Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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“Do you know what’s there, waiting beyond that beach? Immortality! Take it! It’s yours!” – Achilles, Troy

Each person has a different view of what their life’s purpose is, but I’ve found more often than not it relates to some form of immortality. Usually that means leaving something behind, some trace of yourself so that the world remembers you, something that says “I was here, I existed.” For many people that means offspring, for others it may mean some other legacy: children taught, people helped, ideas expounded, inventions created, companies founded, and so on

For me, I wouldn’t mind actual immortality. Who knows, it may still happen in our lifetime. Medical science may yet find a way to extend our lifespans or even permanently remove aging (at which point we really need to expand beyond this planet). Or maybe we manage to survive until the singularity and live on as artificial constructs

Literature and popular culture often portray immortality as some sort of curse. Sometimes a literal curse, as in vampires or highlanders needing to cut each other’s heads off. More often the implied of curse of eternal solitude – Superman is often taunted by writers with the idea that everyone he loves will eventually grow old and die, and other immortals are often portrayed as not wanting to burden themselves with short-lived human connections

What interests me the most about the idea of immortality is the idea that we as a species have so much to look forward to. (Assuming we manage to bypass The Great Filter and avoid screwing things up for ourselves of course.) Even just the coming decades hold a lot of promise, with advances in space exploration, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and so on that may very well expand the horizons of the human experience. And who knows, immortality may actually help George R.R. Martin finish the Song of Ice and Fire series!

I want to be immortal if only to be able to see where we are going and what comes next. The future, it comes. Perhaps sooner than many of us expect

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