Here is an example to show that the urge to conform is somewhat stronger than the urge to live, and never mind the urge to think critically. People will tend to say that they want to be in the majority position now, no matter what that might be, and depending on how you phrase the question, the vast majority will tell you that they want to age to death and have a life that is no longer than that of their parents. Yet if longer lives were already common, those very same people would answer that they wanted to live those longer lives. It is frustrating, to say the least, the degree to which people live in the moment and blind themselves to what might be created: "How many years might be added to a life? A few longevity enthusiasts suggest a possible increase of decades. Most others believe in more modest gains. And when will they come? Are we a decade away? Twenty years? Fifty years? Even without a new high-tech 'fix' for aging, the United Nations estimates that life expectancy over the next century will approach 100 years for women in the developed world and over 90 years for women in the developing world. (Men lag behind by three or four years.) Whatever actually happens, this seems like a good time to ask a very basic question: How long do you want to live? Over the past three years I have posed this query to nearly 30,000 people at the start of talks and lectures on future trends in bioscience, taking an informal poll as a show of hands. To make it easier to tabulate responses I provided four possible answers: 80 years, currently the average life span in the West; 120 years, close to the maximum anyone has lived; 150 years, which would require a biotech breakthrough; and forever, which rejects the idea that life span has to have any limit at all. I made it clear that participants should not assume that science will come up with dramatic new anti-aging technologies, though people were free to imagine that breakthroughs might occur - or not. The results: some 60 percent opted for a life span of 80 years. Another 30 percent chose 120 years, and almost 10 percent chose 150 years. Less than 1 percent embraced the idea that people might avoid death altogether. These percentages have held up as I've spoken to people from many walks of life in libraries and bookstores; teenagers in high schools; physicians in medical centers; and investors and entrepreneurs at business conferences. I've popped the question at meetings of futurists and techno-optimists and gotten perhaps a doubling of people who want to live to 150 - less than I would have thought for these groups. Rarely, however, does anyone want to live forever, although abolishing disease and death from biological causes is a fervent hope for a small scattering of would-be immortals."