Tag: immortality

South Florida Church Pursues Eternal Life Through Cryonics, Inflaming Critics and The IRS

Bill Faloon with his sons, Chase (left) and Chance.

First, Bill Faloon gives a shoutout to Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine. “We need to put a pedestal up for him,” Faloon argues.

He moves on to slides about Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov, a 19th-century Russian librarian who believed that man’s common task is to bring the dead back to life and unite all of humanity; he is the “prophet” of the church.

Faloon then tells the crowd that “cellular senescence,” when mature cells stop reproducing, is the root cause of physical aging. If scientists could only prevent this, people could stay young forever.

I never accepted death as being inevitable,” Faloon says in a business-like tone. “Technology will advance to the point where death is rather optional.

The pews are sprinkled with about 60 people: middle-aged women, friends from a libertarian meetup group, and gray-haired couples intrigued by an ad for the church that had run in the obituary section of the daily paper.

Cameramen from Vice News duck down in the aisles, filming Faloon for an episode that’s likely to air in the fall.

Faloon’s family is here: his lanky 18- and 20-year-old sons as well as his blond wife, Debra, who is 58 but looks downright girlish in high heels and a floral dress, a hot-pink flower in her hair.

In 2013, Faloon and his longtime business partner, Saul Kent, bought, for $880,000, this building just north of downtown Hollywood that had formerly housed a Baptist congregation.

They founded the Church of Perpetual Life, which hosts once-a-month meetings with a guest speaker and a social hour.

Establishing the church is just the latest bold step in the duo’s lifelong mission of trying to extend human lifespans.

Faloon and Kent are controversial figures in a controversial field. The so-called “immortalist” movement encompasses strategies of “life extension,” from taking vitamins to receiving organ transplants.

It also includes cryonics, the idea that corpses can be cooled to extremely low temperatures and someday, somehow, be returned to life.

For their work, Faloon and Kent have been both hailed as visionaries and derided as snake-oil salesmen. They’ve been raided by the feds and thrown in jail for importing unapproved drugs.

They’ve bankrolled a slew of curious cryonics projects, from the freezing of dogs to experiments in an underground house.

Kent even had his own mother’s head detached and cryopreserved, then had to fend off a murder investigation. Now, they’re battling the IRS over the foundation’s tax-exempt status.

None of this seems to bother Faloon much. A huge round of investment from the global 1 percent is now bringing immortalist ideas out of the realm of science fiction.

Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal; Martine Rothblatt, founder of Sirius Radio; and Sergey Brin, CEO of Google, are just a few of the ultrarich who have recently begun to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into life-extension endeavors.

Death, they are betting, is a scientific problem that can be solved.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

The Age Of Immortality Is Coming, And It’s Going To Suck

When people write about our future as immortals, you see a lot of the word “we.” But make no mistake, there will be no “we.”

No one will be granted access to immortality, whether it be achieved through medical or technological means.

Immortality-granting technology would certainly be the most valuable commercial product in all of human history. There is absolutely no way that it’s going to be given out for free.

Sure, it might eventually be made available to the middle class as something like a subscription-based service once the technology is advanced enough that it can be scaled on that level in an economicall feasible way.

But in the early days of immortality, it’s likely to be insanely expensive, both because it’ll be extremely advanced technology and because people will be willing to pay it.

So while perhaps someone like Jack Ma can look forward to immortality if he simply lives another 30 years, you and I are going to have to wait a lot longer.

In fact, there’s a fair chance that immortality technology will widen the gap between rich and poor.

Most people would pay any sum to prevent their own death or the death of a loved one, even if it meant going into tremendous debt and essentially becoming a debt slave.

And if people will pay the money, what incentive do you think immortality companies will have to lower prices?

Until the technology is cheap enough to be truly universal, prices will stay high, shareholders will stay happy, and the rest of us will scrimp and struggle to keep ourselves and our families alive.

Medical immortality sucks

Medical immortality – the idea that we’ll be able to reverse the biological ageing process and eliminate the diseases that kill us – seems attractive at first.

But there are a litany of reasons why long-term medical immortality would actually be kind of a nightmare.

First and foremost: our brain capacity is limited. This is why the older you get, the harder it gets to remember details of things that happened when you were young.

There are only so many memories you can store and recall efficiently, and the higher they pile up, the harder and slower they are to recall at a moment’s notice.

That’s a problem, because we recall on quick memory recall for virtually every part of our everyday lives.

The end result is that even if you stay biologically twenty years old for 200 years, you’re still going to have the slow, embarrassing brain of a very old person: misremembering names and dates, calling up random or incorrect memories, and telling the same jokes over and over.


Your perception of time would likely also become extremely warped, as the older you get, the more quickly time seems to pass.

Also: being medically immortal also doesn’t mean being actually immortal. It just means you won’t die or old age or (possibly) disease.

Instead, you’ll die in an accident, or a homicide, or a war, or meet some other violent end.

And even if you’re OK with that, think about the absolutely brutal effect that will have on your friends and family in a world where people no longer have to die.

Now, death sucks but at least it’s fair – we all die.

In the world of medical immortality, that is much less true, and every death is a sudden, unexpected shock that seems all the more unfair because had you not been hit by that truck, you could have lived another 500 years.

Then of course there are all of the social problems: overcrowding, limited resources, the total pointlessness of the prison system, the elimination of retirement, and the stagnation of social, economic, and political systems as the old never die off to be replaced by the younger.

That may seem like a lot, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Death is a powerful force that has been motivating human behavior forever.

Taking it out of the equation will change everything about human life, and only a fool would assume that all of those changes would be for the better.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

4 Steps to Immortality: From Neuralink to Nirvana

I submit this humble plan for your consideration.

Step 1: Create a brain/computer interface

The first step in getting our minds outside our body is creating a conduit through which it can travel.

Elon Musk is already working on this of course, with his company Neuralink, which I covered in detail on a previous video.

Ultimately the idea is we’ll be able to integrate our minds with the internet, have instant seamless access to information, store our memories, communicate telepathically, and enter virtual worlds in our own mind.

New technologies required to get there would be advanced brain mapping technologies and developing the ability to interface with enough of the brain’s surface to be able to fully integrate it. And that would require nanobots.

Really the only viable option for doing that would be microscopic bots that would travel to the brain cortex and build themselves into a lace across the surface and the folds of the brain. Anything else would just be too invasive to be feasible.

This leads us to the second step:

Step 2: Replacing neurons with synthetic circuitry

The only way to ensure that your continuity of consciousness goes unbroken is for your brain itself to become computer hardware.

So in the same way that the nanobots formed a neural lace across the surface of your brain, the next step would be for them to build synthetic neurons at the cellular level, slowly over time replacing your organic circuitry with digital ones.

This whole thing should be painless because there are no sensory nerves in the brain. And the experience could produce a feeling of heightened cognition, enhanced creativity and memory retention… If everything goes right.

If things don’t go right, you could expect massive feelings of deja vu, mood swings, fogginess, hallucinations, and maybe even seizures.

Nobody ever said immortality was free, son.

In order to get here we’d need to see advancements in synthetic neurons and nanotechnology.

Step 3: Build simulated worlds

Virtual reality and simulated worlds are everywhere these days, and video games have become near photorealistic.

But still those experiences only involve two senses: Sight and sound.

There are some tactile devices that simulate touch in the works but still, that’s interfacing through the body.

We’d need to be able to hack all the senses, sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, and pair those sensory stimuli with the physics of the virtual world.

Want to play basketball on Pluto? You could do that.

Want to engage in all manner of sexual perversions? You will do that.

An endless number of doorways you could step into that lead to different worlds with different rules, some free, which means they’ll be filled with billboards and advertising, and some premium rooms you pay for.

Everything that we use the internet for today will take real, physical form that we can step into and interact with.

And just like professional gamers make a living in these virtual worlds, entire economies and job markets will spring up in the simulation with opportunities that we can’t even imagine right now.

The earliest versions of this VR world would probably be like recalling a memory. Later versions may feel more like stepping into a dream, ultimately one where you can interact like lucid dreaming.

This is a direction that many, many futurists believe we’re headed, a future with multiple layers of reality, both simulated and real where we can choose which reality we want to exist in. This will be an interesting time.

Step 4: Permanent Residence in the Simulation

Now, ultimately, one way or another, our consciousness has to get inside that computer. Luckily, our brains have become computers.

So when time has its way with you and your body finally kicks, your digital brain can be removed and physically connected, permanently, to the supercomputer housing the simulation.

One of the arguments many people give for this kind of simulated immortality, that it would still be a kind of death because you’d be leaving all your loved ones behind.

But maybe not. For one thing, they would be able to visit you in this world.

They could come by your simulated house, you can take simulated trips together, when grandma dies, she really would just be going to another place. A place you can actually visit.

But she could also visit you through an avatar. A humanoid robot that an expired person could step into. One that translates all the senses of the outside world back to the person in the simulation.

Just like real people enter the virtual world, virtual people could enter the real world.