first human head transplant to be performed next month

I wrote about Sergio Canavero in my How To Live Forever book (online version here).

It’s just been announced that his long-awaited infamous operation, in which a living human head will be removed from a body and placed onto another, is to be performed next month in China. The location is not known. The patient is not known. The donor is not known.

If this fails, it will not be surprising, but it will also make it harder for any other experimental surgeons to get permission or patients to try again.

If it succeeds, then its fantastic and terrifying at the same time.

In a fantastic way, it means that people that have debilitating bodily conditions that cause weakness or paralysis have a chance to overcome all those issues at once.

In a terrifying way, it means that it science-fiction dystopian stories such as Spares or The Island step closer to reality – humans that are bred solely for the purpose of being a replacement body for an aging clone.

It is unlikely that “back-alley operations” will happen in this, as the expertise needed to do the surgery means that only the most educated and practiced ones could perform it, and that means that they could make easy money with legitimate operations instead, not needing to go underground to do it.

Is it possible to live forever with this method? A person with sufficient resources could use this trick to live for centuries, replacing their body every few decades. But, because age is about more than just the age of the body, this is just a way of prolonging life – the brain would eventually succumb to deterioration even if the body did not. In a way, it’s a way to live long enough to see proper immortality solutions to appear.

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