Life Extension

Science fiction is known for exploring ideas that would normally be considered impossible in real life, such as the ability to extend the human lifespan beyond its general limit. As humans continue to rapidly develop their technology, the dream of achieving life extension becomes increasingly near. However, are humans becoming too ambitious in their desire to improve technology? The idea of having longevity as an option offers a lot of opportunities as it creates time which is invaluable. From spending time with loved ones to delaying untimely deaths caused by diseases, a longer lifespan has no visible shortage in personal benefits. With all these opportunities in mind, researchers hope to successfully develop methods such as digital uploading or gene editing processes which are similarly seen in works of science fiction like “Altered Carbon” or In Time. But the opportunities life extension offers is not without flaws and when the consequences of this concept is considered in relation to humanity as a whole, the idea of making this a reality is more detrimental than helpful.

If humans continue progressing towards their goal of life extension, it will create a lot of problems in the long run. In terms of effects on an individual, longevity dehumanizes people and could distance them from others rather than bringing them together. When considering the effects on a community, a longer lifespan can create overpopulation and a division between social classes. One of the reasons life extension sounds ideal is because it means not dying and although life is precious and desirable, that doesn’t mean death should be viewed as the opposite. Death actually maintains balance and solves many of the problems that come from longer life. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” It can be interpreted in many different ways but in this case, if one wants to live life to the fullest, then an extended lifespan is not ideal for reaching that goal. Taking all of this into consideration, how can life extension prove humanity is being blinded by their optimism?

Tyler Yuen - Final Project Cover Letter

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