Ben Bova on Agelessness through Future Biotechnology

An op-ed from writer Ben Bova: "'The first immortal human beings are probably living among us today.' That is the opening line of my 1998 nonfiction book, 'Immortality.' Today, more than a dozen years later, a growing number of research scientists and philosophers are beginning to sing much the same tune. They are speaking and writing about our post-human future, a coming era where human beings will be able to live youthful, vigorous, healthy lives for centuries or even longer. There might well be people alive today who may live for centuries, not as crumbling, aging wrecks, but as strong, youthful and active men and women. There is even evidence that aging itself might be not merely slowed or delayed, but actually reversed. One researcher, biogerentologist Aubrey de Grey, flatly states, 'I think the first person to live to a thousand might be 60 already.' Such views are certainly not mainstream. De Grey's detractors have called his ideas 'science fiction.' Yeah. Like space travel, nuclear power, lasers and pocket-sized computers." Bova's view of the medical technologies that will get us there is not complete - he focuses on a third of the overall picture as described in the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence - but his vision of the future is right in the larger sense. The coming age will deliver rejuvenation biotechnology, and it is up to us to work to make that happen soon enough to matter.



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