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Sci-Fi Books Science

Transhumanist Children's Book Argues, "Death Is Wrong" 334

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-you-want-to-live-forever? dept.
destinyland writes "Hoping to inspire life-extending medical research, science fiction author Gennady Stolyarov has launched a campaign to give away 1,000 free copies of his transhumanist picture book for children, Death is Wrong. 'My greatest fear about the future is not of technology running out of control or posing existential risks to humankind,' he explains. 'Rather, my greatest fear is that, in the year 2045, I will be...wondering, "What happened to that Singularity we were promised by now...?"' Along with recent scientific discoveries, the book tells its young readers about long-lived plants and animals '"that point the way toward lengthening lifespans in humans,' in an attempt to avoid a future where children 'would pay no more attention to technological progress and life-extension possibilities than their predecessors did.'"
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Transhumanist Children's Book Argues, "Death Is Wrong"

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  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jhon (241832) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @12:02PM (#46499055) Homepage Journal

    Why is this here? Because it's arguing about extending human life.

    To say "death is wrong" is like saying "fly death is wrong" or "spider death is wrong". It isn't wrong. It's built in to the system.

    "And in spite of pride and erring reason spite, one truth stands clear -- what ever is, is right" (A. Pope -- An essay on man -- not sure if I have the quote exact, but it's pretty close).

    I'm all for advances in science improving the QUALITY of life and allowing us to live as long as we naturally can -- but to live forever? Even beyond whatever is currently our max (maybe 120 or 130 years)? It poses ethical questions itself -- not the opposite that it's WRONG to not live forever.

  • by PsychoSlashDot (207849) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @12:10PM (#46499135)
    You know that birth rates are highest in areas where mortality rates are highest, right? It's not the stable, healthy, wealthy nations that are producing huge numbers of humans. It's the struggling, starving and poor nations that are breeding in excess. Part of longevity assumes appropriate availability of heath and nourishment resources. There's a strong reason to suspect that if we were effectively immortal, our birth rates would drop to sustainable rates, or less.
  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @12:17PM (#46499199) Journal

    The singularity is a fascinating idea that ain't going to happen. Vernor Vinge himself did a much better treatment [sdsu.edu] on what happens in this case.

    We're already living in the Age of Failed Dreams. Advancements in technology, aside from computing, have all but halted. Flying cars? We can barely improve planes; yes, that IS your fathers airframe. Cheap and limitless energy? Nope. Life extension? John Adams died at 90 over 200 years ago, and he wasn't THAT unusual; many more live that long today, but few live much longer. Progress on stopping disease has even stopped and regressed. And most notably for the purposes of the singularity, strong general AI hasn't progressed much.

  • Not a bad idea. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @01:43PM (#46499815) Homepage

    I like this line of thinking. I mean, there's fish and lizards and stuff out there that live for hundreds of years... Why not humans?

    I for one think that a longer life might be the key first step to that bright-shiny technological future we've been promised; Imagine what some of the greatest minds of our time could accomplish with an extra hundred years, or even an extra sixty.

    Besides... Future generations should have a better life than us, otherwise what was the point?

  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @01:50PM (#46499865)

    > Without death, there's no evolution possible

    Unless a species can modify its own biology, or the evolution of _technology_ or of _societies_ can be included. And in practice, it is: evolution is not just DNA biology, it involves entire ecosystems and behavior that are effective, but contained nowhere within the biology of a species.

  • Death is natural (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Suffering Bastard (194752) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @02:36PM (#46500161)

    I find it the essence of emotional immaturity to fear death so much we need to somehow eradicate it or even just call it "wrong." Death is quite right and quite natural. We'd do much better getting to know death as a good thing, as the natural term limit to our personal administrations, so that we can get out there and live...fully!

    I believe the most powerful thing you can do is make death your friend. Let it advise you, guide you, make you stronger. It takes work, maybe most of a lifetime, but I believe it's well worth it, and certainly a much more sensible approach than railing against the bars of your emotional crib, screaming over not having enough.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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