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Silicon Valley and the pursuit of immortality

UC Connect public talk: Never Say Die – Silicon Valley and the pursuit of immortality

Death is a big business, which is one reason why Silicon Valley billionaires such as Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, and Sergey Brin hope to disrupt the aging process and unlock the secrets of immortality. In an upcoming UC Connect | Tauhere public talk, Never Say Die: Silicon Valley and the Pursuit of Immortality, Associate ProfessorAmy Fletcher will discuss the use of emerging technology in age extension and the future of life and death.

“Bringing the same zeal for digitizing every aspect of our existence to the ‘problem’ of aging, these entrepreneurs are in a race to conquer the last frontier of human biology, hoping to find new fortunes and extended lifespans in the process,” Associate Professor Fletcher says.

“But what about the rest of us? How might we think about the political and economic implications of extended human lifespans?”

This free public talk (which will also be livestreamed on UC’s Facebook page), on Wednesday 31 July, focuses on the future of aging for the non-billionaires. It puts these technological innovations in a social context, and parses the hype from the hope and the science fiction from the science.

From Frankenstein’s monster to the Methuselah Project, with stops along the way for cryonic suspension, immortality “switches,” and brain augmentation, this UC Connect public lecture will look at the prospect of human immortality and consider both the promises and perils of trying to defeat the reaper.

Dr Amy Fletcher PhD is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Born in Huntsville, Alabama, in the 1960s, when her father was a young engineer working on the Apollo project, she has been interested in the societal implications of emerging technologies since the cradle. Prior to moving to New Zealand, she completed her PhD at the University of Georgia in June 1997, and worked as a Legislative Assistant on Telecommunications and Technology issues for Representative Tillie Fowler (R-FL) in the United States Congress (1995/96). She is the Associate Editor of Politics and Life Sciences Journal (Cambridge University Press) and a Features Editor for Human Futures (World Futures Studies Federation). She recently completed the Professional Certificate in Foresight at the University of Houston (2019) and is currently working on a book that analyses the cultural history and politics of cryonic suspension.

UC Connect | Tauhere public lecture: Never Say Die – Silicon Valley and the pursuit of immortality, presented by Associate Professor Amy Fletcher, Political Science and International Relations, UC Arts, 7pm – 8pm, Wednesday 31 July, 2019 in C Block Lectures theatre, University of Canterbury’s Ilam campus, Christchurch. Register to attend free.


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