I just read an article on Bloomberg News, and this quote, from the lede, jumped out: “If you ask me today, is it possible to live to be 500? The answer is yes.”
The speaker is one Bill Maris, who is the president and managing partner of Google Ventures. He is apparently ready to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in companies that are working on ways to “slow aging, reverse disease and extend life.” The idea, apparently serious, is that he wants to find ways to make human beings practically immortal. He says, ” “I just hope to live long enough not to die.” If you want to read the whole article, it’s here.
But my question is “why?” Not long ago I was listening to a radio interview during which the concept of human immortality came up, and both the interviewer and the interviewee were quite enthusiastic about the idea of never dying. But, again, why?
Isn’t 70 or 80 or 90 years enough? If you live to be 500, when do you retire? At 300? And what about all those old — really old — people who keep their jobs for hundreds of years? Where would be the opportunities for people just entering the job market? And if you retire at 300, and have been working in the public sector and have a fat pension… you think that’s breaking the backs of local and state governments now? Just wait.
But I think I’d just get tired of it all. There are days now when I’m actually not all that enthusiastic about pushing ahead to 61. As I see it, only the very rich would be able to afford immorality. So we’d have a world in which some people would die at the normal human age: 80, 85. And those who had achieved and paid for immortality would would be an omnipresent, threatening overclass. And why would someone who has toiled all his or her life for very little want to be immortal?
Frankly, living 500 years sounds to me like hell on earth. How about you? Do you want to live forever?