Throughout the annals of history, humanity has harbored a relentless yearning for "eternal life," an aspiration to transcend the boundaries of our current lifespan and perpetual youth. Despite our inherent vulnerability to illness, our propensity for destruction, and our unwavering stubbornness, the collective human effort has, over the past two centuries, remarkably elevated our species' average life expectancy.
For the uninitiated, life expectancy denotes the anticipated number of years one can anticipate at a specific age. Naturally, curiosity arises: how long can humans truly extend their existence? According to Our World in Data, the average life expectancy stands at 72.6 years. However, as many may be aware, there exist select groups, primarily in affluent nations, that have far surpassed this benchmark.
Some individuals have achieved remarkable longevity, reaching ages of 100, 110, or even beyond, with the illustrious Jeane Calment from France holding the record at 122 years and 164 days.
But is it possible for humans to extend their lives even further? If given the opportunity, how long would one choose to live? Two centuries? Five centuries? Perhaps an entire millennium? Although this might appear reminiscent of science fiction, technological advancements may conceivably pave the way for humans to attain immortality.
In fact, some futurists posit that by the year 2050, mortality could become a rarity, compelling us to take extra precautions.
Futurist Ian Pearson ventures to speculate that through the harnessing of technology, humanity might eventually meld our consciousness with machines, rendering our organic bodies obsolete. One could envision attending their own "body funeral." Pearson envisions this future: "At some point, your physical body ceases to function, and with it, your brain ceases to exist, but this is no longer a grave issue.
An astounding 99% of your consciousness remains intact, thriving within the realm of IT, within the cloud. Assuming you have made adequate preparations, you could connect to an android to serve as your new vessel, participate in your own funeral, and continue your existence, still fundamentally yourself, albeit within a rejuvenated, vastly upgraded form."
This marks just the initial foray; beyond 2050, numerous possibilities exist for preserving one's consciousness. Humans might transition into different humanoid forms, akin to acquiring a new vehicle with updated features. Or, with the advent of initiatives like Neuralink, the transition from organic to digital could be a few clicks away, allowing individuals to transfer themselves into a computer or robotic body.
Millennia from now, humanity might collectively opt to reside within colossal megastructures that shape our own customized realities.