The powerful have tried to cheat death for millennia. Do they finally have a chance at success?

Immortal Overlords

Last year, former Facebook president Sean Parker raised some eyebrows at a cancer innovation event when he suggested that the super-rich could defeat death within his lifetime.

"Because I'm a billionaire, I'm going to have access to better health care," he said. "I'm going to be like 160 and I'm going to be part of this, like, class of immortal overlords."

Life Eternal

The reality, according to a compelling new feature by Futurism social editor Jake Banas, is that cutting-edge medical science has yet to dream up a treatment that's more effective than exercise and a healthy diet. Life expectancy will likely continue to creep up, but there's no guarantee we'll ever discover a trick to unlock true immortality.

That hasn't stopped dreamers, including Parker and other Silicon Valley luminaries, from pouring money into research intended to radically extend the human lifespan. Still, even many experts who study aging and mortality aren't convinced that it's possible to cheat death forever.

Treat the Rich

As Parker hinted last year, though, such treatments would be unlikely to reach the general population — if everyone had access, after all, it'd quickly create an overpopulation crisis as new babies were born while the old refused to die.

Ultimately, we've seen this 21st century quest to cheat death pop up before, and from Gilgamesh to Dorian Grey, it's seldom turned out well.

READ MORE: Disrupting the Reaper: Tech Titans’ Quest for Immortality Rages Forward [Futurism]

More on eternal life: New Tech Is Giving Humanity Many Potential Paths to Immortality

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