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Project Vision 21

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How many more years will we live and for what?

I recently told a friend that insurance companies currently (in fact, for some time now) issue coverage up to 120 years of age, anticipating that in a short time that will be the duration of our active and healthy life. Obviously, my comment was rejected with total skepticism, both for "scientific" and "theological" reasons.

Be that as it may, and leaving aside the fact that in the visionary animated series Futurama Professor Farnsworth remains active at 160, a recent clinical study published in California indicates that a “cocktail” of three common medications can reverse biological age of a person in up to 2.5 years.

In other words, and so that there are no doubts, with these medications the person rejuvenates 2.5 years. And that is achieved with the knowledge and technology now available, which suggests that, once both knowledge and technology progress, the number of years of rejuvenation will grow.

Due to the fact that the current technoscientific development is exponential, one can think that in the near future the number of years that a person can rejuvenate will be a considerable amount, perhaps even tens of years. In fact, according to the aforementioned report, that is exactly what already happens in animal experiments.

But, as the ancients already said, a healthy body needs a healthy mind. And, in that sense, recent studies in the human brain have already confirmed both the phenomenon of neurogenesis (the brain creates new neurons, contrary to what was taught before) and the phenomenon of neuroplasticity (the brain creates new connections between neurons).

Also, Elon Musk and others want to establish a direct connection between the human brain and artificial intelligence, a development that, when added to that new understanding of our brain, means that the "new" brain would continue to operate at full capacity for years and years.

In fact, according to a recent article in the specialized journal Nature Biotechnology, two Harvard scientists, Shaun Patel and Charles M. Lieber, have already developed a system that allows, through a network of neuronal implants (and direct connections between the brain and computer) treat diseases (Parkinson's, Alzheimer's) and addictions, and it is even possible to "prevent the brain from degrading with age."

When that improved human brain (a project that is already underway) is "merged" (as Patel suggested) with artificial intelligence, the brain will not only be able to perceive its own thoughts, but to "manifest" them, then developing the ability to cure itself. 

Given these advances, and taking into account that until a little over a century ago the life expectancy was less than 50 years, it is then clearly possible to think that in a short time living an active and healthy life until 120 years or even beyond that it is no longer a simple fantasy, and it is not something contrary to science or, in fact, to theology.

What will we live for? After all, the mere extension of life creates a longer future, but not necessarily a new meaning for life. 

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