I made some references to being a Queen fan in a previous post and mentioned the song “39.” On my birthday a few days ago I averaged the lifespans of my Mother and Father and figured out what year I would die if that average held true- and it was, coincidentally, 2039. Less than 20 years to go.
The most likely method of star travel is going to be the “slow boat” that takes several centuries to reach a fairly close star by travelling at well under ten percent of the speed of light. The crew would almost certainly be frozen and even though massively shielded from radiation would likely still have to be re-animated periodically. The reason for the wake-ups for several months each time would be so their bodies could repair damage done by unavoidable energetic particles. The slow boat would be accelerated by beam propulsion out of the solar system and use H-bombs to slow down upon reaching a destination. This would require an immense space solar power infrastructure and is not likely to happen in the next 20 years.
A recent article about a new therapy that can reverse aging was interesting, except it is only good for 2 years. That bumps me up to 2041…maybe. Humans are great at imagining the best possible scenarios and making them reality. That is, they lie to themselves and then try and turn that lie into truth. I prophesy around 2040 freezing people without damage and thus allowing them to be revived decades later will be perfected- and I will be fading fast and among the first to go into cold storage.
Since nobody will allow their loved ones to simply die when there is hope for them to be cured of their condition or aging reversed- the terminally ill and the elderly will all be frozen. With 56 million people a year going into storage facilities those solutions will simply have to be found. So…at some point in the future I consider it quite possible I will be awakened from a frozen state and start aging backwards. I am familiar with the work of Hugo DeGaris and considering his worldview I might also expect to be gradually “enhanced” in that future new age. How the existence of Artilects (super intelligent artificial intellects) will affect humankind is unknown. We cannot even guess. I can, however, speculate that in some sense it will be as if I died because I will not be the same person I am now. So be it.
Perhaps humans will form binary personalities and then even larger composite minds. This joining of minds is not my idea and has been around since E.E. Doc Smith wrote his space operas in the 1930’s. When my wife is washing dishes I often rest my chin on her shoulder. I will then ask her, “would you let them transplant my head onto your body to save my life? Then we would always be together. Wouldn’t that be great?” She does not think it would be so great. And that is my-hoped-for-imagined-future. Kind of.
A proposal to create an artificial black hole propelled starship using a parabolic reflector to reflect Hawking radiation was discussed in 2009 by Louis Crane and Shawn Westmoreland. This is the most likely “fast boat.” There is a possibility many slow boats will head out and then be intercepted a century or so later by these fast boats. It has always been a mystery to me why the entertainment industry cannot take these most likely scenarios and build stories around them instead of the garbage that passes for science fiction. It is depressing because it seems we are a basically stupid species which means my imagined best future is a throw of the dice…at best.
It is not just our bad science fiction not providing any expectations of success, it is actual threats to our species we simply ignore. Despite continuing evidence of the rock that ended the dinosaurs, we are not worried. Despite continuing evidence of past volcanic epics that caused mass extinctions, we are not worried. Despite continuing advances in genetic engineering that could create a doomsday plague, we are not worried. From heaven above, from hell below, and from test tubes in modest labs around the world, we turn away and ignore these most serious threats.
The problem, of course, is we are already on death row in this great open air prison called Earth. Why should we waste our time worrying? As long as every story ends with execution we are not likely to focus on the rest of the human race ceasing to exist- and will continue to watch bad science fiction.