Oh, great! Another report on how science is on the brink of delivering human immortality.
If Aubrey de Grey's predictions are right, the first person who will live to see their 150th birthday has already been born. And the first person to live for 1,000 years could be less than 20 years younger.
A biomedical gerontologist and chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research, de Grey reckons that within his own lifetime doctors could have all the tools they need to "cure" aging -- banishing diseases that come with it and extending life indefinitely.
"I'd say we have a 50/50 chance of bringing aging under what I'd call a decisive level of medical control within the next 25 years or so," de Grey said in an interview before delivering a lecture at Britain's Royal Institution academy of science.
So, what's wrong with this picture? Plenty. If we're going to keep your arse around for 150 or even 1,000 years, we're going to have to come up with 150 or 1,000 person-years of resources. Right now the Earth is burdened with providing around 75-80 person-years of resources for you. Then we're going to have to figure out what in hell to do with you for the extra 70 to 900 years?
And suppose you do live to 1,000 years. Who is going to pick up a millenium of pharmaceuticals? And, doubtless, your longevity will become financially competitive and think of the dry cleaning bills you'll wrack up. Supply and demand. You'll need money to stick it out. You're going to have to work your ass off to keep up. Do you really think someone else is going to foot the bill for a century of nursing home care? Then again, do you really want to be in diapers for the last hundred years of your life? Baths twice a week and soggy, cold toast and tapioca pudding three days out of four? And what if the mind refuses to become as immortal as the body? And who is going to kill off all the people you need to displace to languish for a millenium? Someone, no make that a lot of someones, has to die.
And, besides, if you're going to live a millennium, your odds of doing something really, really awful go up exponentially. At some point you're likely to commit some nightmarish crime of passion, probably involving kitchen knives and the 43rd ex-wife, and what does life in prison mean then? And then your kids and grandkids and great-grandkids and all the successive great-great-great-great-great-great - oh well, you know, grandkids will have to live with your disgrace and the family name will be ruined for everybody who, by then, will be in numbers large enough to populate their own province.
No, just because medical science can do it doesn't mean it should be done. We've already got more than enough troubles living within our collective skin.