Everybody who has ever lived has died. Everybody dies. You're going to die. That you are going to die is part of what it has always meant to be human. If you didn't die, you wouldn't be living a legibly human life. But of course you are going to die so there is no reason to belabor the point, and to do so is probably just to indulge in pathetic panic-stricken distraction or denialism about it anyway.
And, sure, you really can go into denial about it if you don't want to face facts, you can stick your fingers in your ears screaming la!la!la!la! whenever you contemplate your curtain call, you can dwell on death so much that you manage to die in life even before you die if you really want to be pathetic about it, you can behave recklessly on cliff faces and in sports cars to show how invulnerable you are, you can pray to Baby Jeebus to give you a cozy cloud perch from which to observe the bad people burning in Hell, you can build a gold-plated poop pyramid a mile high with your name on it. Heck, you can get your brain frozen by sociopathic scam artists in the desert who promise you won't thaw for the centuries it takes for magic nanobots to "fix" you with the help of the Super Dad Robot God they are coding.
Many readers may think I am writing parodies when I speak of superlative futurological discourses and subcultures as a Robot Cult. Mike Treder, Managing Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (long-time readers may recall that I tend to call it "stealth Robot Cult outfit, IEET" and tend to call its high level muckety mucks as "Very Serious Futurologists" or, alternatively, "White Guys of 'The Future'"), asked the question in a post yesterday, Will You Die? (The answer, for you kids keeping score at home, is: "Yes, Mike, yes, you will die, as will every single person who reads these words.") Here's Mike:
The hope for transhumanists in 2011 is that the science of biogerontology—potentially combined with rapid progress in techniques for using smart ‘nanobots’ to clean out our arteries or fix our degraded cells—will soon lead to a new era of widely available radical life extension. IEET Fellow Aubrey de Grey, a leading expert in the field, has predicted that the first person to live to be 1000 years old will be born in the next twenty years. If that doesn’t happen quickly enough for you or me, then maybe we can have our bodies (or just our heads) cryonically “preserved” and possibly reanimated at some point in the future. Another hypothesized route to immortality is the idea of having your personality “uploaded” to a computer before you die, so that the essence of you will live on for centuries or for eons. You might, theoretically, be able to have your mind implanted into an advanced robot, giving you a superior body that can be upgraded and made to last for a very long time indeed.It doesn't seem right to make fun of people this desperate and deluded and dumb, but, well, I say, go ahead. Especially rich for regular readers will be the robotic predictability with which Aubrey de Grey has apparently chosen the inevitable "twenty years from now" as the arrival date for the goods in "the field" in which he is "a leading expert," a futurological gesture also beloved -- and for far more than twenty years, let me tell you -- of experts heralding the arrival of Artificial Intelligence, Drexlerian Nanotech, Designer Babies, Clone Armies, Immersive VR, the Paperless Office, Energy Too Cheap to Meter, Orbital Space Hotels, the Cure for [insert disease], and the history-shattering Singularity when the Robot God inaugurates Tech-Heaven or eats the world for lunch (you decide). No less enjoyable is the accompanying illustration for the piece of drawing-board nanobots on graph paper backgrounds just like real engineers use and with orange arrows indicating the immortalization action, and also, too, the reference to cyber-immortalization via "uploading" presumably involving something called your "essence." Science!
No doubt about it. Socrates is dead.