Leader comment: Planet Earth is not ready for 200-year-old humans

The world is too crowded already. (Picture: AFP/Getty)
The world is too crowded already. (Picture: AFP/Getty)
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Science can do wonderful things: send humans into space, cure a whole range of cancers and unravel the mysteries of the universe. But just because it is possible to do something, does not mean we should.

Extending human lifespan to 200 years is a potential future breakthrough we should, if it happens in the foreseeable future, consider rejecting.

Stem cell technology may allow us – or more realistically those of us able to afford the treatment – to live healthy lives for two centuries, but there are more pressing problems in the world. And one of those problems is the rapid growth of the human population, which has doubled in less than 50 years. Living to 200 isn’t going to help.

READ MORE: Could humans live to 1,000 years old?

A double centenarian today would have been born before the first steam trains were introduced and since then the pace of technological change has been rising exponentially.

Those of us who struggle to work out how to make the today’s televisions work – and are moved, in moments of frustration, to declare “kill me now” – can only imagine the trials and tribulations of 23rd century gadgets.

READ MORE: Increasing human lifespan isn’t useful goal in itself