Transhumanist thinker Anders Sandberg argues that ageing and mortality may be transformed by future technology. How would this affect our outlook on life and the afterlife?
All the established religions teach some form of existence after life, from concepts of heaven and hell to theories of reincarnation. Common to all is the principle that good or bad actions in this life will have repercussions after death.
But how relevant are these theories of the afterlife to the world we live in now? New developments in science, philosophy and technology threaten to undermine our traditional ideas of eternity - and even threaten to render them obsolete. In this series, five writers set out to explore ideas of eternity, infinity and the afterlife from fresh viewpoints. Does our insistence on measuring and categorising time serve to make eternity even more unknowable? What can the principles of mathematics tell us about the tricky subject of infinity? How would people feel about eternity if they could live to be 200 years old?
Anders Sandberg of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University is a transhumanist. He researches the potential benefits and drawbacks - both physical and ethical - of new technologies that could transform human life. He argues that ageing and mortality may be transformed by future technology, with big effects on our society. How would this affect our outlook on life, and on the afterlife?
Producer: Hugh Costello
A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 3.