Is Immortality Within the Grasp of Human Made Technology?
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You will die if you are a human. This isn’t the most comfortable idea, but dying is the unavoidable cost of living. Humans, on the other hand, are growing better at postponing their “expiry date” like medicine and technology progress. Could we one day become eternal if the human life span continues to increase? The answer is dependent on your definition of what it means to be an immortal. Scientists believe the cosmos will cease to exist, putting an end to the enigma surrounding the possibility of human immortality. As scientific journalist John Horgan documented for Scientific American, some scientists have pondered about surviving the universe’s end, but it’s doubtful that any people alive now would witness the universe’s dissolution.
Hydra is a tiny, jellyfish-like invertebrate that has an unusual approach to aging. According to Live Science, the continuous input of new cells allows hydra to renew themselves and remain eternally youthful. “They don’t seem to age, therefore they may be eternal,” said Daniel Martnez, a biology teacher at Pomona College in Claremont, California, who found the hydra’s lack of aging. Hydra demonstrates that animals do not have to age, but this does not imply that people might duplicate their regenerating behavior. The hydra is tiny and lacks organs, measuring about 0.4 inches (10 millimeters) in length. “It’s impossible because our bodies are so complicated,” Martnez explained.
Humans contain stem cells that can repair and even regrow bodily organs, such as the liver, but unlike the hydra, the human body is not comprised nearly completely of these cells. This is because people require cells to perform more tasks than merely divide and produce new cells. Our red blood cells, for example, carry oxygen throughout the body. “We force cells to commit to a role, and in doing so, they must lose their ability to divide,” Martnez explained. We age in the same way that our cells do. Neurons in the brain, for example, transfer information.
“We don’t want to replace those,” Martnez remarked. “Because if we don’t recall anything, we won’t remember anything.” According to Martnez, Hydra might inspire research that helps people to live healthier lives, such as finding methods for our cells to work better as they age. His gut impression, though, is that humanity would never achieve such biological immortality. Though Martnez does not wish to live forever, he believes humans are already capable of some sort of immortality. “I usually say, ‘I believe we are immortal,'” he explained. “Poets are immortal to me since they are still with us after so many years and continue to affect us. As a result, I believe that people live on via their legacy.”
Small machines like these may travel through the bloodstream and perhaps reverse aging by mending the damage that cells sustain over time. According to the University of Melbourne in Australia, nanotechnology might also treat some ailments, including some forms of cancer, by eliminating malignant cells from the body. Ask the hydra if preventing the human body from aging is enough to obtain immortality. Even though the hydra does not age, the animals do perish.
To secure our long-term existence, we’ll need a more durable vessel than our existing body. Technology may also create a remedy to this conundrum. As technology progresses, futurists predict two watershed moments. The first is a singularity, in which we will create Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) clever enough to reinvent itself, and it will become progressively wiser until it is significantly superior to our intelligence, as previously reported by Live Science. The second milestone will be virtual immortality, which will allow us to scan our brains and transfer us to a non-biological medium, such as a computer.
Moving the human mind outside of the body would be a huge step toward immortality, but there is a catch. Biological improvements compatible with the survival of the human brain would be a better path to extreme longevity while also maintaining the individual. Another, more contentious way would be via brain chips. “There has been much discussion about progressively replacing portions of the brain with chips. As a result, one eventually becomes similar to artificial intelligence” Schneider stated in his case. In other words, gradually transforming into a cyborg and thinking in terms of chips rather than neurons. However, if the human brain is inextricably linked to you, replacing it may result in suicide, she warned.
Regardless of how matter is upgraded or uploaded, the human body appears to have an expiry date. It’s debatable if humans are still human without their bodies. “To me, it’s not even a question of whether you’re technically a human being or not,” Schneider explained. “The real question is if you are the same person. So the question here is, what does it mean to be a conscious being? And when do changes in the brain affect who you are as a conscious being?” — To put it another way, when does it change what we can accomplish with our minds affect who we are? Despite her misgivings, Schneider is thrilled about possible brain and body improvements of the future and enjoys the notion of freeing ourselves of death by old age. “I’d love it,” she responded. “I’d also like to see science and technology heal diseases and make us wiser.” I’d like to see individuals be able to upgrade their brains using chips. “All I want is for them to realize what’s at stake.”
Tajammul Pangarkar is a tech blogger that frequently contributes to numerous industry-specific magazines and forums. Tajammul longstanding experience in the fields of mobile technology and industry research is often reflected in his insightful body of work. His interest lies in understanding tech trends, dissecting mobile applications, and in raising a general awareness of technical know-how. When he’s not ruminating about various happenings in the tech world, he can be usually found indulging in his next favorite interest - table tennis.
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