Mortality and behavior (was: Queen Mum dies)

Russell Turpin
Mon, 01 Apr 2002 23:21:22 +0000

Eugene Leitl:
>This is only constructive as long as death is unavoidable.

That's debatable.

Some actuaries once did a study of how long humans would
live on average, if all disease were cured, and all
debilitations from aging correctable. People would still
die, of course. Accidents and violence happen. People
would still get whacked by the boom during accidental
gybes, run over by buses, cut into little pieces by
angry lovers, blown to bits by terrorists and kidnappers,
smashed in car crashes, pulverized in airline crashes,
and beheaded by terrorists. The actuary assumed that
such accidents continue at the same rate, and calculated
that average human lifespan would be just over 700 years.

Well, that's much better than it is now. But far short
of the megayears of which you write. No doubt the
assumption is wrong, since people would become more
careful. And technology would lessen the risk of some
activities. But would people really become *completely*
risk averse? In order to avoid all risk, to achieve your
promised immortality, are you really willing to sit
cocooned, never meeting new lovers, never swimming in
the ocean, never sailing a boat, never climbing a
ladder, never riding a car or bus, never flying, never
traveling to exotic nations, never climbing a mountain,
never rowing a boat, never doing anything that carries
a risk of fatal accident?

For myself, there is more to life than avoiding death.
That's not small mammal frozen by a snake. That's vital
mammal refusing to huddle in the back of a cave, just
because technology offers that option.

>If you're one step away from effective immortality

Alas, we're not. But we've had this debate before, so
I'm going to pass on it, this time.

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