“In the 21st century, humans are likely to make a serious bid for immortality,” Homo Deus author, Yuval Noah Harari, wrote in in 2015.
Life expectancy has risen considerably the past few decades. Experts speculate people could live to 130, 150 or even 200 years old; gerontologist Aubrey de Grey says the “first person to live 1,000 has already been born.”
Technological advancements in medicine and artificial intelligence are testing the boundaries of flesh and blood. Trans-humanism — enhancing physical and mental abilities with technology and science — may soon move from the realm of the superhero action movie to real life…at least real life for truly uber-rich.
It’s the wealthy, mostly of Silicon Valley, who have the best chance at benefitting.
Venture capitalists like Joon Fun, Larry Page and Peter Thiel, among others, are bankrolling immorality science-driven startups.
“Probably the most extreme form of inequity is between people who are alive and people who are dead,” Thiel told the New Yorker magazine in 2011.
That vital difference may have to do more with what’s in your bank account than your DNA.
For example, money can keep your hopes alive through cryogenics. But freezing requires not only strong faith, but also steep cash. Alcor of Arizona offers the service for $200,000. KrioRus, of Russia, offers it at a bargain of $36,000.
British futurologist Ian Pearson told The Sun, “If you’re younger than 40 reading this article you’re probably not going to die.”
The catch, you have to live to 2050 when medical and technological advances are expected to drastically improve longevity, especially if you have a cushy bank account.
The University of Washington found life expectancy can vary upwards of 20 or more years between wealthy counties in Central Colorado compared with poorer ones in Indian reservations in South Dakota.
British boys born in the upscale London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea can hope to live longer than those in Blackpool in north-west England by an average of 8.6 years, according to the Office of National Statistic figures.
Life After Death
Being rich even improves your chances at life after death.
Imagine if you could upload your mind to the Cloud. What if you could remove your attachment to your physical body and the world?
David Chalmers, an Australian philosopher and cognitive scientist, questions what it would mean to your survival if you could make a digital copy of your mind. Would you be conscious or just a copy of yourself? Will some rich people have a physical immortality while others can only upload or die?
And while we don’t know the answer, we can safely assume the price tag associated with immortality or “Cloud brain” will be a hefty one.