Google
 

Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

The curse of immortality

4 November 2019

I'm starting this week with a thought experiment that has significant ethical and moral implications.

Imagine for a moment if we discovered the ability to prevent aging and the effects of disease on the human body.

Imagine if we found away to ensure immortality.

Such a possibility is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Researchers have already identified many of the mechanisms involved in aging and who knows, maybe one day they'll just use technology like CRSPR gene editing to effectively switch-off those aging genes.

How would we, as a species, handle the advent of such technology and the prospect of immortality?

Just imagine the implications

Firstly, if nobody dies then we can't afford to have children because the planet is only capable of sustaining so much human life.

Without procreation, evolution would stop in its tracks and, as a species, we'd no longer be able to adapt to our environment.

Of course you'd have to ask... does evolution an outdated concept, now that we have developed the technology to adapt our environment to suit our needs rather than vice-versa?

If this immortality came at a price, such that only those of affluence could afford it, might this not amount to a form of eugenics based on one's ability to pay? Is that morally or ethically acceptable?

I expect that it would soon become acceptable, given that experience has shown that those with the money usually make the rules.

Might we end up with a two-class society -- those who can afford to be immortal and those who are "expendable" and thus provide a continuously renewed (by way of death and births), workforce to serve the immortal?

However, what if immortality was available to everyone... what would we do then?

Would we be able to successfully enforce a no-breeding policy so as to avoid overloading the planet and its ability to support human life?

Might people be forced to choose between their own immortality and the right to have children? ie: only those who foresake immortality would be entitled to breed and even then, only have one child per mortal parent so as to preserve the balance?

Many people lust for eternal life but when you stand back and look at the decisions that this would force upon us, I think that it is perhaps a good thing that we have not (yet) discovered that fountain of youth.

What do readers think?

How would you answer the questions posed above?

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column


Rank This Aardvark Page

 

Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines

 


Features:

The EZ Battery Reconditioning scam

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam

 

Recent Columns

A pandemic in the making?
Every decade or two the world stands on the edge of a precipice...

A global energy network?
Renewable energy sources have become an important thing in the first half of the 21st century, as we try to wean ourselves off fossil fuels...

Will this fly?
Interesting things are going on down South...

The future of food
Are we about to see some significant changes in the sources and form of the food we eat?...

Hottest year? Not this one
According to the media, the last decade was the hottest on record and it's all down to the evils of climate change...

Predictions for 2020?
At the beginning of each year I try to dust off my crystal ball and see if I can make some prophet-like predictions as to the year ahead in tech...

Time to break out the assembler?
There was an interesting piece on SlashDot this morning in which it was suggested that as computers hit a brick wall performance-wise, we'll need to go back to more efficient programming...

Is Iran more honest than the USA?
Well here we are, the festive season is behind us and it's time to settle back into the daily routine for another year... and what a year it's shaping up to be...

Good morning 2020
The first Aardvark of 2020 and the start of the third decade of the 21st century...

Why online shopping may have peaked
Retail is changing... a lot...

Boxing day sales?
I am so tired...