Ivaylo Sotirov

freelance artist,

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You know I've always considered the subject of physical immortality impossible and just a bad science fiction idea.
Until I stumbled onto some articles on Turriptosis Nutricula; A jellyfish with no natural limits to its life span!

It is considered to be the world's only biologically immortal animal!
Not only that, but we've already partially sequenced their RNA: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nuccore/183228429

The critter can basically self regenerate itself through something called transdifferentiation - It is able to turn different types of cells into cells it needs to regenerate it's tissues.

This basically made me shut the hell up with all my negativism on the possibilities that we can ever achieve biological immortality.
If nature can and has done it, then it's only a matter of time, money and technology until we replicate the process.
Micro biology and Synthetic biology are booming sciences right now and will probably be the next paradigm shift for our generation!

So basically if immortality becomes possible in the future...
Well should we?

I don't know, but I'm starting to think it will be useful for us to start asking ourselves those questions.
Personally I think that achieving immortality will be the doom of our species, it will stall progress and innovation, which as embarrassing as it is to point out: Relies mostly on waiting the previous generation to finally die out and leave the young guys to do their thing :D

Asimov has written extensively on the possibility that a culture with un-naturally prolonged life cycle will only stagnate and wont innovate beyond creature comforts and essentials. And in the end will be replaced by other more energetic and innovative civilisations.

Short life-span means an accelerated rate of creativity and ingenuity!
Even if we do not achieve immortality what would a civilisation where people live to be in the hundreds be like?
And if you had dozens of decades ahead of you, would you ever take any risks in your life?

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    Oct 10 2011: Hmmmm life. Forever. I'm in!!!!!!!!!!. But if i was 500 would it be illegal for me to ask an eighty year old out?
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    Oct 11 2011: Well, let me put it this way. Almost everyone on the planet knows they will die some day, but they rarely think that day is today. Ok so if people think they're not going to die today, everyday, then doesn't that mean that most of us are already living our lives as if we won't die?
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      Oct 24 2011: No. I live my life knowing that one day life will end. for me it makes sense and is truthful. It gives meaning and urgency to life. It makes me productive. Death makes me live!
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    Oct 9 2011: Living forever seems a bit of a stretch. In the past 100 years we have created TV, cell phones, ipads, new medicine, artifical organs, new discoveries, increased our life span, etc. Nobody knows what will happen in the future but I believe that living infinitivly is not possible.

    Jellyfish do not have a brain or central nervous system. We do. We are vastly more complicated beings than jellyfish and therefore we cannot live forever by just regenerating tissue (like the jellyfish). We would need to regenerate all of our organs, our bones which decrease in density over time, our skin which wrinkles, ours brain which slows down, etc. We are not meant to live indifinitly otherwise nature would have made it possible to do so.
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      Oct 10 2011: Come on Jake, let yourself go. Imagine the impossible. Make it possible.
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    Oct 4 2011: Well, you posed a pretty interesting topic here. I'm no big Asimov fan but still I daresay that the future holds the unbelievable. Until what was just some 100 years ago a person's average lifespan was about 40-50 years. Now it's around 100. So imagine what can happen in another 100 years ...
    may be total extinction ...
    may be a new lifespan limit ...
    may be something we can't even imagine now ...
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      Oct 6 2011: Well much of the increase in lifespan is only due to lower infant mortality rates.
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    Oct 4 2011: i wouldnt say its impossible, but a lifespan of 140/150 yrs sounds more likely