In an article published in the Science & Medécine supplement of the daily Le Monde, Laurent Alexandre, an urology surgeon and president of DNAVision, reviews the rapid development of the biotechnologies: "Has the first person who will live for a thousand years already been born?" After looking into transhumanistic ideology that aims at "putting death to sleep," he claims that "the biotechnological revolution could permit the unthinkable by accelerating the rise in life expectancy." Since 1750, in fact, life expectancy has more than tripled, going from 25 years to over 80 years today.
He goes on to point out that, if we wish to push back the "natural biological wall" of age, this "implies modifying our human nature by major technological interventions using powerful NBIC (nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science)." But if there is a fusion between biology and the nanotechnologies, the consequence would then be the "transformation of the doctor into an organic engineer," which would "gradually give the profession fantastic power over our nature, with seemingly unlimited DIY possibilities."
According to Laurent Alexandre, "by 2025, organic engineering – genetic therapies, stem cells, artificial organs – is sure to revolutionise the health system." While "the demand to live longer is insatiable", the president of DNAVision warns that "the price to pay for greatly lengthening our life expectancy would be very high." Indeed, it would involve "a radical modification of our biological functioning and of our genome" and "the biggest obstacle would be our brain. Why live for several centuries with a sclerotic brain?" Because "maintaining our brain durably plastic would imply a major engineering input” which, in the long term, means opening the door to the “biological control of our brain by the health system."
In consequence, if "living for a very long time may become a reality," we should not forget that this will "involve a complete redefinition of humanity." Are we ready for this?