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In modern society, when people are enjoying the convenience brought by powerful technology and science, they also hope to keep this status forever. This, without doubt, leads us to the word: immortality. In order to learn this term, it is easy to start from its opposite meaning: aging and mortality. Scientists define “aging” as a kind of oxidation where oxygen accompanies with human’s metabolic process every day. At the same time, oxygen brings “free radicals” so that our cells will be destroyed and die slowly. As such, what scientists need to figure out is how to prevent the aging of human’s cells in order to achieve immortality physically. Apparently, this kind of definition seems to be plausible because other fields of science have their own elaborations in terms of immortality. In this essay, I will illustrate the unique perspective of immortality ranging from biology field, modern technology field to philosophy field respectively.
By doing lots of research, biologists discover that when our cells in our bodies start to copy themselves, telomeres become shorter and shorter. It will be clearer if regarding the telomere as the “cap” located at the end of each DNA’s chain. In this case, biologists deduce that if they find a way to let telomeres back to the original state, then a human’s biological age will back to 25. In 2015, Elizabeth Parrish, the CEO of another science company, accepted the telomere treatment. Surprisingly, she claimed that her body seemed to become younger by 30 years after the therapy (Gabbat, 2019). Aside from this, biologists also receive important result from mice. Researchers working in National Aging Institution find out that protein sirtuin 1 can delay some diseases triggered by aging. In this case, they decide to inject 100mg SRT1720 that can increase sirtuin 1 level to a mouse. By recording the data, the lifespan of this mouse increases by 8.8%, with the improvement of muscle function. Indeed, the development of biology field convince us the concept of immortality because they use their research and technology to prove us that human’s body age can be reversed. On the other hand, experiments on mice pave the way for clinical trials, which is a huge contribution from humans’ perspective.
The idea of immortality is supported by many people working in such field. Several scientists and neurosurgeons advocate that if we can copy human’s brain by using code in computer, immortality seems to be easy to achieve. What they suggest is to make a machine, which can analyze human’s brain and cut them into thousands of micro-thin pieces. Also, this machine should be able to reveal the inner networking of human’s brain (Bailey, 2018). Apart from this, the introduction of nanobots provides another chance to extent human’s life. As Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil thinks that in 2030, nanobots can get inside human’s body via capillaries without any side effects. Their job is to eliminate pathogens and debris to keep our bodies at a healthy status (Getlen, 2018). It is incredible to imagine that even in a single field, scientists still have multiple ways to increase peoples’ life expectancy from their long-term plans. In this case, people in the future can either choose to live in the physical world by owning a healthy body or they can let the computer copy their brains so that their minds are saved in computer as data.
Compared to other fields’ professional people who try their best to seek the secret of immortality, philosophers are always trying to stop this. The English philosopher Bernard Williams shared his opinion of living forever in his essay “The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality.” He strongly stated that it would be terrible to live forever in that the more life span people have, the more boring they would feel. If unlimited time is given, people would lack of a so-called “categorial desires”, which can be elaborated as desires driving people to live in this world (Warburton, n.d). To be more specific, what this philosopher wants to warn us is that people can only feel different kinds of thrills by giving limited time. Standing on social science’s perspective, immortality seems not to be a good thing in terms of human beings’ benefit. Indeed, after experiencing everything on the world, it is prone for people to reflect themselves: Immortality is boring. Thanks to these philosophers who figure out this potential problem, more people will calm down to think about whether they should chase immortality or not.
As indicated above, in terms of immortality, biologists invent a method to strengthen telomeres which is located at the end of each DNA chain, and they also discover that protein sirtuin 1 is beneficial for anti-aging diseases. Looking at modern technology, the development of nanobots and human-brain’s digitalization are pushing us to immortality. Last but not least, philosophers persuade people to give up the mind of living forever because their lives will become meaningless.
From my perspective, when the technology of immortality is mature, only those people who make essential contributions to the whole human beings deserve to be immortal either physically or digitally. The reason is that scientists might still need their help for further research. Other than that, the government should have the responsibility to take the control of this technology and it is their turns to launch some regulations about the usage of this technology.
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