The curse of immortality (4 Nov, 2019)

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The curse of immortality (4 Nov, 2019)

Postby aardvark_admin » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:14 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2019/1104.shtml

Sooner or later we are probably going to develop technology that will halt the aging process.

Are we ready for the moral and ethical dillemas that immortality may bring?

How would you deal with the issues raised in today's column, should immortality become a practical option?
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Re: The curse of immortality (4 Nov, 2019)

Postby cjet » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:47 am

580 million years of sex delivers multicellular life.
And in one iteration you want to stop that
perry made a point on Jenny Shattock being like all other Mayors in New Zealand. Well that being said we are in a progress of ever advancing civilisation.
I have 20 years left to live three score and ten
I am 15 years over my DNA design limit according to Professor Wilkinson from Waikato University in advanced genetics
So when I am 17.5 years away from 35 years and 70 years I shall have a oarty
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Re: The curse of immortality (4 Nov, 2019)

Postby pid@ifm.net.nz » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:02 am

This might be the one thing that will make space travel for humans to our near by star systems possible. Apart from that, I'm not keen on the idea.
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Re: The curse of immortality (4 Nov, 2019)

Postby Kiwiiano » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:52 am

A big problems would arise with The Immortals: compound interest would eventually see them vastly, impossibly wealthy, remembering that they were probably wealthy already. What do they spend their money on, or will they just have to give it away?

How long before boredom sets in? Can the ‘blessing’ of immortality be turned off? Or do you just indulge in increasingly hazardous activities until there’s a ‘whoops’! Or, like Bowerick Wowbagger who became immortal due to an accident with "an irrational particle accelerator, a liquid lunch, and a pair of rubber bands", an event which no-one has been able to replicate without ending up looking rather silly or dead (or both). He eventually go so bored (Sunday afternoons were a particular trial) he decided to insult everyone in the Universe (and this is where he gritted his teeth) in alphabetical order.
~ Kiwiiano
“I'm right 98% of the time, so who gives a damn about the other 3%?"
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Re: The curse of immortality (4 Nov, 2019)

Postby GSVNoFixedAbode » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:59 am

A number of the SF novels around this idea posit one mechanism: to get immortality 'treatment' (every hundred years or so), the cost is ALL your wealth - no Trust funds, no hidden coin, nothing: if discovered then banned from any further treatments. It still creates a wealthy elite, but not at such a fast rate. Makes for an interesting thought exercise.
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Re: The curse of immortality (4 Nov, 2019)

Postby SeeNoEvil » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:21 am

The variation that I've thought about previously is that science finds a way to keep our bodies in tip top condition indefinitely. For the sake of the argument let's say a way is found to stop the ageing process at whatever age you consider to be your "prime".

So, life goes on for a while and all is great... at least initially. But what happens after, say, 500 years, especially with respect to your mind and memories?

I suspect that even though our brain is still in excellent physical condition at that point there would be very serious issues with capacity to remember and organise information, and/or retain information from hundreds of years earlier, and probably some kind of nasty mental health issues as a result. What would it be like to not remember any of your first 400 years of life apart from a few basic facts?

Related to this - there has to be some kind of upper limit on how much information a healthy and normal sized human brain can store. I posted a question along these lines years ago on some other forums, asking when people thought their brain had reached the state of being "full" and was thereafter needing (in some sense) to discard older or less used memories in favour of retaining newer stuff. My thoughts at that time were along the lines that evolution had probably equipped us with a brain big enough to work reasonably well up to 20 or 30 years of age but that there wouldn't have been much pressure for anything more.

Now, where did I leave my keys and specs...?!
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Re: The curse of immortality (4 Nov, 2019)

Postby hagfish » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:26 am

You suggest we have transcended evolution, but all we have really done is nerf the selective pressures. Random mutation is continuing just as always, so we are seeing an explosion of different kinds of human, all radiating out and mixing things up. Of course, most of the random mutations aren't especially helpful - the deleterious state of our eyes, teeth, livers, and emotional/cognitive systems all bear testimony to that. But some possible advantages are springing up, too. Rural areas are seeing a Dead Sea Effect, whereby those who can leave; do (have!). Those who remain don their MAGA hats and have children with one another.

We can only keep kicking the eugenics can down the road for so long. Hopefully a while longer - it's a horrendous thing to have to face up to - I think it eclipses climate change, microplastics and even soil loss, as the number one threat we face. It takes aaages to evolve these structures, but they can be lost within relatively few generations, and once they're gone...

As for a 'two tier' society; that's already in place. Most of us spend our daylight hours keeping a small number of people in luxury. Some of us question it, but not too closely. Our blind, toothless progeny will scurry about looking after the Immortals, just as we do today.
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Re: The curse of immortality (4 Nov, 2019)

Postby Necrotic Kingdom » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:28 pm

John Wydom (of triffids fame) addressed those questions in his book "The Trouble with Lichen" (the active ingredient was discovered in a species of lichen, terrible title for a fascinating book.) Tl;dr the govt destroyed all the samples of lichen as the problems outweighed the benefits
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Re: The curse of immortality (4 Nov, 2019)

Postby paulw » Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:42 pm

I'm holding out for the you clone body that I can download my brain into when I get too old or have a fatal disease.
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Re: The curse of immortality (4 Nov, 2019)

Postby phill » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:56 pm

it will happen
i have maintained for over 30 years that we are amongst the last generations that need to die ( sayin it dont make it true though )


you will not know the date that immortality first becomes feasible .. unless you have been tapped on the shoulder ... it could be anything up to many decades before it becomes common knowledge ... for obvious reasons

its unlikely short of clone tanks and programmable memories that immortality in its truest form will exist
ducking under a falling 10 ton block of concrete will always have some negative consequences

so there will always be a practical need for a slow but usable genetic replacement ability ( breeding for profit not fun )

we know the best supportable population for the planet ( yehh its shitloads lower than the present level of human overbreeding )
we know what we deserve as a species .. the pinnacle of evolution so far on this planet
we are capable of living in harmony with what we have

its just the accepting and doing thats taking the time
made hugely more difficult by the believers in giant magic fairies and suchlike
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )

i might live and eat in a sewer .. but hey look how many of these shiny things i have got
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