Inevitability of old age can be another biological theory which scientific achievements in the future might ‘retire’, because some scientists believe that longevity can change in our advantage.
Although there are numerous theoretical ideas and initiatives for avoiding death, many of the strategies developing today can be put in one of these two categories: biomedical and technological.
In order to win the biological war against death, we have to understand the ‘enemy’. Aging is a process that starts at a cellular level – as our cells are multiplying, their DNA and functionality slowly deteriorates, making them vulnerable and damaged. For many years, scientist hoped that the telomeres could be the key to stop aging, but this ‘lids’ that protect our DNA turn out to be far more complex that previously assumed.
When biologists discovered that our telomeres are ‘wearing out’ as we are getting older, they theorized that increasing the length of this strands of protective DNA could also increase the length of our lives – maybe even trough eternity. But, later it was proven that that is wrong, and that the telomeres that are too long can cause cancer.
At the same time, the gene editing technology have advanced extremely – revolutionary processes as CRISPR/Cas9 gave scientists possibility to target genes in living mammal cells, that even managed to save a little girl from cancer.
Genetical engineering is one of many medical achievements which is used to extend our life span. However, some scientists are looking at the human body only as a kind of ‘vessel’ for the mind that shouldn’t be fixed, but replaced.
Technology is completely integrated in modern life, and in the process becoming extension of it’s users. We could design servers, even mechanical bodies, that will last lot longer than our biological bodies – that brought the idea of preserving the human kind through potential merge of man and machine.
According to Elon Mask, in near future he could create a ‘nerve chip’, device that would improve and grow together with our brain. And since the computers would be in constant interaction with our brains, there would be a chance that they could store our minds, which would create a sort of immortality – if we could manage to transfer our ‘back up’ to a robotic body or a computer.
Visionaries like Elon and companies that want to achieve human immortality, are making us rethink our own mortality: how would life look without death? What is the price we are willing to pay for another 100 or 1000 years of life? And in that case, what would be the meaning of being ‘human’ if the human body don’t really exist as such, just our mind ‘uploaded’ in a machine?