Ask A Genius 550 – Death and Aftermath
May 12, 2020
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Scott Douglas Jacobsen: I’m just thinking about this a little more with ongoing crisis pandemic, because we have a lot of people dying in a short amount of time. So there’s also almost 8 billion people alive in the world. So that just makes me think about, “Okay, so, what are we going to do when people have either expired prematurely or have died by natural causes, other natural causes?”
So, the question is: “What is going to be the future of dealing with bodies when they’ve had their use, basically, when the person’s life is over?” Is the demographic of this going to change from mostly burial to more cremation and things like that?
Rosner: I do not know. The bio mass of the dead is negligible compared to all other forms of waste. You die once and you leave 150 pounds of person behind, but, the thing, most people in America probably generate, five or 10 pounds of trash a day.
So, it is not like dead bodies add much to wherever they’re put. The only problem is that as land becomes more scarce, people have to do stuff about cemeteries, either turn them in mausoleums, but it is not a big deal. If you want to talk about the number of people dying from coronavirus, it doesn’t even put a dent on average, worldwide human mortality at this point.
It is the leading cause of death in the United States or it had been for about a month. It was the leading cause of death with more than 2,000 people dying a day which is slightly more than people who die from cancer and who die from heart disease a day.
But the last few days it is been under 2000. So, it is not the leading cause of death. On an average day, about 7,000 people die in America. So even during the worst today of the virus, it was only kicking daily mortality up by 30 something, maybe 40%. In a worldwide, it is probably not even kicking worldwide mortality more than a percent or two.
Jacobsen: What happens to bodies when we can do more to rejuvenate old people?
Rosner: That just means we’ll keep old people longer, but the era of keeping the body you were born with going for 200 years, well, either that keeps going or, enough different technologies will develop around living for a long time, that some people want to hold onto the body they’re born with.
We’re talking like 200 years from now. Some people will put it in storage. Some people will rent new bodies. We’ve talked about all this before, but not in terms of what to do with the bodies, but it won’t be that much of an issue because we’ll have mastered the technology of keeping for as long as it is practical for growing new bodies, if you want, or we’ll have other vessels or people will live virtually.
Then there will continue to be people who want to dispose of the bodies of the dead or the disposed bodies, if they’re not necessarily dead, in various ways. So people still get buried or cremated. Just a whole lot of different stuff will happen.
A whole lot of different stuff will happen with humanity in general, where people will embrace lives of different degrees of traditional-ness. There will be, I do not know; “clans” is not quite the right word.
There will be populations who live in different ways and some of these ways will be tied to religion. Some of them will be tied to geography but there will be increasing uncertainty and debate for much of the population in lifestyle and how modified humans should be. But we’ve talked about all this before.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Founder, In-Sight Publishing
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