Reputable science tells us children born today could easily live into their 100's.
Please allow a brief scenario. Were I to experience cognitive issues and if a chip or device was available to correct the malfunction, I'd be in for it. Artificial or transplanted organs are real and medical science is thresholding new realities. Immunotherapy is getting more precise, our manipulation of DNA offers both hopeful and fearful potential. Our influence on life, longevity and denial of death is surging exponentially.
Imagine it is 2040 and for any number of reasons air quality has degraded so as to threaten lung function, so medical science responds with perhaps adapter kits or even newly engineered lungs to accommodate rotten air.
Despite that this current era of the human epic has a sizable percentage of foodies and others who love to eat, what if bio engineering finds a way to produce our "food" without all of the resource drain. We might waste less water and energy by producing a new kind of nutrition product. We learn that our digestive system is less important than it used to be. Our hip and knee replacement become even more amazing with outcomes that turn us into unbreakable people. Hearts, livers, kidneys, vascular systems all morph and change as we humans trend toward what science fiction identified as cyborgs.
On an assignment years ago I sat on cybex machine next to NBA star Len Elmore. He joked that someday athletes would be mechanically enhanced and not have to nurse knee injuries.
Efficiency, durability, algorithmic actuarial analysis, expanded life ranges, medical discovery, scientific adaptability, and a quest for immortality collude and we find ourselves "evolving" in ways the human animal never danced to the Darwinian waltz.
are there dangers on this path
I think we are on that inevitable journey, because if we can, we will. If science and medicine can fix us and slake our fears, we will take that path.
We are slowly ebbing into a new kind of human, already. High Tech billionaires just up the California highway from my quiet village are investing millions in medical research labs to find ways of beating death. Steve Job's illness and death sent a message to the creators of the communications technologies that have changed human behavior, that despite all the wonders of their creations, and all the money they amass, humans still die. Even the rich and famous.
I don't run wildly into the future screaming for death's embrace and I don't know anyone who does. If you were a billionaire with every human comfort you can imagine it is understandable why you would want to hang on to it for as long as possible, maybe even forever. And with a billion or a few, you can spend on targeted research to help you find the new fountain of youth. All of us reap the sewing of those seeds of desire for a more perfect human and longer existence.
choosing the pathSo perhaps more scientifically wise than we have ever been and now augmented by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the golden age of medical research we humans are capable of making decisions that we once described as "playing God." Though I think that was ever so, we have tools now that are more powerful and change inducing than ever.
We are at an interesting juncture in the path of human evolution. And when some of our brightest and most influential set goals of expanding life to new horizons and seriously aspire to immortality, and when we point our technology and inventions to those outcomes, there is something else to put on the agenda.
It's my two cents worth that now is a time to consider what does it mean to be a human? What makes us human? What are the intrinsic characteristics of a human being?
I know of no place where that is registered, certified nor even understood. There has been no reason to do so.
Now, as we can see a future where technology and science can extend and change our lives in historic metrics, should we not consider what that means? How synthetic, or artificial or chipped do we become before we cease to be the creature we have been when flesh and blood were the arbiters of life and humanity. How "human made" do we become before we cease to be human?
If death were to be eliminated or at least deferred for ranges previously unimaginable, and if we did not need our biological bodies, or significant portions of them, how do we change? And how do we know we are changed or changing?
Interesting questions I think. Implications I believe. Millions of we bipeds also owe a measure of our humanity to an understanding that human life also frames a spiritual dimension. How would that be affected?
See you down the trail