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Haglund
2003-Nov-26, 09:34 AM
While answering a question about the death of our sun and where we might go in 5 billion years when it happens, I came to think of something.

If what we call "us" would still be around 5 billion years from now, then in what shape would that be? No doubt would we be very different from what we are now, with genetic engineering and nanotechnology etc. But would we be biological creatures, or machines, or perhaps just many individual consciouses "living" in our computer systems and machines? Or perhaps something more exotic, something we cannot imagine? Anyway, I was thinking about interplanetary and interstellar travel, and why we're trying so hard (although more funding in that area would be nice, btw) to develop ways to go somewhere, faster. We think interstellar travel is impossible because with any technology even remotely within our reach in a near future, it would still take thousands upon thousands of years to travel to other stars. Why are we so impatient, was my question. Of course, it is because our very limited lifespan. If we're going somewhere, we want to be able to experience it soon, and not when we have like a few more years to live. Now, if we, by the help of our friend technology, could make ourselves become immortal, or at least increase our lifespans to thousands of years, how would our view on matters such as interstellar travel change? I mean, even if we can invent a highly efficient antimatter drive and reach 0.9 c, it would still be difficult to travel really really far. Due to relativity, the time passing on the ship would be much less, but still the people back home would not be there when you finally reach your destination. Now if everyone could live for several millenia, I think that this would be almost important to us if we're going to be an interstellar species.

kashi
2003-Nov-26, 10:54 AM
Very true, but perhaps lengthened lifespans would slow our technological advancement as a species because we are less impatient!

QJones
2003-Nov-26, 12:01 PM
Hmmmn, I dunno about that - it depends on when people expected to retire. With a longer lifespan, you sure wouldn't be allowed to retire (especially on government money).

I mean, our lifespans are longer than ever before and our tech is progressing faster than ever before.

There are a whole bunch of ways we can improve our lifespans. Currently I'm slated to life (based on life expectancy) another 65 years. But, I'm betting in that time new life extension techniques will arise (I hope so, that's what some of my Ph.D. work is involved in). Honestly, I might never die.

Like space development, life extension is benefitted by having more people participating. And really, participation doesn't have to be extreme. The easiest way to contribute to both fields is quite easy - write to your politician, supporting the causes, and spend your money in these types of fields instead of on non-contributing stuff.

Personally, I used to see 2 new movies a month. As a New Years resolution, I decided to rent 2 movies a month (saving big money, since I pay for my girlfriend's movie ticket) and I put the savings into buying scientific magazines that support these two topics.

Our consuming power is quite a bit stronger than you'd think. Money spent on those magazine indirectly encourage people to write on those topics. People writing on those topics are usually experts in those fields, trying to make spare cash to fund further research (or at least survive). Indirectly (and with middle-men, granted) my job supports advancements in physics and the space industry.

I think my sig says it all though.

Dan Luna
2003-Nov-26, 05:08 PM
Sorry, you may live longer, but you won't be able to avoid accidents indefinitely.

Graceless
2003-Nov-26, 10:17 PM
This is also assuming that in five million years, the human race hasn't gone the way of the dinosaurs. I'm not entirely convinced that we can withstand another ice age. Back to the evolutionary goo?

Haglund
2003-Nov-26, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by kashi@Nov 26 2003, 10:54 AM
Very true, but perhaps lengthened lifespans would slow our technological advancement as a species because we are less impatient!
There's something to think about. But I think that the technological advancement would go as fast as needed, at the very least. Would we settle down and say "we can do that tomorrow", or will we still desire new breakthroughs still? If we knew that things could go fast, would we still want them to go fast, even if we could possibly lose our desire for interstellar journeys to go faster? If we had all the time in the world, maybe we could afford to accept that different things take different amount of time, if that makes sense at all.

Haglund
2003-Nov-26, 11:08 PM
Originally posted by QJones@Nov 26 2003, 12:01 PM
Hmmmn, I dunno about that - it depends on when people expected to retire. With a longer lifespan, you sure wouldn't be allowed to retire (especially on government money).

I mean, our lifespans are longer than ever before and our tech is progressing faster than ever before.
Depends on what kind of society we would have in a near or distant future. It would probably have to be different than it is now, partly because of an extreme lifespan. Difficult to imagine how that would even be. What kind of roles would we all have in such a society?


There are a whole bunch of ways we can improve our lifespans. Currently I'm slated to life (based on life expectancy) another 65 years. But, I'm betting in that time new life extension techniques will arise (I hope so, that's what some of my Ph.D. work is involved in). Honestly, I might never die.
Quite a statement there, and I'm skeptical about that, although it would certainly be cool to live forever.

QJones
2003-Nov-27, 04:29 AM
Originally posted by Dan Luna@Nov 26 2003, 05:08 PM
Sorry, you may live longer, but you won't be able to avoid accidents indefinitely.
You're very right there. Here's a little statistic for you.

If you factor out aging-relating causes of death, and only focus on accidental causes; the average lifespan increases to about 1,000 years (in today's society). That's an average lifespan based on accidents.

'Course, the world will sure change a lot in 1,000 years and all the factors would change too (like, if you knew you could live 1,000s of years, you might be more careful).

As well, Parker is correct in that the economy would sure change, and would likely not survive unless there was a lot more mechanation (would YOU want to be a garbageman forever?). However, as long as there was a demand for new technological products, I'm sure the technological advancement would continue.

It's the demand that drives much of our current economy.

Chook
2003-Dec-04, 03:47 AM
PARKER – what a Pandora’s Box you’ve opened:
You ask -
(A) - "If what we call "us" would still be around 5 billion years from now, then in what shape would that be?", and
(B) - "Now, if we, by the help of our friend technology make ourselves immortal …"
A few statements for you to comment on:
(A) Considering that …
1. Fighting for territory and conquest has gone, in a thousand years, .from spears to hydrogen bombs. We are slowly smothering our lungs by wiping out the forests. Greenhouse-warming is beginning to melt the polar caps. Terrorism is like a virus – an invisible killer.
2. Someone on the moon (Buzz Aldrin?) covered our beautiful blue planet Earth with his hand and marvelled at how man is trying to destroy himself.
3. Over the years groups of nobly-minded men have tried to establish their Utopia but have always failed – because of man’s failing and weaknesses such as ambition, pride, greed etc.
4. Historically the earth is ageing. Deserts are expanding. Famines, although with us, seem to be becoming longer. HIV Aids is increasing exponentially and wiping out millions at an ever- increasing rate …
Do you think that we will last, as a civilised society, for many more years?
(B) Let me ask you …
1. Where is the PARKER in you to immortalise – the Id? (Brain researches still haven’t found it. The YOU is the sum of the parts of the brain.)
2. Supposing it were possible to halt the ageing process of a newly-born child – at what age would you halt the ageing? Before the 30’s (too energetic, ambitious, selfish, sexed?) Over 40’s (burned out?).
3. Sex would be OUT!! With no death everyone and their descendants would be continually having kids like rabbits and the world would be chock-a-block-shoulder-to-shoulder with kids within 50 years.
Still want to be immortal? Besides, PARKER, even if we lived a long time and knew everything about everything – so what! The real important thing in life is to be nice to oneanother.

Matthew
2003-Dec-04, 06:25 AM
We want to expand through the galaxy/universe so we don't all die out because an asteroid came and destroyed us all.


3. Sex would be OUT!! With no death everyone and their descendants would be continually having kids like rabbits and the world would be chock-a-block-shoulder-to-shoulder with kids within 50 years.

Contraceptives.

GOURDHEAD
2003-Dec-04, 02:49 PM
We think interstellar travel is impossible because with any technology even remotely within our reach in a near future, it would still take thousands upon thousands of years to travel to other stars.



It will take thousands of years to check out the entire galaxy, but quite a few stars can be checked out in a few hundred years. The system (essentially current technology) described at

http://hometown.aol.com/malcolmbmcneill/In...ationExplo.html (http://hometown.aol.com/malcolmbmcneill/InterstellarTransportationExplo.html)

can get you to the Alpha Centauri system in 120 years by starting tomorrow. As a robotic craft without intent to stop at any destination, a carefully chosen path through the galaxy employing gravitational deflection by specific stars, and avoiding crashing into seeable but not well lighted objects, the interstellar vehicle could survey several hundred stars within 200 or 300 years. We have to think across several generations of humans in terms of accomplishments and accruing benefits. If someone extends our life span along the way, so much the better! :rolleyes:

My guess is that we are thousands of years away from the more exotic methods (propellantless, wormholes, vacuum energy,etc.,) assuming they are at all possible, so we must slog along with what we know (or is knowable). After all, the adventure itself can't be half bad!! :unsure:

Haglund
2003-Dec-04, 03:56 PM
Originally posted by Chook@Dec 4 2003, 03:47 AM
PARKER – what a Pandora’s Box you’ve opened:
You ask -
(A) - "If what we call "us" would still be around 5 billion years from now, then in what shape would that be?", and
(B) - "Now, if we, by the help of our friend technology make ourselves immortal …"
A few statements for you to comment on:
(A) Considering that …
1. Fighting for territory and conquest has gone, in a thousand years, .from spears to hydrogen bombs. We are slowly smothering our lungs by wiping out the forests. Greenhouse-warming is beginning to melt the polar caps. Terrorism is like a virus – an invisible killer.
2. Someone on the moon (Buzz Aldrin?) covered our beautiful blue planet Earth with his hand and marvelled at how man is trying to destroy himself.
Perhaps more people "in charge" should be able to go into space, maybe to the moon so they could look back at the "pale blue dot" (as Carl Sagan said) that is our planet. Then they would realize that our planet is only a tiny island or oasis surrounded by the vast space, and that there is no other place like our planet. They would realize that we must be more careful about it, and that we must find a way to all live on the same little planet, because most of us aren't going anywhere anytime soon.


3. Over the years groups of nobly-minded men have tried to establish their Utopia but have always failed – because of man’s failing and weaknesses such as ambition, pride, greed etc.
4. Historically the earth is ageing. Deserts are expanding. Famines, although with us, seem to be becoming longer. HIV Aids is increasing exponentially and wiping out millions at an ever- increasing rate …
We can fight famines and povert, but we chose to spend large amounts on... other things instead. Perhaps saving lives isn't as exciting as doing the opposite.


Do you think that we will last, as a civilised society, for many more years?
(B) Let me ask you …
1. Where is the PARKER in you to immortalise – the Id? (Brain researches still haven’t found it. The YOU is the sum of the parts of the brain.)
2. Supposing it were possible to halt the ageing process of a newly-born child – at what age would you halt the ageing? Before the 30’s (too energetic, ambitious, selfish, sexed?) Over 40’s (burned out?).
3. Sex would be OUT!! With no death everyone and their descendants would be continually having kids like rabbits and the world would be chock-a-block-shoulder-to-shoulder with kids within 50 years.
Still want to be immortal? Besides, PARKER, even if we lived a long time and knew everything about everything – so what! The real important thing in life is to be nice to oneanother.
I think that we could have a lasting civilization for the next thousands of millenia, but only if we wanted to. Anyway, yes it would be very interesting to be immortal I think. And regarding your question on what to immortalize, I would think it is the brain, simply. I do wonder though how the brain could handle millenia of memories, impressions and thoughts? I think that either genetic engineering will be necessary, or perhaps eletronic implants to enhance our brains. As for what age to freeze ageing, I would probably choose the age I'm in now... Sex could still be possible, nothing different from today really.

Chook
2003-Dec-04, 09:49 PM
Quote MATTHEW: "Contraceptives" - (to enable us to live long lives without having children).
Matthew - there are a lot of things that we SHOULD do, but don't. Note the spread of AIDS - they should be wearing condoms - but don't - and it's costing them their lives. So I would still affirm that there would be a deadly population explosion if we lived much longer than we do at present (not to mention hunger and poverty, ending in anarchy.)
Quote PARKER:
"… there is no other place like our planet. They would realise that we must be more careful about it, and that we must find a way to all live on the same little planet, because most of us aren't going anywhere anytime soon."
Wouldn't it be nice to concentrate on finding "a way to live on this planet because" we "aren't going anywhere anytime soon."
Sure - it's great mental stimulus to let the imagination speculate freely about "living for five billion years" - but let's get real! There are poor young men dying in Iraq at this moment - what for!? It makes you want to weep for them and their families.
As an Australian I am in TOTAL support of our friends, the Americans, who saves our arses from the Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese and you know the rest. But you have your own problems - what about sending Arnold to Iraq. He'd soon find the baddies! How about a decent Health System over there? Enough, or Fraser will shoot me.
All I am suggesting is that we should be realistic in out speculation about space technologies and future developments.

eggplant
2003-Dec-04, 11:38 PM
If you read enough of my posts you'll know I generally in support of realism and pragmatic approaches. B) (don't worry I don't remember many of mine either...)
On the other hand, what if no one dreamed of a man on the moon or little green men on mars? Would the public ever have been enthused enough to support studying them? What if we didn't think what if? Jobs and Wozniak did, Gates sorta did a "what if I did too" sotra thing, but you see where it got us in a short amount of time. If you follow the genetic research publications, (sciencedaily.com) you'll quickly see that we have made and are approaching some incredible breakthroughs in every direction. Including the mechanisms of aging and organ regeneration. Most of it is awaiting the move from the pietre dish to the AMA, but you'd be amazed at what's on the table.
5 billion years is a long time, We wont be here, we&#39;ll be way over there =====> So if we get in a near light speed craft and go <============ that way in a very small arc, we&#39;ll be there in our present form. Yet we are, at the same time rehashing many a Star Trek episode... Will we be like Q? With all the power and none of the wisdom? I do have my doubts about people becoming more patient as the population lives longer, reticent perhaps, indignant ocasionally, consigned to a fate too often... but based on what I see on the freeway I believe that population growth will test the limits of peoples limits... You&#39;re not being patient if your sitting still because you cannot move...
I vote for a society of blissful intellectual propriety in which the technology meets every ones needs to the point we only have leisure time to work on our own pursuits, like hanging out in a forum... exploring the wonders of the universe, just to say I&#39;ve been there... I think we can start by sending AOL discs instead of the american military, to places that need better distractions than killing each other...(Ok we&#39;ll have to send laptops too, still cheap by comparison)
Ok I&#39;m babbling... I&#39;d like to know where we&#39;ll be then, Probably as unfathomable as the thoughts of early humans as to where they&#39;d be now... :blink: