José Luis Cordeiro is the director of the Millennium Project and a man who speaks with incredible conviction about the future. His new book, The Death of Death, soon to be released in English, deals with the world’s greatest virus – death. His thesis is quite simple. By 2029 or thereabouts we should all be able to map our Genome sequence in under a few days – possibly as little as a few hours. This will allow us to identify the diseases which we are likely to die from, those we have inherited from our parents and the germs which we all carry, and eliminate them all in our children.
Born by accident
He believes that we are the last people on earth to be born “by accident” rather than by design and that, in the future, people will look back in horror that it took so long for man to figure out how to stop dying. Cordeiro believes that from 2045 onwards, no one will die.
The consequences of living forever
His passion and enthusiasm was infectious when he presented recently at the Dublin Tech Summit in Ireland. He did not, however, deal with all of the issues which flow from that future. Do we actually agree with the idea of designer babies (for that is, in essence, what he is talking about)? Will the rich have the ability to design for business-savviness, artistic brilliance or technical wizardry? How will we feed a world in which no-one dies? Will anyone need to work with all the advances in AI? How will we feel we are valued?
Freezing and thawing living humans
Cordeiro also believes that we need to master the technology which would allow us to freeze humans and bring them back to life again. He spoke of cryogenic suspension (I’m a fan…I’d love to come back every 50 years to spend a couple of years seeing how the world works and then hop back into my chamber for another 50 years or so. Anyway – I digress!!). He believes that, if it takes 6 months to get to Mars, and a year to get to Venus, we should work on developing a way of freezing humans so that they sleep through space-travel and arrive fresh and ready to explore.
His world is a world without pain, disease… but what of mental health? Think of how people suffered recently during the Covid pandemic. How isolated and alone they felt. How their confidence levels dropped to new lows. How they began to question their role in the world, their families, their jobs. How will we protect and preserve the mental health of humans in the future?
I’m looking forward to the release of The Death of Death. It has already been published in multiple languages and is about to be published in English and Chinese. I can’t wait to read it, absorb the ideas, and start an argument about its contents. The future is largely unknown. Bring it on!