View Full Version : If I were hooked up to enough machines, could I live forever?

05-29-2002, 10:07 AM
Or, on second thought, maybe we should use my grandmother for this question (I hope to be chugging along for a quite while, knock on wood).

So, suppose my grandmother, whoís elderly but otherwise in good shape physically and mentally, decides she wants to go for broke and hold on forever. If my father doesnít snap at the prospect, and actually goes along with the plan, how long could she conceivably hang on given todays (and tomorrows) technology? Indefinitely?

Or, letís change this back to me for a moment, and letís assume that this afternoon as I make my way about town, I get konked in the head and find myself in some kind of weirdo coma (One of those good coma's, not those nasty ones I hear about). Outside of the trauma to my head (Ouch!), everything else in my body is intact and functioning normally. Assuming I have to cash and the willpower to do it, how long could I conceivably cling to Ďlifeí (Albeit a pretty boring one, from what I hear, but hey, itís life)? Could I live long enough in this Ďsuspendedí state that I could last until the medical community finds a cure for death?

Finally, for the sake of fun, what if we took a perfectly healthy kid and knocking him into unconsciousness and slowed down his bodily functions to the lowest they could be lowered, how long could the kid live? Could he, too (Hey, Iím still holding out hope in my coma), expect to be revived someday down the road when things in the medical community have gotten to the point of immortality?


05-29-2002, 10:34 AM
As long as forever is defined as: Until the first power failure, or mechanical breakdown, I see no problem.


05-29-2002, 10:40 AM
Well, things are going to wear out. Blood vessels, cells, etc. Eventually, they'll just replace so much of you that you'll wind up like Darth Vader, I guess. Then you can get out of bed and rule the galaxy.

05-29-2002, 11:26 AM
I jest, Cnote. I'd think you'd do pretty well till the gray matter started to go bad. I'm sure some of the major vessels / arteries can be replaced, but when you get down to the little capillaries and smaller stuff it'd get pretty tough to keep you thinking. For instance, some of it can be replaced, but since we don't really know how knowledge is stored in the brain, whatever was replaced on the "hardware" side might damage some of the "software."

smiling bandit
05-29-2002, 11:36 AM
Dunno. In twenty years they might be able to keep you going with experimental treatments and a pile of cash.

05-29-2002, 11:36 AM
Darth vader? There you go. I'm digging that whole supreme being thing, even if it _is_ evil.

I guess my point is, could you keep a person going long enough that the technical advancements in medicine would solve the current problems?

IE, I stay hooked up for ten years and someone comes along and says, 'Hey, these stem cells seem to slow down the deterioration of the brain. Alright!'. And then in another ten years someone comes along and says, 'Well hell, you know we can somewhat reverse the aging process. Sweet!' and get it to a point that essentially they pull me out of the coma and I'm ready to roll in a whole new world that offers practical immortality?

I guess I'm thinking ahead years and years and assuming my bodies being well maintained and chock full of the new stuff that's being introduced. So, could a person now 'hibernate' and wait for the advances of the future?

If not, than what the heck would kill the person (Or in this case, me <sniff>)? The hearts pumping through a machine, the livers doing that thing it does through a machine, all of it can, or could, be handled by machines now, so what would kill me?

Kind of a two-parter, I suppose, but I think you get the gist of where I'm coming from.

05-29-2002, 11:40 AM
I forgot this part...

Originally posted by Triskadecamus
As long as forever is defined as: Until the first power failure, or mechanical breakdown, I see no problem.

Assume I've got one killer UPS hooked up to my machines.

05-29-2002, 11:48 AM
Seems to me that a "killer" anything is not what you'd want hooked up to your machines... :D

05-29-2002, 11:50 AM
Well, while you can replace the major pumping, filtration, oxygenation, etc., organs, you'll eventually, as Welby1 said, start seeing failures in your veins, capillaries, etc., not to mention replication errors in most of your cells. So you'd start getting strokes and aneurysms that would be pretty hard to detect in advance and even harder to repair, not to mention eventual rampant cancer.

Remember, if they live long enough, just about everyone gets cancer.

05-29-2002, 04:03 PM
The problem here is that you're asking for a timeframe for a breakthrough, which isn't really possible to determine before the fact. It's conceivable (though probably unlikely) that next week, someone will discover a way to reverse aging. In that case, sure, current medical science can keep you alive long enough. It's likewise conceivable that the method to reverse aging won't be discovered for another ten thousand years, in which case you're probably out of luck.