Radical life extension: living a 1,000 year lifespan

| May 14, 2013 | 0 Comments

Anti-aging guru Aubrey de Grey’s prediction that the first person to live 1,000-years has already been born got me thinking. What might life be like in this long-range future? Will boredom set in as we count the centuries; or will what promises to be an incredible technology-rich life keep the excitement alive?


Of course, no one can predict with certainty how events will unfold over a millennium, but if we consider expected technology advances; and then blend in a few positive possibilities, an amazing future appears.

Over the next two decades, stem cells, genetic engineering, and 3-D bioprinting promise to cure or make manageable most diseases. By early 2030s, Nanomedicine author Robert Freitas sees nanorobots cruising through veins to maintain correct DNA status in every cell and halt the dreaded scourge of aging.

This future is not surprising considering the current speed of healthcare innovations. It seems just about every week, we hear researchers make fresh discoveries, or begin clinical trials for a new therapy; and as we travel the decades and centuries ahead, breakthroughs will occur at even faster rates than today.

Although these technologies will eliminate disease and aging, they cannot protect us from accidents and violence. To prevent all unwanted deaths, forward-thinkers believe we need to first replace much of our biology with non-biological ‘immortal’ tissues; and then develop an innovative brain-transfer system.



This brings us to three research efforts. The Blue Brain Project, where scientists seek to simulate the brain in a machine by reverse-engineering the human brain; the U.S. government’s Brain Activity Map, where researchers strive to demystify how neurons direct thoughts and physical actions; and Intel’s Human Brain Project where scientists plan to transmit thoughts direct from brain to machine.

Positive futurists believe that these projects could one day lead to allowing a mind, consciousness, memories; everything that describes one’s humanness, to be transferred to a new body should disaster strike the old one. This achievement would render death no more disruptive than a brief mental lapse.

How might humanity advance after being freed from the Grim Reaper’s grasp? Astronomer Nikolai Kardashev devised the following ratings and capabilities for future civilizations based on energy use.

  Type I captures all of the solar energy that strikes their planet. This would increase today’s Earth energy supply by 100 billion. Advances in molecular nanotech and development of warp-drive propulsion, triggers a rush to space for Type I’s, which promotes cooperation between nations, creating a peaceful global society more intent on exploring the cosmos than quarreling over cultural conflicts.

Type II. Exponentially-advancing technologies could help Earth achieve this level over the next two hundred years. Circling the Sun with a Dyson Sphere, Type II’s can mine all the energy in their solar system, increasing power 100 billion-fold again. This powerful civilization builds colonies throughout their neighborhood, and on planets orbiting nearby stars. This video describes the immenseness of their turf.

Type III. Energy supply increases another 100-billion-fold. In his book, Parallel Worlds, Michio Kaku says Type III’s derive power from multiple stars and have learned to control unstable time and space. They traverse wormholes to reach vast distances in space instantly; and after resolving paradox issues where time traveler’s actions cause changes in the present, they can launch backward time travel trips without fears of disruption. Type III’s are a dominant galactic force, ready to explore the cosmos.

So, where is today’s Earth in this rating system? Physicists place us at Type 0.7, but with technology advances, forward thinkers predict we could reach Type I by 2100, Type II by 2200 and Type III by 3000.

Looking into this distant future, humans will enjoy Star Trek Holodeck-type virtual reality entertainment escapades, and can change physical appearance using only thought-command. Imagine, wishing for a radically different look; why not experience life as a member of the opposite sex; or maybe add wings so you could fly; or surround yourself with an invisibility cloak. The possibilities are endless.

Will this future occur as we trek ahead? Although it took 2-million years for us to abandon the forest and build a society, it may take only a few decades to leave our planet and begin this breathtaking adventure.


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