How do you define death? Can you be dead-but-not-quit-dead? Or dead-but-with-the-possibility-of-coming-back-to-life? Sure, in science fiction, with techniques like suspended animation. But in real life? Didn’t we all laugh at certain celebrities who had their bodies frozen after they died, so they could revived at some point in the future when as-yet-undiscovered technology would make it possible?
Maybe we should stop laughing. That future may be getting closer.
Read this article from Forbes: Suspended Animation Goes Primetime: Say Goodbye To Death As We Know It – Forbes.
The really interesting thing here is the long-term implication. Right now, it looks like they can keep a body in “suspended animation” for a few hours, while they try to save the life. But what happens when that becomes two months? Or two years? Or twenty years?
If it’s just a matter of better technology – better engineering – then the longer horizon would seem to be inevitable. And the social implications will, of course, be staggering. Will suspended animation be covered by health insurance ? And, in countries like Canada where there is universal health coverage, available to all? Or will it be limited to the very rich? If the latter, then money will eventually buy a lot more than a higher quality of life: it may also buy a seriously longer postponement of death. And what is “death,” anyway?
These are questions we have never had to ask before, let alone try to answer. The “reinvention of aging” may eventually be seen as just the warm-up act: what if the real story is the reinvention of death?