A golden future is ahead of us. Humanity will build wonders upon the Earth, cities on the moon and Mars. There will be arcologies to touch the skies, artificial general intelligences that surpass the minds of humanity, molecular assemblers constructing the necessities of life from soil, resurrected dinosaurs grazing alongside de novo unicorns, and probes departing for the nearest stars. There will be wealth beyond measure, in an age of plenty for all. Hunger and disease will be banished, even as we engineer all of the greatest dreams of past visionaries into reality.
But what does any of this matter without longevity, without radical life extension, without an end to aging? The present, seen from the perspective of futurists two or three centuries past, already appears a golden age of staggering, near-magical machineries. An era of grand wealth and comfort, in which even the poorest of the wealthy nations live the lives of nobility, immune to famine and pestilence. But our cities and our achievements, the towering spires and the internet, the freeways and clinics, are little more than monuments to their originators. The engineers and the creators and the visionaries of this modern world of ours are long dead or even now dying of old age.
It is a noble thing to build a greater technology, to generate the wealth of choice and capability that will aid billions in years to come. To contribute to the construction of the golden future, one step at a time, is right and proper. Yet without biotechnologies to control aging, whatever you or I choose to build will be nothing more than a bigger and better monument to our passing, one increment greater than the monuments of our predecessors, and what difference that to the dead? It will become one of the countless tombstones of our age, of the all too short span of years in which we and our fellow travelers lived. Then we will be gone, and only the tombstones remain, and then even those will crumble.
We put fences around graveyards. That is a foolish thing, a wished-for separation of concerns that does not and cannot exist. Every city, every building, every road is a marker of the dead. Every last cultivated part of our environment was touched by someone who is now no more, gone to oblivion. When we walk into the doorways, or drive over the asphalt, it becomes a marker for us as well. For our generation. This will be the way of it. Whatever we strive to build, no matter how noble, no matter how useful, it will be nothing more than a tombstone, a monument, a marker destined to be worn down to nothing while we no longer exist. What is the point to this?
The true value of building a better future can only exist when we are all assured of living to participate in that future, in health and vigor, of sound mind and body. A house can only be a house and not a tomb if its architect and resident is alive. Yes, we should build wonders, because we can, because we can dream into existence a far better world. But of greater importance than any other technology, we must build the means to end aging, to enable life to continue for as long as desired. Until we do, we are merely marking time amidst grave sites that will all too soon be our own, and therefter the grave sites of the next generation, and ever on until we break this cycle. Until we do, all that we achieve is ultimately meaningless. There is no continued story, there is no progression, there is simply death, oblivion, and an end, too soon, over and over again.