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When Will Human's Average Life Expectancy Reach 120 Years And Become The Norm?
On July 23rd, 2019, By-Health Nutrition Exploratorium was officially launched in Zhuhai, China. Mr. Liang Yunchao, By-Health Chairman of the Board, delivered remarks at the opening ceremony.
Today marks the opening of By-Health Nutrition Exploratorium. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the following questions that I have found very interesting and often thought about over the years:
Question 1: When will human’s average life expectancy reach 120 years and become the norm?
The average life expectancy of people in Cro-Magnon Period was 18 years. That of Europeans and Americans was 37 years from 1400 to 1800 AD. For Americans, it was 48 years in 1900 and 78 years in 2002, a growth of 30 years over the past century. Technologies concerning life science and medical science are making progress at an unprecedented rate. Gene repair, targeted therapy, among others, are seeing a transformation from laboratory findings to clinical studies and applications. Imagine, by the next 100 years as of 2100, what the average life expectancy of human beings will be? Will 120 years old become normal?
Question 2: Will superhuman appear in the form of "machine-human"?
During the past few decades since the raise of the Moore's Law, the performance of computers was iteratively upgraded at an at least doubled rate every 18 to 24 months. In the future, new AI chips and technologies like deep learning will continue to emerge, Internet of Things and intelligent interconnection will become a reality. An increasing number of problematic human organs could be replaced and enhanced by various machines implanted into the body. Human labor will be increasingly replaced and enhanced by machines as well. Imagine that in the future, tiny machines with various substitution and enhancement functions be integrated into the human body, where humans and machines coexist in harmony, and gradually leaving no distinction. It is foreseeable that the future human bodies would have more composition and higher proportion of various machines, leaving less “carbon” and more “silicon” within us. In this case, would there be a silicon-based civilization? Will human eventually develop into some kind of superhuman? What kind of relationship will superhuman and traditional human establish?
Question 3: Will the digitization of consciousness be another way of life extension?
The human brain has about 100 billion neurons interconnected with synapses of a higher order of magnitudes. The secrets of human consciousness and memory may be hidden in the "connectome" formed by neurons through synapses.
The research path for brain digitalization using the brain-computer interface technology aims to collect and decode brain signals, digitize consciousness, and realize real-time wireless copying, uploading, downloading and dual-way transmission.
The Swiss Blue Brain Project aims to create a digital reconstruction of rodent and eventually human brains by reverse-engineering mammalian brain circuitry. After five years' efforts, the first digital 3D cell atlas of the whole mouse brain was successfully developed at the end of 2018, which elaborates all neurons and glia in all 737 areas of the mouse brain. Last year, Google DeepMind teased out a neural circuit in the hippocampus that is responsible for linking together memories in human brains. Elon Musk's Neuralink is creating implantable ultra-high bandwidth brain-computer interfaces that connect humans and computers. Just last Tuesday, Musk unveiled the “ultra-fine threads brain-computer interface” system developed by Neuralink.
Perhaps in some day, consciousness could be copied from the hard disk of human brains. However, does it mean that all the human factors, including what makes a person who he or she is, could be completely reproduced? Will the digital consciousness that can "live" apart from human bodies, which to some extent could be called “eternal”, become another way of human life extension?
Question 4: Will the machine "unplug" the power of humans one day?
Machines are constantly developed for the functional replacement and augmentation of human beings. They are also beginning to create self-consciousness instead of simply being given consciousness. Many people have long realized the ethical and technical risks inherent in and accumulated on this topic, they may say, "anyway, we can just unplug the power of the machine." While what I have been thinking is, whether "machine-humans" may, on the other hand, unplug the power of human beings one day?
Life sciences and interdisciplinary technologies are rapidly evolving, waiting for the arrival of the singularity, by which human understanding of disease, aging and even death may be completely rewritten in some day. As life span extends, what’s more important is the improvement of life quality.
New technologies have been accelerating the change of the world. Whether you expect it or not, the changes will eventually come. Therefore, what we need to do is to guide and develop the changes towards good directions.
Our understanding of the brain is still at a very early stage, while the vast universe is even more boundless, where our exploration will never end. Isn’t this process of continuously exploring, sensing, and experiencing the world exactly the significance of life?
Today, this professional and imaginative nutrition exploratorium is launched by By-Health. Let us stay curious about life and the world, and always have the courage to explore. This is also a reminder for us to live in the present, cherish people around us, and treasure every day. I have faith that many of our dreams will eventually come true!
Liang Yunchao, Chairman of the Board, By-Health
July 23rd, 2019