Cryonics, artificial intelligence & rejuvenation biotechnologies: Why you might live much longer than you think!

Look at the following two graphs:
a graph showing energy consumption
(source for both graphs)
How likely do you think the world will still be roughly the same in about 50 years? What about 100 years? Don’t you think it is at least possible that the world will undergo enormous changes within your life time – similar to the changes between now and 1800?

I see three paths that might lead to an “eternal” life (a life that is hundreds, thousands or even millions of years long):
  1. the “conventional way”: Science finds a way to cure aging and rejuvenate the body before you die.
  2. Human level artificial intelligence is invented and leads to a rapid technological process (sometimes called “the Singularity” or an “Intelligence Explosion”). Once we get there, finding a cure for aging will become trivial.
  3. You actually die, but thanks to cryonics you get revived some time in the future when (1) or (2) has already happened.
A lot has already been written on all of these three points, so rather than reinventing the wheel by writing my own article, I will mostly just provide links and comments to other useful resources on these topic.

#1 way to live forever: Science & rejuvenation biotechnology

“Just as a vintage car can be kept in good condition indefinitely with periodic preventative maintenance, there is no reason why, in principle, the same can’t be true of the human body. We are, after all, biological machines.” – Aubrey de Grey, a leading rejuvenation biotechnology researcher

The science of longevity is quickly gaining momentum and has recently made some exciting progresses. This video provides a brief overview:

Some more interesting links:
I also like to just read articles on Just type “longevity” in the search bar on the website. I feel like Scientific American is less biased or sensational than the other websites above.

Here is Aubrey de Grey’s Ted Talk on the topic. The talk is already a view years old, but mostly still relevant. Aubrey de Grey is one ot the most popular figures in the “Fight Aging” movement. He is the founder of SENS:

This article titled “The ‘Science Will Not Defeat Aging in my Lifetime so Why Bother?’ Argument, and Why We Should be More Optimistic” is also worth reading.

some more thoughts:
  1. Given the complexity of aging, many have questioned whether curing aging is even realistic (Warner et al., 2005Olshansky et al., 2006Holliday, 2009). There is no scientific reason, however, to think that aging cannot be cured (reviewed in de Magalhaes, 2014a). After all, curing aging does not violate any law of physics.
  2. At the moment, curing aging is still “pretty far off”.  But so was the claim that “everyone will have a supercomputer in their pockets”, when the first computer (which was very big) was build.  And nobody in 1920 would have even remotely imagined a heart transplantation. And yet it happened just 47 years later. There is also the “Law of Accelerating Returns” – the law that technology tends to grow exponentially. In the next 10 years we might make similar progress like we did in the past 20 years. In the next 50 years the world might change in similar ways like it did in the past 200 years! This concept of exponential growth is nicely explained here.
  3. The quest to find a cure for aging is only just starting to gain momentum. But once the “human colossus” starts to fully work on the problem, progress will occur much faster. In particular the fact that big figures like Craig Venter or Google (only fairly recently!) tapped into this area makes me hopeful that funding & interest in this field will rapidly increase in the future.
  4. Almost all current research (rightfully) goes into “increasing healthy lifespan”  (the time we spent active and not sick) rather than “increasing total lifespan”. But progress in one area often also benefits the other and I suspect that most scientists working on the first area secretly hope for progress on the latter. Note there is a strong economic incentive to increasing healthy lifespan (hence, Google & Co are on the field).
  5. Some living organism can already get fairly old: The Aldabra giant tortoise can live 200+ years, some lobsters 100+, Greenland sharks ~400 years, the clam arctica islandica 507 years (source). So there is at least a “proof of concept”.
  6. All this talk is really about “negligible senescence”, aka: “Reversing the effects of aging”. This has nothing to do with “immortality”. Being hit by an Asteroid will most likely kill you even in 5000 years (unless you have a copy of your brain & state of consciousness somewhere else).

#2 way to live forever: Intelligence Explosion (or Singularity)

 To inform yourself on this topic, it is probably best if you simply read the following article on
Even if funding & research into the science of longevity completely ceases in the near future or turns out to be a fruitless endeavor, the “problem of death” might still be solved within your lifetime if the Singularity happens and a human-friendly artificial superintelligence  “arises” . This artificial superintelligence would be so smart that it can solve any problem, including the “death problem”. Conveniently, it could also solve all other “human problems”, e.g. the “happiness problem” (the problem that life usually isn’t at its best). Hence the “blissful” part in Eternal Blissful Life could be fullfilled this way, too.
The term superintelligence was first used by Nick Bostrom and describes “an hypothetical agent that is far smarter than the human brain in practically every field, including science, creativity, general wisdom and social skills.”
Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, termed the phrase (technological) “Singularity”.
Some key points:
  • It is unclear when & if AI will reach human-level intelligence”. But if it does so, it seems likely this will quickly also lead to “superintelligence”. See the explanation in the Wait But Why article above.
  • Once we have superintelligence, “we have everything”, including most likely a cure for aging.
  • According to many experts, artificial intelligence poses a serious (the most serious?!) existential risk. And no: “Just putting it in a box and unplugging it if it misbehaves” will not get you very far. At the same time, artificial human level intelligence could be “the best thing that ever happened to humanity.”
When will we have “general human-level intelligence” (with Superintelligence shortly thereafter)?

Here is a survey of the 100 most cited AI scientists asked when human-level-machine-intelligence will be invented:

  Median response Mean response Standart deviation
10% chance of human-level machine intelligence 2024 2034 33 years
50% chance of human-level machine intelligence 2050 2072 110 years
90% chance of human-level machine intelligence 2070 2168 342 years

(source for table)

You can see the experts give a 50% chance of human-level AI happening by 2050, just 32 years in the future. Admittedly, they are very uncertain, but high uncertainty also means it could arrive sooner rather than later.

Humans are generally really bad in predicting the future. Here is an in-depth article on the arrival of human-level artificial intelligence, that tries to go beyond the hype and also explores some reasons why the current predictions might be flawed.


some more links:
  • If you want to get excited about this topic, Ray Kurzweil is the man you have to follow! Here are his Ted talks and further links on him.
  • Nick Bostrom seems to me to be a little bit more “realistic”/less sensational on this topic. Watch his talks here and here.
  • google “singularity” – there are a ton of articles on this topic out there.

#3 way to live forever: Cryonics

Cryonics  is the low temperature preservation (usually at −196 °C) of people who cannot be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that resuscitation and restoration to full health may be possible in the far future. Cryopreservation of humans is not reversible with present technology; The hope is that medical advances will someday allow cryopreserved people to be revived.
some links:

To me, the most important thing to know about cryonics is summarized in this graph taken from

No matter how likely it is that cryonics will lead to a new life, one thing is for sure: The likelihood is even lower (zero!) if you don’t sign up for cryonics.