The dream of immortality is an enduring one. It’s haunted the human imagination for millennium – just ask ponce de leon. But nowadays we seek the Fountain of youth, not in the far corners of the Earth, but in the ingenuity of the human mind. Here’s a look at the many ways scientists are attempting to extend human life.
1. Put It In The Cloud
Probably the most extreme solution to the problem of immortality is to simply download our minds into robotic vessels. The “Avatar project,” part of the 2045 Initiative, is already planning to transfer human consciousness into an non – biological substrate by mid – century. Aging will be a thing of the past – but what about our humanity.
2. Take A Pill
Certain pharmaceuticals, such as the diabetes drug metformin, could extend human lifespans by up to 50%. Drug companies like Gero are developing new anti – aging pills which will use so – called “geroprotectors”-compounds like carnosine, rapamycin, and metformin – to extend the youthfulness of tissues well into advanced age.
3. Exchange It For a Newer Model
Cloning and stem cell technology may enable us to grow replacement organs and exchange them for old and damaged body part – scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, for instance, have already created the first lab – grown organs to be implanted in human patients. Someday we may even clone entire bodies, and simply transplant our brains into a new model.
4. Become One With The Machines
One solution to the longevity could be the creation of human – machine hybrid or “cyborgs.” Companies like SynCardia have developed artificial hearts that can keep recipients alive for up to four years – who knows, in the future we may swap feeling organs piecemeal to become semi-model cybernetic organisms.
5. Go Small
The center for Nanotechnology in Society has targeted the ability to repair aging organ systems and tissues as among the most important application for this revolutionary technology. If it’s ever feasible, tiny machines will cruse our bloodstreams, clearing out metabolic waste, removing plaques, and combating the ill effects of senescence.
6. Build a Better Human
Forget the patch-up job-the best solution may be to simply redesign the human organism at the genetic level. Companies like Human Longevity, Inc. and Calico are sequencing the human genome and scouring it’s landscape for clues to the genetic causes of aging, so we can edit them out.
7. Manage The Problem
The controversy “Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence” (SENS) supported and funded by the SENS Research Foundation, aims to combat the “diseases of aging”- attacking the individual symptoms of physiological decline so that aging becomes, at most, negligible. Some call it quackery… others say it has potential.