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The Phoenix Condition

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What If We Plan Our Future? 
 Chapter 11

 THE PLIGHT OF THE

PHOENIX CONDITION

Around the year 2050, when man should die at approximately 75 years of age, medical and technical science will be so advanced that life expectancies will increase to 150 years and beyond.

Thus, before the end of this century, as many as seven generations of one family may be living at once - from a 150-year-old matriarch to a new-born baby. Obviously these numbers will lead to higher population density rates in a planet that already suffers from overpopulation.

 

Will The Phoenix Condition

Be The Death of Us?

Major Prediction No. 9: Sometime around the year 2099, medical and technical science will become so advanced that life expectancies will increase to 120 years and beyond. This phenomenon will be known as The Phoenix Condition.


2099

The Population Bomb will explode early in the 22nd Century as incredible advances in medicine and biotechnology – ranging from cloning, cell revitalization and nanotechnology – significantly increase human longevity. These advances will result in many of our future great-great-grandchildren living to be 150-years old and beyond. 

This phenomenon will replicate the life of the Phoenix, the mythical bird that rose from the ashes to live a much longer life. Thus: The Phoenix Condition. Sadly, it is this condition that will swell population densities in an already overpopulated world and lead to billions in the 22nd Century and beyond living in abject poverty.

It is important to add right away that 150-year olds in the mid-22nd Century won’t look and feel like 150-year olds. Fortunately, face transplants and age disguising (coupled with safe energy modules inserted into the body that will systematically release “energy”) will keep even senior, senior citizens looking and feeling young. 

How will the Phoenix Condition come about and what are the repercussions of this impending and enormous population growth? Michael Crichten, the author of the best-selling novel “Jurassic Park” wrote in the book’s forward: “Biotechnology promises the greatest revolution in human history...it will outdistance atomic power and computers in its effect on our everyday lives."

Advancements in this field alone over the next 100 years will be astounding. Specifically, scientists are on the verge of routinely cloning internal body parts from a person's own cells. This will be among the greatest medical advancements this century. It cannot be over-emphasized that once we can clone our OWN organs - such as our kidneys or heart - we have overcome the tremendous problems of organ rejection and organ availability. With younger versions of our own organs in our bodies, well, think of the obvious health benefits – and, of course, how long we will eventually live.

It’s important to note that all diseases ranging from cancer to AIDS to diabetes, to ebola will be cured within the next 50 years – thanks to advances in biotechnology aided by computers much more powerful than today's models. Again, these advances will add significantly to future generations’ life spans.

Bionics Prevails Over Cloning 1-0

However, bionics will eventually overtake cloning. Sophisticated bionic kidneys, livers, eyes and hearts will compete with cloned organs in the 2070s and beyond but bionics will win out because bionics with intricate backup systems using nanotechnology will eventually prove superior to nature’s models. Someday there will be awe-inspiring mechanical hearts that will always keep a person's blood flowing - thus rendering heart attacks extinct. Someday there will be artificial kidneys that never fail, bionic eyes that will always see, and artificial lungs that will always keep us breathing. Eventually, we may reach a stage where bionic organs will be routinely replaced after they’ve put on a lot of mileage - meaning bionic hearts can be easily replaced by a newer, more efficient model via advanced forms of laser surgery. Again, another reason people will live longer.

By 2099, bionics will allow the average recipient to run faster than Jerry Rice, lift heavier items than Arnold, and be able to leap over -- well, maybe not tall buildings in a single bound -- but certainly over tall objects, and, most importantly, death rates will plummet.  These advancements will lead to people in the industrialized world in the 22nd Century living to be 150-years and beyond. 150 year old humans may seem like an ambitious prediction but even if bionics, cloning and medical advances over the next 100 years increase our life expectancy by only 20 years, that’s a significant number in a world were so many live in poverty. 

Looking At History

To Preview The Future

Most people don’t seem to realize how quickly technology advances. But a short history lesson should help. Between the Wright Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903 and the inaugural launch of the Space Shuttle in 1981 stood 78 years. During that time, in the field of aviation technology, miraculous advancements were achieved. Three-quarters of a century saw a box-kite-like machine that floundered like a fish out of water transform into a sleek, efficient vessel capable of making multiple journeys into space -- all this in 78 years!

In 1982, Dr. Barney Clark, who suffered from a severe case of heart disease, was the recipient of the world's first artificial heart. His life was prolonged an additional 112 days. A mere 78 years later, the "Space Shuttle" of artificial hearts was perfected. The machine was hailed by the citizens of 2060 as "more reliable than the real thing." Shortly thereafter, the whispers of immortality grew.

“He needs an upgrade on his mechanical heart and replacement parts for his bionic kidneys.” Medicine will change dramatically within the next 50 years. All organs that can fail naturally will be replaced by long-lasting bionic organs with extravagant back-up systems.


2201+

Death As A Rare Event

Let’s think about this. When death becomes an endangered species, what will happen to our planet?

According to a United Nations’ report: “World Population Prospects: the 2012 Revision”, this world’s population is expected to peak at 9.6 billion by 2050, and then begin a slow decline. But this report is wrong because it does not take into account extreme increases in longevity.

While The Phoenix Condition will never fully take root in developing countries because bionics and replacement parts are expensive, the trickle down effects will significantly increase longevity in vast areas of this planet currently in population trouble.  But certainly, as each generation of biotechnology improves, the cost of these life-extending devices will decline. Eventually, a market of cheaper or used biotech hearts and kidneys will thrive in many developing countries.

Today, Mexico’s population density is approximately 62 people per square kilometer compared to the United States’ population density of 34 (World Bank, 2013). But what will Mexico’s population density be by 2150 as The Phoenix Condition trickles down over the Rio Grande? Reliable estimates of population densities nearly 150 years from now currently don’t exist. So allow me: Mexico’s population density will be a lot higher than 62 people per square kilometer – keeping in mind that Mexico is currently overpopulated. Will Mexico’s population density be over 100 per square kilometer? Will it be over 150? And if so, what will the quality of life be like in Mexico?

The Phoenix Condition will also lead to much misery in the Industrialized World. Overpopulation has always been a Third World ailment but imagine the quality of life in the United States if huge numbers of people stopped dying and our population eventually doubles or triples. Could it be that some cities in our country will be so tightly packed that privacy is no longer a right, that most city streets become gigantic parking lots (filled with people, not cars), and rates of madness climb exponentially? Where will we put all these people?

The Phoenix Condition will lead to great increases in population density in nations that cannot afford to house more people.

The 500 Year Old Human

Major Prediction No. 5: As predicted in Chapter 3 “How Biotechnology Will Alter The Human Condition” there is the possibility that humans in the 23rd Century and beyond could live up to 500 years as some residents of that time opt to have their brains placed into robot bodies.

The possibility exists that people in the 23rd Century and beyond will live up to 500 years as some residents may transplant their brains into robot bodies.  Frankensteinism, no doubt! However, many citizens living beyond 2201 will choose this option. 

Try to imagine what medical technology and robotics will be like 200 years from now. By then, we will witness great advancements in medicine and technology while gaining a far greater understanding of the human body.

A couple of centuries from now, robots will be impossible to distinguish from real people. And the technology will exist at that time to safely remove a brain and place it into a robotic body while ensuring that blood and nutrients (stored in the robot’s body) adequately feed the brain. Also by that time, all messages from the brain will adequately reach their intended robot body parts. Also, residents of that time will be able to choose a robot that possesses the physical characteristics they desire – such as height, race, sex, freckles or dimples. Perhaps, when a 23rd Century resident passes another in a hallway, they’ll wonder if the other is completely human or mostly robot. Sometimes they will guess wrong.

By 2201, some residents will periodically change their robot bodies – just having a technician (a robot) remove their encased brain and place it into another robot body. One day a resident can be a male while “transforming” into a female the next day.

It’s important to add that to help people live even longer and more lucidly, perhaps a device embedded in the robot will periodically send vitamins and nutrients to the brain to keep that organ healthy for many centuries.

Certainly, the social implications of people exiting their bodies to enter machines will be considerable. Will we no longer view ourselves as human? However, people are a smart and resourceful species. Therefore, these robots will possess the sense of touch and the ability to simulate the pleasure centers of the brain. Robot builders by 2215 will be able to duplicate every action or response of the human body. Simply: interactions between humans in robot bodies including love making will thrive throughout this millennium.

Certainly this prediction may seem like science fiction but many 23rd Century residents will choose to place their brain in a robotic body. People have an instinct for survival and this option could keep people alive for 500 to perhaps thousands of years.

The Phoenix Condition Is Coming!

The Phoenix Condition Is Coming!

If Paul Revere were alive today, it would be obvious what he would be shouting.

Our society is not very foresighted. For those who were adults in the year 2000, many can recall the Y2K problem, also known as the millennium bug, which involved computer programs that could not accurately change the date when 1999 changed into the year 2000. No one foresaw this challenge and thus panic arose in the late 1990s. Today, few realize that The Phoenix Condition is coming and thus have not considered the possible implications of a world where death rates drop significantly. Most certainly this world is unprepared for the extremely high population densities that will swell nations such as Nigeria, Brazil and the Philippines within the next 200 years.

Will the quality of life in these developing nations where obese overpopulation limits jobs, school opportunities, stable governments, and dreams resemble the seventh layer of Dante’s Hell? And what will occur if our world experiences a global financial meltdown or a major environmental catastrophe that strikes an entire continent? Will we enter a new Dark Age?

Much Of The Developing World

Is Headed In The Wrong Direction

Now that we’ve identified the problem, what is the solution? First we must call for global education about The Phoenix Condition. We have to get people talking about this. Then world governments and international organizations such as the United Nations must stress population policies that advocate limiting growth. Whole regions such as Latin America, the Middle East, sub-Sahara Africa and Southeast Asia currently do not have population control strategies. Certainly, we can begin by improving birth control and making it safe, plentiful and free. We need to Manhattan Project the research for the ultimate birth control pill – perhaps a l-year pill or an “off pill” (an “on pill” can be taken when a couple is ready to have a child). We’ll then have to overcome the twin obstacles of religious and cultural objections to birth control. This may be done by appealing to the younger generation by asking them to think about what’s best for their future and their children’s future. Finally we need to dramatically improve food production, preservation and distribution techniques so we can feed a far-more-populated planet. Curbing population growth as The Phoenix Condition overshadows us will be a Herculean task but to do nothing would be a serious crime.

Do We Love Our Unseen Children?

Imagine what our world will be like for future generations in the 22nd, 23rd and 24th Centuries and beyond if The Phoenix Condition takes hold?  Certainly, we owe our grandchildren and great-grandchildren a future.

Succinctly, The Phoenix Condition will be the most significant, negative event of the Third Millennium as population densities throughout the world swell beyond our current imagination -- and concentration-camp-like conditions follow. Sadly, virtually every scientist, academic, political leader and average citizen is completely unaware of this impending mega-crisis so nothing is being done to mitigate the suffering future generations will endure. It’s tragic that we have betrayed our great-great-grandchildren to such a terrible degree.

HAROLD AND MAUDE

CELEBRATE VALENTINE'S DAY IN 2080

Harold was looking forward to his date with Maude at the Marblerina on February 14th, 2080. After all, it would be their first Valentine's Day together. Harold, all of 22, jumped onto his flying skateboard to meet Maude, who just celebrated her 123rd birthday. Their rendezvous was at the inter-active game room located on the 80th floor of the Omaha Subterrainium -- that's 80 floors underground.

Now Maude, a blonde with a fresh face and lots of freckles, did not look a day over 18. Thanks to face transplants and bionics, Maude could pass for a teenager -- but a teenager with the experience of a centurion.

Harold enjoyed hearing Maude's life stories and Maude was terribly endured to Harold's innocence. Because Maude stayed healthy when she was in her 70s in the 2030s, she was able to experience ALL of the benefits of future medicine. And thanks to "safe" energy pills that give Maude the exuberance of a 2-year-old, the 123-year-old was ready to play Harold in the ultimate game of marbles.

The couple, certainly odd for any year in the early 21st Century, was truly accepted in the 2080s. They held hands as they stepped onto the circular playing field. In the center of the room was a hole about 3-feet in diameter. Any moment, the floor would revolve - slow at first and then faster and faster.

Both knew the game would be fair competition despite the fact that Maude was born in 1957.

As the couple fell to the floor due to centrifugal force, they laughed. Then came the deluge of balls -- ranging from marble-size to beach-ball size - that rained upon the floor and then bounced numerous times before settling and moving on their own power. Then the game began. The smaller balls moved faster than the larger balls and, because they were more difficult to catch, were worth more points.

The object of the game was to grab a moving ball and throw it in the hole in the center of the room -- not an easy thing to do. Maude scored first by lying on her side to stop a baseball-size ball in her stomach. A lucky toss had the ball fall in the center hole. Ding! A hologram scoreboard, which hung in mid-air above the pair, flashed 3 points for Maude. 

Harold and Maude played the ultimate game of marbles on Feb. 14th, 2080. For those of you who had money on it, the game ended in a tie.

Despite Maude's early lead, Harold and Maude each tried to let the other win. Why? Because they were deeply in love and were considering a 5-year marriage contract. The game ended in a tie.

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