Unprecedented in terms of duration era of global economic stagnation continues. To break out of it, the world needs a powerful "kick" in the form of a landmark scientific discovery, for example, radical life extension. In the 20th century, scientists believed that soon they would find a theoretical path to immortality of humans. In the 21st century this research is forgotten. Why has it happened?
A few days ago, on October 10 in Stockholm Peter Higgs and Francois Engler were awarded the Nobel Prize for theoretical justification of the existence of the boson, a particle that allows other elementary particles to acquire mass. Previously, scientists at CERN announced that they were able to (possibly) detect the boson (possibly) after many years of experimentation. But The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was permanently closed for upgrades, as for more accurate studies its power is insufficient.
In the 1990s, I read a good deal of translated literature on modern political science. The way the West senses the future, the way they see the future of humanity, was very interesting.
Western elites along with a broad community of experts were expecting a technological revolution that would lay the groundwork for the successful development in the centuries to come. It should be stressed that these were the works of political scientists, sociologists, historians, philosophers, politicians, and intellectuals who in the 1990s determined the "today" and designed the "tomorrow" of the world. These people were not always experts in specific areas of basic science and were not always able to identify research risks. But in practice, they knew the society and shaped its future. Based on their opinions, in particular, decisions to support promising research programs were made. The expected return on investment was projected. Through their effort the above-mentioned LHC was funded and developed.
In the 1990s, a radical extension of human life seemed quite possible. It was expected that in the 20th century research in many areas of science will find a theoretical path to immortality of humans that will be practically approached in the 21st century. The second expected mega-revolution was a radical solution to the problem of body mass (for overcoming gravity). If it were possible to "eliminate" the mass, the energy problems of mankind would be permanently solved, and the horizons to populate other planets of the galaxy would be opened. The terms of creation of the "gravity control technology" were not discussed, but the research was believed to be promising. This faith in the research was confirmed by significant allocation of funds for the LHC.
Unfortunately, the discovery (?) of boson showed how long we would have to wait for a significant technological breakthrough in this field. Even if it was Higgs boson that was discovered in CERN it is clear that another decade of experiments at much higher power would be required. The working "gravity control technology" is nowhere in sight.
Even worse is the situation with a radical extension of human life. 20 years later, our present knowledge of life and death does not in any way imply the possibility of creating a "technology of immortality." Even at the level of theoretical probability the research has reached a dead-end. It appears that the issue of immortality can only be solved by genetically modifying the humans, that is, by ending the history of the human race. Now there are even political movements advocating the idea of such a modification of the individual, in the absence of technology itself. The idea is being promoted by the media. There are works of popular culture based on this, in particular, the sensational film "In time" made in the USA in 2011. There are even parties of "immortalists." Some individuals freeze themselves or try to "digitize their identity" through information technology.
Meanwhile, developed countries suffer from social pessimism. Since the early 2000s in Europe and America the unprecedented economic stagnation has been ongoing, occasionally interrupted by increasingly deeper recessions. Since 2005, there has been a gradual increase in the birth rate in Europe, a sure sign of "economic cooling" of the population. To make citizens work better, to break away from the newly developing countries, a powerful "kick " in the form of a landmark scientific discovery is needed, for example, a radical life extension ("Immortality"). Or a technology to manage the mass of an object, providing great opportunities for traveling through space at low energy costs.
Humanity continues to reap the benefits of the previous, quite "old" technology revolution that began in the 1960s with the emergence of the first computers. Because of the progress of computer technology the development of mankind was turned "inside of a human," the creation of new gadgets that can more effectively brainwash. Now, the "world" fits into a pocket, but the possibilities are virtual and do not improve real-life. Yet, the creation of new gadgets diverts investments from other areas of the technological revolution. The most notable political lobbyist of "immortality" Aubrey de Grey and his SENS Foundation complain that the technology to rejuvenate the human is available, but there is no funding.
If mankind saw a glimpse of hope for immortality, conquering other planets, a final solution to the energy problem, it would have cheered the tired old world and breathed a new life into the international competition. The only problem is that all investments today are consumed by enterprises in the information arena. We will definitely see a new "iPhone," but it is unlikely that we will see immortality.
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