nothing on any of them will be worth watching. Commercials and corporate control of everyone's lives will make stepping outside of one's dwelling like a star surrounded by paparazzi. Privacy will be but a vague concept from the past; everything will be known, tracked, indexed and instantly knowable to all.

I suppose that if this rejuvenation technology works, the formerly elderly will gather together in retro-communities. They'll create something that looks familiar to them where they can live comfortably and adjust their interaction with the outside world to suit their needs. Some may cyborg themselves to run off and join the rest of the species. Many might choose to euthanize themselves, considering that they've seen enough change and don't see any point to seeing more.

What do you say to your great, great, great, great, great, great... grandchildren?

A thousand years of this? Really? What was that guy smoking?

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