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How Long Do You Want To Live?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the I-want-to-live-forever dept.

Biotech 813

Hugh Pickens writes "Since 1900, the life expectancy of Americans, driven by improved hygiene, nutrition, and new medical discoveries and interventions, has jumped from 47 years to almost 80. Now, scientists studying the intricacies of DNA and other molecular bio-dynamics may be poised to offer even more dramatic boosts to longevity. But there is one very basic question that is seldom asked, according to David Ewing Duncan: How long do you want to live? 'Over the past three years I have posed this query to nearly 30,000 people at the start of talks and lectures on future trends in bioscience, taking an informal poll as a show of hands,' writes Duncan. 'To make it easier to tabulate responses I provided four possible answers: 80 years, currently the average life span in the West; 120 years, close to the maximum anyone has lived; 150 years, which would require a biotech breakthrough; and forever, which rejects the idea that life span has to have any limit at all.' The results: some 60 percent opted for a life span of 80 years. Another 30 percent chose 120 years, and almost 10 percent chose 150 years. Less than 1 percent embraced the idea that people might avoid death altogether (PDF). Overwhelmingly, the reason given was that people didn't want to be old and infirm any longer than they had to be, even if a pill allowed them to delay the inevitable. Others were concerned about issues like boredom, the cost of paying for a longer life, and the impact of so many extra people on planetary resources and on the environment. But wouldn't long life allow people like Albert Einstein to accomplish more and try new things? That's assuming that Einstein would want to live that long. As he lay dying of an abdominal aortic aneurysm in 1955, Einstein refused surgery, saying: 'It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.'"

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600 years. (4, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140405)

Should be enough for me.

640 years (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140447)

Ought to be enough for anybody.

640K years (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140517)

Ought to be enough for anybody...

Re:640K years (3, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140739)

Yep. I think by then, you'll have had enough of watching TV and eating Doritos. The idea of new Nikes just won't thrill anymore, like it did for the last 5 centuries... Maybe then it's time to take a nap, and not get back up.

Seriously. Y'all live miserable lives as it is. Thank God, people die. Without that, there isn't even the glimmer that we'd bother to understand Life.

Re:640K years (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140875)

I'd like to live forever I think..or at least...have my choice in when I go....

If the vampire thing worked, and I could live forever the way I am now...age, looks..etc...I'd do it.

Re:640K years (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140921)

Dying is what makes us real. Most of "life" is a tornado of colliding imaginations.

Everyone thinks they're the ONE exception.

But no in ever got out of it, ever.

Re:600 years. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140481)

640 kiloYears should be enough for anyone.

Re:600 years. (2, Funny)

L1mewater (557442) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140527)

640 kiloHours should be enough for anyone.

Re:600 years. (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140959)

"Since 1900, the life expectancy of Americans, driven by improved hygiene, nutrition, and new medical discoveries and interventions, has jumped from 47 years to almost 80"

Yeah. One Aspirin cures a headache, so 50 of them will make me telepathic!

Re:600 years. (4, Funny)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140711)

666 years. Or until the year of Linux on the desktop. Shouldn't differ much.

I kid, I kid! :-P
Anyway, if you're afraid of getting bored living a very long time, try stepping away from the TV. I can't imagine ever getting bored.

Re:600 years. (5, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140869)

I've always said I'd like to live at least 500 years. Of course, it would be interesting to be able to stay relatively "young" more or less indefinitely.

Might not be something everyone is interested in but I would love to never feel any pressure to hurry up and do all those things I want to do. I could spend 50 years just reading interesting books. Maybe spend ten years building a house. And thinking more long-term, how about a few hundred years in deep space? You'd have the time...

Re:600 years. (1)

fa2k (881632) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140941)

Forever, please

long enough... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140417)

to post first

Re:long enough... (1)

geegel (1587009) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140839)

You'll get there. Eventually.

News Flash! (5, Funny)

Orga (1720130) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140433)

99% of people are idiots.

Re:News Flash! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140663)

Don't worry Obama care will bring the life numbers down to per-developed world numbers (as its intended). That way us useless feeders and liberal (Democrats) 99% idiots can die before our retirement n such. Is there a more evil person on this earth than a liberal? Yes, a slash dotter.

Re:News Flash! (1)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140973)

+1 Insightful

Oh Right Around ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140439)

Just long enough to lick the tears off of Raymond Kurzweil's widow's face at his funeral.

Long Enough (4, Funny)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140441)

To see my enemies buried. After that, I don't care.

make more (2)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140829)

And, of course, if they ALSO have access to life extending tech, then you're essentially saying "forever".

Re:make more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140933)

To see my enemies buried. After that, I don't care.

And, of course, if they ALSO have access to life extending tech, then you're essentially saying "forever".

For MY enemies, buried alive and immortal is even better.

Oh, FFS (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140443)

Overwhelmingly the reason given was that people didn't want to be old and infirm any longer than they had to be, even if a pill allowed them to delay the inevitable.

Well, it's a good thing that that's not what we're talking about, isn't it? The whole idea is to delay--or if possible, prevent entirely--the things that make us "old" and infirm to begin with. Nobody wants to spend eternity in a nursing home, duh. Spending an indefinite amount of time young and healthy, or even middle-aged and mostly healthy? Sign me up.

Re:Oh, FFS (2)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140769)

Overwhelmingly the reason given was that people didn't want to be old and infirm any longer than they had to be, even if a pill allowed them to delay the inevitable.

Well, it's a good thing that that's not what we're talking about, isn't it? The whole idea is to delay--or if possible, prevent entirely--the things that make us "old" and infirm to begin with. Nobody wants to spend eternity in a nursing home, duh. Spending an indefinite amount of time young and healthy, or even middle-aged and mostly healthy? Sign me up.

Then maybe the question, and possible answer choices, should have mentioned that.

How long do you want to live?
A) 80 years
B) 120 years
C) 150 years
D) None of the above

Might as well study relationships by passing a note to the girl on the other side of the class.
Do you like me?
A) Yes
B) No
C) Maybe

Re:Oh, FFS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140881)

Do you like me?
A) Yes
B) No
C) Maybe

D) No, but I really like Cowboy Neil

Re:Oh, FFS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140787)

Exactly. I'd take the forever option given 1 condition...that assisted suicide be legalized, and done so in a way that I could have a living will that says that if I'm hospitalized, incapacitated, or in any other way unable to clearly communicate my desires, and that condition/state lasts longer than 1 year, then I am euthanized. Probably want it thought through a little more than that, but thats the basic idea...let me live forever but have a safeguard to ensure that I'm not miserable forever.

Re:Oh, FFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140809)

On the other hand, if you could be 19 years old for a century, almost nobody would make it to 120.

A friend's great-grandmother just turned 116. (4, Insightful)

drwho (4190) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140445)

She's supposedly pretty sharp, still there in the mind and still happy. The last part is the most important. I'd rather die happy at 85 than live to 120 in misery.

Re:A friend's great-grandmother just turned 116. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140529)

116 years, of which she's been an ugly old hag for 60+ years. Shitty life?

How about extending youthful life rather than extended coffin dodging years as a cabbage.

Re:A friend's great-grandmother just turned 116. (1)

L1mewater (557442) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140561)

Is your friend's great grandmother Besse Cooper?

Re:A friend's great-grandmother just turned 116. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140819)

My Grandmother died last night. She went nice and peaceful, it was her time.

Game of Thrones answer (5, Funny)

Dr. Tom (23206) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140463)

Barbarian: “How do you want to die?”

Tyrion Lannister: “In bed, when I’m 80, with a belly full of wine and woman’s mouth on my cock.”

7 regenerations should be enough for anyone... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140465)

...unless continued ratings success insinuate otherwise...

The way the world is headed.... (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140471)

When the Grim Reaper shows I plan to hump his leg.

Consciously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140473)

I would like to achive a higher level of conscious first...

I have no fear of death. (3, Interesting)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140477)

I know Jesus exists. So what if I die, I get to live forever. There's a cool thing that happens when you know this life isn't the end: You suddenly stop caring about yourself and just live your life to help everyone else. This life will be the only life where other people need our help. It only costs 100$/yr to keep children from starving to death. So the obvious idea is to work for enough money to live on frugally, then give excess to the poor. If enough people actually did do self sacrificial giving of their excess funds, there would be no such a thing as World Hunger. But as long as other people need help to survive, we should be helping them.

Re:I have no fear of death. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140555)

Good. I'll shed a tear at your grave. And perhaps your children's graves when they grow old and die. Your childrens' children will probably be wiser.

Keep Paying for Your Spot in Heaven (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140581)

There's a cool thing that happens when you know this life isn't the end: You suddenly stop caring about yourself and just live your life to help everyone else.

There was a cool thing that happened to me when I figured out that the Law of Parsimony indicates that life is the end. I realized that all I would leave behind is other people's memories of me and I stopped being a dick and judging everyone else based on my doctrine. How odd that the biggest inhibitor of being like Christ was being a Christian.

Re:I have no fear of death. (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140593)

It's quite brave of you to say that here. Now watch the people who "know" Richard Dawkins exists flame you into the middle of next week.

I don't really believe either Jesus or Dawkins existed. The burden of proof is you lot.

Re:I have no fear of death. (5, Insightful)

pointyhat (2649443) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140797)

Despite the invitations, neither Jesus or God ever showed up to an event I was invited to. Dawkins did.

Re:I have no fear of death. (5, Funny)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140653)

I know Jesus doesn't exist. When I die, that's it; I'm dead. There's a cool thing that happens when you know this life is the end: You suddenly start caring about yourself and just live your life. It only costs 200$/mo to keep my turbocharged child from running out of premium fuel. So the obvious idea is to work for enough money to live on frugally, then buy a fast car. If enough people actually did do self sacrificial giving of buying a fast car, there would be no such a thing a suffering auto industry. But as long as other people need roadside help we should be helping them.

Re:I have no fear of death. (2)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140783)

Hm... this is some kind of car analogy, isn't it?

Re:I have no fear of death. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140697)

Why don't we let them die as fast as possible so they can enjoy their life eternal instead of wasting effort on prolonging their misery?

Re:I have no fear of death. (2)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140703)

I know Santa Clause is real, I just know it!

Re:I have no fear of death. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140729)

I think you just stupid

You're not going to live forever. Someone told you that you will and you read it in a book (these are immutable FACTS).

$100 is not going to "keep children from starving to death". Someone told you that. It'll just wither away into fat cat pockets on the way. They might see $2 in the end.

Frugality and sacrificial giving to the poor doesn't work. Someone told you that. Again it'll just wither away into fat cat pockets on the way.

What works is getting of your lazy self-righteous religious ass and cramming as much as you can in to help people directly by getting out there and digging wells, teaching people how to work the land and providing medical support before you end up back in the ground from where you came from. Doing that will kill every damn last bit of religion in you, like it did with me. I did it for 5 years.

Pissing money into a charity and waving your book around helps your conscience but it does fuck all for humanity other than make it a worse place.

There ain't no god or heaven. If there was, these people wouldn't get shit upon on every occasion.

Re:I have no fear of death. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140953)

Your argument does not hold water [kiva.org] in the face of the facts. When it push comes to shove, it turns out that atheists, agnostics, sceptics and freethinkers (people that generally don't believe in an afterlife) help others more than Christians do. Turns out, you don't need to believe in a heaven or an afterlife to care about fellow human beings.

the greeks taught us.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140493)

If you wish for eternal life then you should wish for eternal youth as well.

Why Einstein? (3, Insightful)

drwho (4190) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140499)

Why is he quoted so often? It's like he's some Jesus/Buddha/Mohammed/Hubbard. It's kind of bizarre. He was just a scientist, although a very good one. His accomplishments were in physics, not metaphysics, not morality.

Re:Why Einstein? (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140611)

Why is he quoted so often? It's like he's some Jesus/Buddha/Mohammed/Hubbard. It's kind of bizarre. He was just a scientist, although a very good one. His accomplishments were in physics, not metaphysics, not morality.

Just a scientist? That makes him better than some sort of Jesus/Buddha//Mohammed/Hubbard. Anyone with a keen logical mind will make greater accomplishements in metaphysics and morality than any peddler of fairy tales.

The key to true morality isn't "what would Jesus do", but "what makes sense and actually works to produce favorable outcomes". By that standard, you cannot do better than a scientist.

Re:Why Einstein? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140615)

Because he's a universally known name (and has been since the middle of the last century.)

But it doesn't take a Bohr to figure that out...

Now For the Real Question (3, Insightful)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140505)

How many of those people believe in an eternal afterlife?

I'm satisfied living forever. And then I get to choose my lifespan.

You talk for yourself, buddy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140513)

This is of course under the assumption that you age your body to say a 20-something year old and then *keep it that way forever* by "stopping" the aging process at that age. I'd sign up for it in a jiffy. Bored? I haven't been bored since we had a 3-day power outage.

Depends on the condition of my body (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140535)

If I live to 200, do I spend most of that time with the body of a 30-year-old, or a 90-year-old? If the latter, thanks but no thanks.

Re:Depends on the condition of my body (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140815)

If I live to 200, do I spend most of that time with the body of a 30-year-old, or a 90-year-old? If the latter, thanks but no thanks.

30 year old or 90 year old... you talking about yourself or spouse?

depends on Quality of Life (2, Insightful)

SlashDread (38969) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140543)

This question is meaningless without defining quality of life. If I can reach 6000, and have the same Quality of Life as I have now (age 47) or even the QOL I expect to have at 67, Im all for it. In fact Immortality, yes please!

If I have to wait in bed in pain from 100 until 6000, than, no way.

Living is moving (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140547)

Today I swam a mile and a half, biked 16 miles and ran three quarters on an elliptical. Hope I'm still doing that in thirty years.

No one wants to die (1, Insightful)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140551)

Only 1 % choose not to live forever, until the moment they about to die, then they change their mind.

Re:No one wants to die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140879)

Only 1 % choose not to live forever, until the moment they about to die, then they change their mind.

In the end, though, everybody change their mind and give up.

Eh, aging vs. dying... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140573)

Invulnerable immortality would be Very Bad Indeed, the sort of thing that mortals who especially piss off the classical Greek pantheon get stuck with.

A freedom from biological aging(ideally with somewhat superior regenerative capabilities than presently available, to cover life' nicks, bumps, and 3rd-degree-burns-covering-94%-of-your-body) though seems like it would be an obvious good. Even if it turns out that ennui makes life untenable at age 150, I don't see any advantages to being a shriveled, arthritic shell, rather than aging to early 20s-ish and just staying there until life grows uninteresting.

Boredom, seriously? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140583)

I suppose I can understand some arguments for cutting your life short based on overcrowding, etc., but I think we can get over that with science.

But limited lifespan because of boredom? I mean, have you *seen* this world we live in? If you can't come up with enough different things to do, and see, and explore, and discover, and wonder about to last you thousands of years, you are doing it wrong. That's not even thinking about all the incredible people you get to meet.

Re:Boredom, seriously? (2)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140843)

This presupposes that old age can be achieved without a significant decline in one's ability to enjoy the world. I'm sure you can do many fun things at a young age, but if you can't see, can't move without pain, can't hear too well, forget about things constantly, or are in physical pain then you might want to punch an early ticket out of this world.

Sample bias much? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140617)

Asking for a show of hands at the start of a bioscience lecture?

Let's see him ask a bunch of 80 year olds how many of them don't want to live past 80... That would be just as biased but I think the answers would be more interesting.

It's easy for relatively young people to say they won't mind dying sometime in the distant future...

Sunset Squad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140621)

I promote the idea from Futurama. Keep working on improving and lengthing life, but then have a cut-off point. 100 and something birthday where you would then be picked up by the Sunset Squad, never to be seen again. Get rid of all the years where it takes you an hour to get out of bed in the morning (excluding hangover nights)

Wrong question (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140623)

This is a wrong question. It's not about "how long do you want to live?", it's about: "do you want to die?"

You see, when rephrased this way it is more correct, it's final. It's not like after living for 60-100 years you have too many options left but dying, what are you going to do? But do you really think when the time comes you will want to die? In some cases people do want to die, even much sooner than their natural end.

We had a cat that lived for almost 20 years, she died a couple of months ago, she didn't want to die. She didn't want to die at all, even though it had various health problems and was in a bad shape, it couldn't eat by the end. One day before it died, it made a real effort to communicate for the last time. I don't it chose to die, it just could not continue living and there is a difference.

How much time do people want to live? Well, I can imagine that those who are not interested in going before their time would not want to die regardless of their age. OTOH if their did not mean that their health deteriorated, then why would they want to die at all?

Longer lifespan = greater population (1)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140635)

Current estimates have the global population leveling off at ten billion, with the the Earth able to sustain a maximum of two billion at a consumption level equal to the average American. Those estimates are based on current technology, however. With a dramatic increase in lifespan we would be looking at a very significant population bump, and with us already unable to sustain the existing population... I've often wondered if the ability to extend people's lives already exists and the people who came up with it, independently perhaps, have just kept it to themselves. They are, presumably, smart people after all.

Re:Longer lifespan = greater population (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140915)

Know what happens after the global population "levels off" at ten billion?

Max Age versus Life Expectancy (4, Interesting)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140637)

While life expectancy has increased over time due to improved diet, health care, lower infant mortality etc the max age has held steady.
Even 200 years ago you could live into your 80's or 90's as long as you survived past around 10.

Re:Max Age versus Life Expectancy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140707)

Averages are funny things.

Infant mortality being high in the past greatly reduced the average lifespan.

Boredom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140639)

Others were concerned about issues like boredom

I've heard this before and hav trouble comprehending it. Does anyone really find that as they get older they get more and more bored? This is completely contrary to my experience. If anything I'd say boredom is more of a young person's thing.

It really depends on quality of life (1)

tchernik (2494258) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140651)

I think almost nobody really wants to live more time, if such life is plagued with senility, disease and extreme dependence on others.

And almost everyone would like to live a bit more, if they actually could continue feeling and acting youthful, with full autonomy and capabilities.

It seems obvious, but we do appreciate our life in function of the enjoyment we get out of it.

The amount of time you would like to live is a matter of preference, but I'm certain that people that now say they would like to bite it at 120 for nature's and world's sake, would think otherwise if we really had a way to stay youthful and healthy at such advanced age.

Besides it's not like we could avoid universe's randomness forever. Sooner or later an accident or any other fortuitous reason will get you, no matter how good SENS technology gets.

I am opposed to age extensions (4, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140655)

Seriously. I am in the 30% that is considerate of the consequences of people living a long time.

For a poignant example, look at the current USA. We have an aging "boomer" generation. If you aren't familiar with the problems an aging boomer generation is causing, google is your friend. Now, imagine them living another 60 years. 100 years... FOREVER.

In addition to the problems with resource allocations, the political and ideological bottlenecks immortality, or even jut artificialy ling lives would introduce would be catastrophic. Instead of a progressive civilization, which becomes more tolerant and technologically advanced, we would have an ideologically stilted, recalcitrant population of aged and possibly immortal persons halting all forms of social progress.

I would actually campaign for a shorter, but less labor intensive life than a longer one.

Re:I am opposed to age extensions (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140877)

A series of all-you-can-eat Old Country Buffet locations, featuring 24/7 bingo and an impossibly confusing exit route would go a long way toward achieving a mutually agreeable settlement to this problem...

Re:I am opposed to age extensions (4, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140949)

The problem is that no generation of people stops to consider themselves as a roadblock toward the advancement of the generation that will come after.

Note all the self-directed answers in this thread, for instance.

I don't know about you, but I don't want a person who was born 5 centuries ago battling against me at the polls concerning societal issues, like gay rights, or even teaching evolution in schools. (Note, 500 years ago was in the dark ages. With immortal people, that becomes a stark reality.)

I don't want any generation doing that to aother, becase they refuse to die. Death is necessary.

I plan to live forever, of course (2)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140657)

but barring that I'd settle for a couple thousand years. Even five hundred would be pretty nice.

-- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
MorganLink 3DVision Interview

When i no longer have a keen sense of intelligence (1)

linuxdude96 (1382885) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140661)

I will end it all when my brain strarts turning to mush and dripping out my nose.

Misconceptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140677)

The biggest misconception I've found personally in hypothetical questions about immortality is that of aging. By its natural implication the coming promises of immortality also solve aging. Which will be an interesting marketing challenge to the upcoming anti-aging drugs.

I blame Meryl Streep (1)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140681)

Sounds like too many people saw Death Becomes Her.

Try a better example (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140693)

But wouldn't long life allow people like Albert Einstein to accomplish more and try new things?

Einstein isn't such a good example - his scientific output dropped essentially to zero after the late 30's because he refused to accept quantum mechanics. He spent the last decades of his life trying to find an alternate explanation, despite mounting experimental evidence that he was wrong.

Re:Try a better example (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140947)

He may actually be a fairly good example, in that sense. It isn't actually clear how much of scientific(and other) sorts of progress happens because people change their minds, and how much happens because the old guard gradually dies off and leaves room for the new kids who are no less set in their ways; but were updated to the newer ways before ossifying.

At very least, a population of undying crotchety old people would require significant re-thinking about how the labor market is supposed to work...

Stockholm Syndrome (5, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140705)

This kind of thinking is basically Stockholm Syndrome writ very large.

Let's say you asked people a thousand years ago, "Would you want to live with a king?". I'm sure the vast majority would have said "no", and come up with a bunch of reasons why that would be personally undesirable and socially perilous. The reasoning is so transparently irrational it's ludicrous.

Talk to a genealogist (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140713)

the life expectancy of Americans, driven by improved hygiene, nutrition, and new medical discoveries and interventions, has jumped from 47 years to almost 80

Talk to a genealogist, its a bogus number. Life expectancy at birth, given that at least half used to die as babies or little kids.

Most birth-death years in my family tree are like 1854-1855 (whoops) or 1853-1930 (a good long while). Not much in between, other than maybe 5% of the women died around childbirth age around a year or so after the last baby. Stereotypical electronics "bathtub curve" plus the danger of giving birth. The main change in the last 200 years or so is if you are born, you'll probably live to age 10, whereas in the olden days if you were born you'd probably die before age 10, but some made it till 80s, just like now.

Religion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140751)

I wonder how religion changes the answer rates. I'm an atheist and I want to live forever. The end of consciousness seems really shitty to me and people who say they want to die are crazy to me. As far as resources go, I'd settle for never having children if I got to live forever. That would stop a whole ton of my descendants from being around to use up resources.

Perspective (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140753)

When I was 25, I was in the best shape of my life. I had a decent job and more than enough money coming in so that I didn't stress between pay cheques. I was good looking and getting laid easily. In short, I was happy, healthy and ignorant in the greater workings of the World around me. Had you asked me this question then, I'd have immediately answered, "Give me Immortality". Now, well, things have changed. I am older. My health isn't as vibrant as it was then. I have a better understanding of the cost of living each day/month/year. I know what it takes to maintain my QoL. Ask me today and I'm sure I'd answer more cautiously, asking for some much needed details before I gave my final answer.

What about you?

Choice? (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140775)

(As a U.S. American...) If there was a realistic choice when spending money on health care and insurance - or rather the extent to which we spend money there - we could start having a more sincere discussion. I would be of the opinion to save money and have a better nest egg to give to my family and die at a normal 50 to 75 years old. My view (pun intended) on these issues is jaded though since I have retinal pigmentosa degeneration and will be going blind eventually (unless something is found to cure or artificially supplement vision.) The best thing _I_ can do is take vitamin A supplements. Though I would prefer that I had more of a choice - spend nest egg on fix or just go blind and give that money to the family. What we have now is an abomination where we realistically have no choice, we give massive portions of income to health insurance companies who skim from that "investment", and then we get old and expect to have something in return. All the while expecting this infusion of funds while at the end of life and not enjoying it.

Still running long distances at 80 (1)

alanw (1822) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140777)

I was out marshalling a local fell race in the wind and rain earlier today with my 80 year old friend. Read his blog [blogspot.co.uk] and be inspired.

Death Panel (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140781)

Until the death panel tells me it is my time to die of course! :)

Talk to someone who's lost others (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140789)

As a person who lost both of my parents at a relatively young age... both due to brain cancer... I already know that there's an extraordinarily large chance that I'll be walking down that same road.

So if there's something I can sign up for for infinite life, just show me where to sign. Before it's too late.

Morgan Industries answer (4, Funny)

jensend (71114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140795)

I plan to live forever, of course, but barring that I'd settle for a couple thousand years. Even five hundred would be pretty nice.

-- CEO Nwabudike Morgan, MorganLink 3DVision Interview

(from one of the best games ever made [wikipedia.org] )

What a hypocrite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140805)

So Einstein had already benefited from an artificially extended lifespan, but no no no, let's not look for more, and let's condemn future generations to our pathetic lifespan while trees and lobsters dance on our graves.

Euthanasia (4, Insightful)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140813)

This recent news story in the UK [bbc.co.uk] Makes me sad. It doesn't matter how long you want to live if you have no legal choices when you want to stop living.

It seems like we give our pets more compassion at the end of their lives than we do our fellow humans.

Re:Euthanasia (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140929)

I don't get the fact that the legal system has to be involved. It shows how little control we perceive that we have which is not true.

You can murder a load of people if you really want and get chucked in jail (Brevik for example).

You can steal stuff and get chucked in jail.

You can cut your own fingers off and post them to the president and you'll get chucked in a nut farm.

The pattern above is consequences.

There are no applicable consequences if you are dead. Assisted suicide is easy enough to "configure" without incriminating any other parties.

Plenty of people kill themselves successfully without satisfying any legal conditions.

Depends on health (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140827)

If I had my 20 y/o body, I'd have no objection to living hundreds of years (or more). Hell, even with my current 50 y/o body, I could deal with that. But I sure wouldn't want to be like my mom's bedridden, aching & paining, half-senile, 93 y/o neighbor. Or even some of her children, who are falling apart at MY age, or earlier.

120 years - work in Alzheimers research (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140831)

I would say 120 years, actually.

Look, you can extend your functional life by periodic fasting (reduced caloric intake with water, minerals, and vitamins) for 10-14 days every 10 years or so, you can stop smoking (+10 years), you can get mild to moderate exercise 2-4 times a week for 15-60 minutes (+10 years), you can drink (males only) red wine with meals (2-4 glasses avg), and you can eat a varied diet low in red meat and low in processed foods. And you can reduce stress and get enough sleep.

This will keep you functional.

But after a certain age, your risk factor for Alzheimers and Cardiovascular disease starts going up quite a bit.

We're working on growing organs - literally - and it's coming along, so maybe we can replace part of your liver or other organs, but my current educated guess is maybe 120 years fully functional.

More than that ... would require better understanding of not just the primary biochemical pathways regulated by mRNA, miRNA, siRNA, etc but also literal DNA/RNA repair with targeted strands. And a deeper understanding of not just the secondary biochemical pathways, but also the evolutionarily conserved tertiary pathways you inherited from when we were fish or rats.

(my humble opinion, maybe something will happen to change the current science)

Do you want to live in a society of really old people enslaving the youth in Hunger Games?

For me, eternal life only if... (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140833)

eternal youth!

fanboy much? (1, Troll)

jcgam69 (994690) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140859)

It would also mean that geniuses like Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein might still be alive.

I cannot believe Jobs is even mentioned in the same sentence as Einstein! Outrageous!

I'm in the 10% (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140889)

150 years would be fine. It would mean I'm only 1/3 through my lifespan right now. And honestly if you could go to 200 or 300 years I'd go for that too.

Sure, there'd be a LOT of boredom in that span but I know how to deal with boredom.

am i the only one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140895)

I am somewhat comforted knowing that one day everything will fade into the abyss of nothingness, including my self. However I don't have a timeframe in mind for this to happen. So I would answer the titular question, "Until I'm done". Even if medicine/tech allows me to last to the cold death of the universe itself, I might want to depart sooner than that.

Also, I find it interesting that, should "immortality" become feasible, we will seriously have to rethink our cultural views on suicide.

until humans are intelligent (2)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140899)

I'd like to hang around to see if humans, or any descendent species, ever achieves species-wide intelligence. Homo sapiens sapiens certainly hasn't.

Mid-life perspective (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41140903)

I'm closing rapidly on turning 40 now. I'm a smart guy and always a bit mentally old for my age. I've been working (in the internet / software engineering / whatever industry) since I was 18. Life's already getting old for me. Mostly, it's about the job thing. If I could *retire* today and never worry about things like money or healthcare again, I think I could enjoy hundreds of years, perhaps even eternity. You know, just me and my hobbies, dinners and drinks with friends from time to time, traveling, exploring, absorbing wisdom, etc.

But on the other hand, assuming my health continues to deterioriate at the human average rate (like it has so far), and that I keep having to work for someone day in and day out until "retirement", which might be... when? age 60, 65, 70? Who knows how "retirement" age will continue to push out as a I age.... Well honestly if that's the situation (and it seems to be) I'm kinda done with life already. Not worth the additional pain and annoyance. It's really only an unrealistic hope of unexpected happy surprises that keeps me going now, and that hope will continue to fade over time.

Even if we assume that fixing the human age limit includes as part of the package fixing most healthcare issues in general, and we can have, say, 25-45-year-old-ish bodies for very long periods of time, it's the work / economy / retirement / inflation issue that's gonna drag me down. Fix that Star Trek style: give us cheap nearly-infinite energy from solar/fusion, and the ability to insta-manufacture just about anything, which then obviates the whole economy system and lets everyone just enjoy life as they will (with some choosing to be scientists and producers of the rare things that need humans, and the rest just enjoying life). THEN maybe long life will be appealing to me.

Revealed preferences (5, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140935)

And yet, when those pills hit the market, they will all line up to buy it. This poll reveals how people think in "far mode". People enter "far mode" when contemplating events they assume are unlikely or distant in the future... far more is selfless, idealistic. Put the pill under their nose and you'll get a very different reaction.

How do I know? Old people don't massively take their own life, people overwhemingly chose treatment when facing cancer, etc.

It's soothing to imagine one's to be comfortable with death, it makes the whole prospect less absurd and cruel. This is just a protective form of denial, unfortunately, death-ism seriously hampers anti-aging research.

I'd like to live as long as women do (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 2 years ago | (#41140955)

Right now men, almost across the board in every country live 5 years less than women do. I'd like to see some work into determining why, and doing something about it.

By almost every measure, men have higher incidents of disease, including cancer. Men represent 93% of workplace deaths in the US. Men represent 3/4 of suicides in the US. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the suicide rate seems to follow economic indicators - and suicide rates skyrocket after typical retirement ages (they don't for women.)

It's one of the reasons I found all the hooplah about free benefits for women in Obama's healthcare overhaul to be very puzzling...until I realized it was a vote-buying gesture to kiss and make up with women voters in an election year, after he pissed them off with his abortion stance.

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