5 Ways Scientists Hope to Achieve Immortality for Humanity

Posted: March 31, 2020 at 6:34 am

Is immortality within our reach? Maybe not yet, but we are definitely trying. While the new film "Self/Less" features an interesting science fiction take on achieving immortality, various advances have been taking place in the very real scientific community. We may have a long way to go before we can transfer our consciousness into Ryan Reynolds body, butscience is working pretty hard on some fascinating alternatives to the notion of immortality:

Anti-Aging Genetic Engineering

The inhibitor is currently in trials as an anticancer agent, and the hope is that one day death will not be the result a prolonged, painful disease, but through a quicker, more natural means like cardiac arrest or stroke. Here's what Irina Conboy, one of the scientists at UC Berkeley, said about the motivations behind the team's efforts.

Regenerative Medicine

Tests have not yet been performed on human subjects, but the progress seen so far is enough to makeStuart Orkin of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, feel very confident about the future.

But that's not the only advance in stem cell research. This year, scientists at the Salk Institute discovered a type of stem cell whose identity is tied to their location in a developing embryo, and not their time-related stage of development. These region-selective pluripotent stem cells (rsPSCs) are easier to grow in the laboratory, offer advantages for gene editing, and, unlike conventional stem cells, have the ability to integrate into modified mouse embryos.

As Jun Wu, a postdoctoral researcher describes; understanding the spatial characteristics of the stem cells "could be crucial to generate functional and mature cell types for regenerative medicine." It could well be that in the near future, parts of the body that have degenerated due to age, could be regenerated at will by the introduction of these fascinating stem cells.

Nanomedicine

Ananodevice imbued with data on toxins and pathogens could be used to enhance the human immune system by recognizing and destroying an invasive agent. Nanotechnology could also be used to remove lipofuscin, a product that accumulates in lysosomes negatively impacting cell function and manifesting in age related conditions. All of these technologies are speculative, but nanobots are already lengthening our lives in tests to fight cancer, and many believe such technologies are truly the future of the medical industry.

Digital Immortality

Computer programmers have already created artificial neural networks that can form associations and learn through pattern-recognition, but they don't possess the complexity of the human brain. However, if our consciousness is just based on brain activity and if technology can record and analyze them, they could possibly be reduced to computations. Advances have already been made with animal tests, and in 2011 a team from the University of Southern California and Wake Forest University created the first artificial neural implant, a device that produces electrical activity that causes a rat to react as thoughthe signal came from its own brain.

Cyborgization

- Neruobridge technology reconnected a paralyzed man's brain to his body

- The Eyeborg: Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence lost his right eye in a shotgun accident and replaced it with a video camera that transmits what he's seeing to a computer.

- Programmer Amal Graafstra has inserted radio-frequency identification chips in his hands connected to scanners on his doors and laptop, eliminating the need for keys or passwords.

- "Transhumanists" advocate for cyborgization, genetic engineering, and synthetic biology, to increase our intelligence, health, and lives to transform humanity to a "post-human" stage.

Current advances in anti-aging, regenerative medicine, nanomedicine, digital immortality, and cyborgization may only be focusing on prolonging life at the moment. But these technologies have already improved our lives, and as the possibility of immortality is played out on the movie screen, we can see the world of fiction slowly melding with our own reality.

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5 Ways Scientists Hope to Achieve Immortality for Humanity

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