"[n]ot "eternal life", [but] the indefinite prolongation of life. Aubrey de Grey does a good job of arguing this point in all his talks. And don't tell us that we don't know what's it like to be alive. Honestly, I'm not easily angered, but eventually the constant attacks (like this) piss me off.
I'm afraid that this little effort at word magic doesn't get our techno-immortalist friends off their particular painful fish-hook.
Every successful remediative therapeutic intervention manages to prolong healthy lifespan for the one whose condition it heals. If that's what you mean by "the indefinite prolongation of life" then you should just call what you mean healthcare like everybody else in the world already does and be done with it.
Nobody has to join a Robot Cult to affirm the value of healthcare.
But if by the "indefinite prolongation of life" you really mean the accomplishment of a discretionary mortality more or less under human control, or a mortality so statistically negligible as to no longer trouble the sleep of the mortally-afraid, then you should just call what you mean immortality like every other charlatan making the same promise has always done and be done with it.
Robot Cults are enormously useful to charlatans peddling eternal life to the fearful.
It isn't that hard to clear the waters that flim-flam artists like to muddy for the marks.
Barring climate catastrophe, neoliberal economic breakdown, or neoconservative military conflagration, I too expect emerging and proximately upcoming medical therapies to continue to intervene in hitherto customary capacities and limits, at least for some lucky people, including interventions into at least some of the conditions we presently associate with what is somewhat folkishly designated as "the aging process."
I don't expect the arrival of a "longevity singularity" -- the demographic moment when average life-expectancy increases one year per year -- to arrive as soon as my transhumanist readers do (but I could certainly be surprised without being too surprised by this expectation). More to the point, nor do I think the achievement of this longevity singularity moment should be a higher priority than treating neglected diseases in the overexploited world nor treating the conditions of the actually elderly in the world as I daresay most of my transhumanist readers do.
But what is key to grasp here in my view is how different this discourse of mine is from their own, even if I share with them a certain acceptance of the possible (even likely) significance of emerging genetic, prosthetic, and cognitive modification techniques. There is nothing in what I say that would lend comfort to those who would fearfully deride the finitude of the human condition.
I fully expect the play of actual and available and legible genetic, prosthetic, and cognitive modifications to express the historical complexities of human plurality, wants, passions, and violations. It will no doubt exacerbate many given injustices and provide creative recourse to many who would overcome historical deadlocks. It will not transcend nor will it circumvent the impasse of divers stakeholder politics, but constitute the field in which that politics plays out in the world. It will not transcend nor will it circumvent the basic dilemma of human finitude in the face of the openness of human freedom and futurity.
I offer no comfort to those who would disguise their disgust at human vulnerability in a denialist championing of techno-immortality. I offer no comfort to those who would disguise their disgust at human variation in a genocidal championing of hygiene or optimality. I offer no comfort to those who would disguise their disgust of human freedom in an anti-political championing of technocracy or any parochial future owned here and now by a tribe of the few.
And, by way of conclusion, let me return to Michael's little fit of pique there at the end: And don't tell us that we don't know what's it like to be alive. Honestly, I'm not easily angered, but eventually the constant attacks (like this) piss me off.
Life's a vulnerable metabolic process in a demanding finite environment, and not a perpetual motion machine. You can pretend I'm gratuitously insulting you when I say you haven't taken into account what all that actually means at a basic level when you claim to anticipate some imminent techno-immortalization, but it isn't that hard to grasp the force of my actual point on its actual terms. I don't doubt in the least that you are getting angry from my "constant attacks" at this point, but I venture to suggest that this is as much the anger of exposed fraud or questioned True Belief as anything else, and I cannot honestly promise you my arguments to come be will be any more comfort to you. Your options will remain to leave my critiques unanswered and pay the price of that, or to respond to my critiques on their actual terms and pay the price of that.