Finally, you can be immortal!

By | February 21, 2012
What can't you print these days? When experiments do get far enough to be able to print organs… that means that you would be able to replace pretty much any part of your body that's too old to be healthy. The legendary immortal being.

However, physical health is only one aspect of immortality: there's another that could make immortality into a curse. What about the ability to think and remember? Without that, your ever-healthy body would be home to a mind in vegetative state – not a very nice idea of immortality.

That raises some ethical questions: should immortality be allowed? If so, who should be allowed to be immortal? Should you have a choice in this matter? And, would you want to be immortal?

Reshared post from +Derya Unutmaz

So far, Organovo has made only small pieces of tissue, but its ultimate goal is to use its 3-D printer to make complete organs for transplants. Because the organs would be printed from a patient's own cells, there would be less danger of rejection.

Organovo plans to fund its organ-printing research with revenue from printing tissues to aid in drug development. The company is undertaking experiments to prove that its technology can help researchers detect drug toxicity earlier than is possible with other tests, and it is setting up partnerships with major companies, starting with the drug giant Pfizer.

Printing Muscle – Technology Review
Organovo’s 3-D printer creates human tissues that could help speed drug discovery.

8 thoughts on “Finally, you can be immortal!

  1. Sy Bernot

    Imagine the world where no one dies. Evolution stops, progress slows to a halt. Meh!
    I think when asked many would say they don't want to be immortal but would like a longer lifespan. I also think that when faced with the option to continue or to pass into the void they would procrastinate. It's the prime directive of nature, survival. Secondary is reproduction but you can't have any of that if no one dies.
    I don't think we have anything to worry about though, there are plenty of other ways to go out, accidental death, disease, murder and suicide. One possible good use of this line of tech might be extremely long space voyages.

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  2. Michael-Forest M.

    As far as I am aware, isolated organ failure is not a leading cause of death, and the inability to receive an organ transplant certainly isn't. While this is certainly a significant medical advancement (and could certainly help with organ shortages where applicable), I think immortality is still a far cry away—Transhumanists shouldn't be getting excited quite yet.

    I have to say, though, this is a lot more pleasant than "The Island".

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  3. Sophie Wrobel

    +Robert Rapplean you must have read my mind, I was thinking of Logan's Run (as well as a few other things, among them Indiana Jones and random philosopher debates) too.

    Then there's the question of natural resource distribution – Earth cannot support infinite population growth. That means that we need to be selective on who has access to immortality, and increasingly selective as time goes on. Assuming that people want to be immortal, of course.

    And then there's the question of policy. And that's one area which I'm pretty sure will need to change – giving access to the latest technology in medicine would rather quickly vanish as a right for everyone under the same insurance policy, and hopefully at latest spark the 'how' debate you mention…

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  4. Robert Rapplean

    This is a sticky wicket. You always have to ask "what do you mean by "not allow" immortality?" Are we going to start artificially cutting people off at 100 years, like in Logan's Run? Are we going to deny specific treatments to people even if they can afford them? Sociologically speaking, the wealthy are the ones who would damage our world most through immortality, and they're the ones most likely to achieve it. It's not just a question of where we draw the line, but HOW we draw the line.

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  5. Sophie Wrobel

    +Jonathan Bates I wonder if you can grow some yourself? I remember from somewhere that agar-agar (the white powder you can get at any asia-store) is the same substrate used for growing cell cultures, so if you put some cells onto a dish of that mix and spun it under controlled temperature at high speeds, would it suffice to give you some DIY organic toner? :p

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