Scientist sees aging cured, but who wants to live forever?

Photo of centenarian Muriel Duckworth, from Wikipedia

Photo of Muriel Duckworth, from Wikipedia

According to this REUTERS article by Kate Kelland, “the first person who will live to see their 150th birthday has already been born. And the first person to live for 1,000 years could be less than 20 years younger.”

The story describes predictions of biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey, who does longevity research and believes we stand a 50% chance of being able to extend life indefinitely with routine “maintenance” that includes stem cell and gene therapies, stimulation of the immune system, and other medical techniques to banish disease and keep people in good shape.

de Grey describes aging as the accumulation of molecular & cellular damage throughout the body. To counteract that, he proposes periodically repairing the damage before it gets out of hand.

At the current rate of innovation, an average of three months is being added to average life expectancy each year. Researchers already predict a dramatic increase in the number of centenarians, and futurists such as Ray Kurzweil say the pace of innovation is accelerating.

But who wants to live forever?

While many people fear that longevity research could result in more weak and frail people who rely on social services rather than contributing to the economy, de Grey says that’s not the point. His intent is to deliver long life as a result of better health, thus allowing people to contribute much more in their lifetimes. Much hope involves stem cell research, but might there still be body parts that just wear out, like joints? The article doesn’t go that far, but what do you think? If given an elixir or annual checkups that caused you to live to 120, 150 or longer, would you want to? Would you even be able to get a job at 120? Leave your Reply below.