Posted by Seppli (10250 posts) 8 months, 9 days ago

Poll: Would Welcome Biological Immortality and Self-Iteration Over The Cycle of Life and Procreation? At What Cost? (92 votes)

Yes. At any price. 30%
No. The price of such drastic change is always too high. 24%
Depends. 34%
Other. 2%
Wait? What? Results? 10%

If science would unlock biological immortality for humans, and over time you'd simply keep evolving, to biologically self-iterate and improve forever, rather than initiating the messy act of procreation - would chose the former over the latter?

What if the cost for such a change were that the vast majority of humanity would have to be sacrificed on the altar of science? Respectively if such a change would trigger massive global conflict with the same result? Would you still want humanity to evolve in that direction, or not?

Basically, would you like to live like a Primal Zerg?

#1 Edited by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

What if the cost for such a change were that the vast majority of humanity would have to be sacrificed on the altar of science?

Wish you could quote these damn polls

And as a non-human, I should care....why?

Wait a second: sacrificing humans to perpetuate your own immortality? So your question boils down to, "Do you want to be the villain from Xenoblade Chronicles?"

#2 Edited by believer258 (12182 posts) -

Would I like a longer lifespan than the seventy-ninety years that most humans have? Well, yeah, it would be great if every human being on Earth could live way longer than we currently do.

I wouldn't sacrifice many other people to gain immortality. I would hope that any other human being would make the same consideration, though I'm not naive enough to believe that everyone would. That sounds like a purely evil thing to do.

As an interesting (to me) side note, the antagonist of Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood does sacrifice an entire country to gain an immortal body (it's more complicated than that), then later tries and kinda-sorta does do it again for a huge boost in power. To be more specific, he wants to be as powerful as a recurring almighty being in the series (it's anime, a'right?) He does pretty much the same thing you're talking about. I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make with this, I just wanted to bring it up.

EDIT: Also, as long as humans require resources then we will, at some point, die. Even if we achieve a life until the end of the universe, we'll die. If the universe doesn't end, we'll run out of resources and we'll die. If we don't run out of resources then the universe will change into something we can't exist in and we'll die. Sure, these things are immeasurably far in the future, but you're talking about forever, here, as in living up to this point. I said that I would be OK with a longer life, not a life that lasts until everything is at its end.

Unless, of course, we turn into a conglomerate computer spanning the universe.

Online
#3 Posted by Pezen (1668 posts) -

How would humanity evolve on a social level if we constantly had the same people (and their ideas)? Would we eventually become one-note science fiction race stereotypes? Or would different people evolve into different types of humanoids based on their needs and surroundings?

But if it was offered to me, sure. I'm always up for an adventure.

#4 Posted by Nightriff (5335 posts) -

No, I have never liked the idea of living forever, eventually I just want it to end naturally.

#5 Posted by Karkarov (3268 posts) -

I certainly would have no issue with immortality, bring it on man. That said if it comes with the price tag of sacrificing large amounts of probably mostly innocent life I am going to have to pass. Also who in their right mind would actually "want" to be a Primal Zerg?

#6 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@nightriff said:

No, I have never liked the idea of living forever, eventually I just want it to end naturally.

Biological immortality simply means that your cells don't degrade. Bad luck, bad habits, bad judgment, bad people - all of these things can and will kill you eventually. Don't worry about dying, it'll happen regardless of if you're biologically immortal or not. Life expectancy would just rise exponentially. Living thousands of years are in the realm of the possible, if you live right.

#7 Posted by Nightriff (5335 posts) -

@seppli said:

@nightriff said:

No, I have never liked the idea of living forever, eventually I just want it to end naturally.

Biological immortality simply means that your cells don't degrade. Bad luck, bad habits, bad judgment, bad people - all of these things can and will kill you eventually. Don't worry about dying, it'll happen regardless of if you're biologically immortal or not. Life expectancy would just rise exponentially. Living thousands of years are in the realm of the possible, if you live right.

So we become elves...

#8 Edited by Aetheldod (3710 posts) -

As many would like to live long and prosper .... but not at the expense of other human lives.

#9 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3084 posts) -

If the price is sacrificing the majority of the population, then yes.

#10 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (3019 posts) -

We will live forever in some form at some point, so I would say yes. Likely the basic and easiest scenario would be we download ourselves and live a immortal virtual existence. Biological immortality or getting an new body or never aging your old body due to better tech, as supposed by most sci-fi authors, includes some form 'transference' by computer just for backup and safety if you are smashed by something. So moving our minds needs to come first anyway, and it would be cheap and easy for everyone.

THE CHILLING FACTS:
If 90% of us (people of earth) are merely digitally archived to live forever, that leaves plenty of room and resources for the 10% who actually can afford to live biologically forever. It could even mean that entire societies just become digital. Why have kids and live in terribly poverty when you could TRADE for something better. What you trade is having kids, reproducing and using resources. What you get is the promise your mind will be digitally archived FOREVER. In the digital world you can have kids, and your digital kids can have kids,...but they will never be physically beings.

Who is paying? Rich people are paying They are paying you not to reproduce. They are paying you to biologically die now for everlasting ever wonderful digital life...heaven in digital form. They are paying for your children and your children's children and so on to never exist physically. After 200 years the population of Earth is reduced and the only people breeding or living biological are those who can afford it. Who is paying for storage and computers to run this "world sim"? Meh, such costs are peanuts compared to the resources footprint and waste production a REAL person costs. That will be the crux, just not being born saves "the rich people" a TON of resources that would -in their opinion- be wasted on you. You living poor in in squalor is not help,nor much fun for you; and for the rich people your wasting resources better saved for their use.

You see a person is really just 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes) of data. The computational power and storage need to store & run a virtual person will be pennies a year in 100 years. A real person uses, just by being alive living in absolute poverty thousands of dollars of scare resources like water, food, etc and produces tons of waste. So yes, rich people will pay to store the poor (who will then not be living poor) and remove their progeny from physical existences in trade.

And, let's face it, if you don't agree they will just kill you anyway. Rich people have killed poor people for millennial or just let them die. This new system while sinister sounding is actually a rather good deal for everyone...very environmentally smart...and probably will be very safe and convenient as a social system.

#11 Posted by Itwongo (1245 posts) -

What? Sacrifice billions so a handful of assholes can be immortal? Immortal assholes? Pass.

#12 Posted by Anwar (880 posts) -

@monkeyking1969: I always had a fundamental problem with this digital stuff. Let's say you can do that and upload your mind to a computer, who says that it isn't just a copy and that the original you is dead? Nobody would know except you who just died. There would be no difference for anybody else.

#13 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1931 posts) -

If it was a choice between being "immortal" and becoming infertile or being able to have children but eventually dying of old age, I'd choose the immortality. Of course, it's not much of a choice for me since I have no interest in having children.

However, the whole "sacrificing millions of lives" things might be a step too far.

#14 Posted by believer258 (12182 posts) -

We will live forever in some form at some point, so I would say yes. Likely the basic and easiest scenario would be we download ourselves and live a immortal virtual existence. Biological immortality or getting an new body or never aging your old body due to better tech, as supposed by most sci-fi authors, includes some form 'transference' by computer just for backup and safety if you are smashed by something. So moving our minds needs to come first anyway, and it would be cheap and easy for everyone.

THE CHILLING FACTS:

If 90% of us (people of earth) are merely digitally archived to live forever, that leaves plenty of room and resources for the 10% who actually can afford to live biologically forever. It could even mean that entire societies just become digital. Why have kids and live in terribly poverty when you could TRADE for something better. What you trade is having kids, reproducing and using resources. What you get is the promise your mind will be digitally archived FOREVER. In the digital world you can have kids, and your digital kids can have kids,...but they will never be physically beings.

Who is paying? Rich people are paying They are paying you not to reproduce. They are paying you to biologically die now for everlasting ever wonderful digital life...heaven in digital form. They are paying for your children and your children's children and so on to never exist physically. After 200 years the population of Earth is reduced and the only people breeding or living biological are those who can afford it. Who is paying for storage and computers to run this "world sim"? Meh, such costs are peanuts compared to the resources footprint and waste production a REAL person costs. That will be the crux, just not being born saves "the rich people" a TON of resources that would -in their opinion- be wasted on you. You living poor in in squalor is not help,nor much fun for you; and for the rich people your wasting resources better saved for their use.

You see a person is really just 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes) of data. The computational power and storage need to store & run a virtual person will be pennies a year in 100 years. A real person uses, just by being alive living in absolute poverty thousands of dollars of scare resources like water, food, etc and produces tons of waste. So yes, rich people will pay to store the poor (who will then not be living poor) and remove their progeny from physical existences in trade.

And, let's face it, if you don't agree they will just kill you anyway. Rich people have killed poor people for millennial or just let them die. This new system while sinister sounding is actually a rather good deal for everyone...very environmentally smart...and probably will be very safe and convenient as a social system.

Wouldn't the digital living be reserved for the rich people? You would have anything and everything you wanted if you could live, think, and create with the same capacity inside of a computer that you do in real life. Meanwhile, if the people left on Earth are only the rich, who is going to build their buildings, farm their food, raise and slaughter their meat, make their clothes, etc.? For that matter, who is going to manage the computers that the rich people are living in?

For the record, I would be A-OK with living in a digital society a la The Matrix, but with the qualifier that I am aware of my existence and can summon and dismiss whatever I wish at will.

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#15 Posted by Example1013 (4807 posts) -

well idk about everyone else, but i want to live forever.

#16 Posted by Random45 (1279 posts) -

For the record, I would be A-OK with living in a digital society a la The Matrix, but with the qualifier that I am aware of my existence and can summon and dismiss whatever I wish at will.

Hmmm, I think it would be pretty great.

#17 Edited by Vuud (2035 posts) -

ZARDOZ SPEAKS TO YOU!

#18 Edited by Neonie (438 posts) -

As long as I'm the one who lives forever, then yeah, screw everyone else. BRING ON THE SACRIFICES!

#19 Posted by tourgen (4542 posts) -

@anwar said:

@monkeyking1969: I always had a fundamental problem with this digital stuff. Let's say you can do that and upload your mind to a computer, who says that it isn't just a copy and that the original you is dead? Nobody would know except you who just died. There would be no difference for anybody else.

Here is how I like to think of it: They use non-invasive techniques to perfectly copy your mind and entire nervous system state. Then they vaporize the "old" you 100ms after copy-complete. Everything is cool right? After all you are living in the digital cloud 100ms before vaporization.

Yeah, and I agree with you. I have a problem with it too.

#20 Edited by mlarrabee (3058 posts) -

You see a person is really just 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes) of data.

Would you cite the source of this number? Quantifying the human mind when we don't understand how it works to begin with--and we don't, no matter what that Psych 201 professor said--is laughable, but I need to know who to laugh at.

#21 Posted by Belegorm (675 posts) -

I voted other, because I just think it's simply impossible for this to ever happen.

#22 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@belegorm said:

I voted other, because I just think it's simply impossible for this to ever happen.

Biological Immortality is a fact of nature. Some sea creatures such a specific species of jellyfish are biologically immortal -Link to Wiki-entry on it-. Splicing such properties into the human genome isn't far fetched at all. The only reason why it hasn't happend yet (and if it already did, we common mortals likely wouldn't be told anyways), is the fear of hubris. Eventually, it will be achieved. Unless society collapses before, such breakthroughs in this field are pretty much a certainty in the relatively near future. Certainly within the average lifespan of our generation.

#23 Edited by Tom_omb (426 posts) -

I'm not sure I'd like to live forever, but I wouldn't mind getting frozen and thawed to see what the future is like. You know, like Jasper.

I just have to be careful and not get thawed after the apocalypse like in The Time Machine.

#24 Posted by StarvingGamer (8551 posts) -

I kill, I take essence.

#25 Edited by Gaff (1880 posts) -

@seppli: I'm not a biologist by any means, but...

  • Aren't cells that divide indefinitely considered cancer cells? Wouldn't artificially inducing biological immortality into human cells sentence the human to a very long life of chemotherapy?
  • Wouldn't biological immortality wreak havoc on the human body, even if you don't consider cancer? Think an eternal growth spurt: bone cells keep dividing / growing, skin cells, muscle tissue, and so on, and so on. I'm not even going to mention the strain on food supplies when potentially a race of giants starts eating their meals...
  • Doesn't biological immortality run counter to natural selection and improvement? Random mutations leads to a diversity in the gene pool, which might lead to certain mutations being better adapted to the environment. Which in turn leads to more success in survival and reproduction, gradually pushing out less success mutations. Wouldn't that stop when everything keeps on living?
  • And lastly, people seem to really, really, really be fond of "the messy act of procreation", if you know what I mean.
#26 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@gaff said:

@seppli: I'm not a biologist by any means, but...

  • Aren't cells that divide indefinitely considered cancer cells? Wouldn't artificially inducing biological immortality into human cells sentence the human to a very long life of chemotherapy?
  • Wouldn't biological immortality wreak havoc on the human body, even if you don't consider cancer? Think an eternal growth spurt: bone cells keep dividing / growing, skin cells, muscle tissue, and so on, and so on. I'm not even going to mention the strain on food supplies when potentially a race of giants starts eating their meals...
  • Doesn't biological immortality run counter to natural selection and improvement? Random mutations leads to a diversity in the gene pool, which might lead to certain mutations being better adapted to the environment. Which in turn leads to more success in survival and reproduction, gradually pushing out less success mutations. Wouldn't that stop when everything keeps on living?
  • And lastly, people seem to really, really, really be fond of "the messy act of procreation", if you know what I mean.
  • Aw what. Just take a nap in a cocoon every once in a while, and be reformed.
  • Cocoon. Or spanwing pool. Or whatever. Reformation, every so often. Self-iteration. The perpetual butterfly.
  • You are still mortal, so natural selection is still very much in play. Your cells just don't age and degrade.
  • It's not like people fuck for pleasure now. What would stop you from enjoying it still, if procreation wasn't part of it anymore? It's like doing it in the butt. Just because butt babies are a myth, doesn't make it any less tight and enjoyable. Unless you evolved not to enjoy doing it anymore. I guess if we'd evolve to be like Primal Zerg, we'd take downright sexual pleasure in killing stuff, and gathering their essence for our own evolution. Kill an eagle, get eagle sight.
#27 Posted by Donkeycow (557 posts) -

I would love to be biologically immortal. Some form of disease or event will still likely kill you, but if ones body remained in its prime one could easily see several centuries. I don't think I would support the deaths of millions to sustain only a few this way, but I would still be fine with pretty far extremes to see such a reality come into being.

#28 Posted by falserelic (5407 posts) -

Nah, I don't want to live that long. I actually want to die one day and embrace death. Hell I almost came close to dying afew times in my life (Wish I did sometimes). Anyway I just hope I resolves somethings in my life before that happens. If not then o well I'll be long dead and forgotten, wouldn't have problems or no worries anymore at that point.

#29 Posted by Zeik (2755 posts) -

Immortality sounds terrible. Not getting sick or old would be fine, but I don't have any desire to live far longer than normal just for the sake of living.

#30 Posted by TobbRobb (4840 posts) -

Wait, I can kill off most humans AND be an elf? It's like a dream come true!

#31 Posted by Jay_Ray (1127 posts) -

Yeah, I'd take biological immortality.

#32 Posted by mekon (288 posts) -

Nope. Don't want to be last out, but if it was a lone Zombie vs Me challenge I'd run it over / set it on fire or something.

#33 Posted by expensiveham (295 posts) -

Yeah, i have a ton of anxiety over death and would probably pay anything to become an immortal cyborg-dude.

#34 Edited by Broomhitches (173 posts) -

As someone who doesn't know (and doesn't pretend to know) what happens after death, I'm more inclined to keep my mortality. Sure, we would evolve on this plane of existence, but it could be possible that dying would bring about an evolution of the soul, right? Shit, I don't know if it's right for an Agnostic to believe that souls exist.

#35 Edited by Athadam (704 posts) -

@seppli: You should totally watch The Man From Earth. I can't speak much about it without giving too much away, but it explores the thread topic very well.

#36 Posted by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@athadam said:

@seppli: You should totally watch The Man From Earth. I can't speak much about it without giving too much away, but it explores the thread topic very well.

Thanks for the tip. You should read Oryx and Crake. Just so we're even.