from January 10, 2006
During the recent holiday season, we at MJTT busied ourselves with the vexing but solvable problem of earth’s imminent overpopulation, a problem that has become even more pressing than even the most astute futurists have heretofore imagined, due to the work of the 42-year-old British biogerontologist Mr Aubrey de Grey’s fascinating notion that it is possible, nay probable, for a human alive today to hope, even expect, to live to be at least 1000.
Our most cynical member suggested, in the serious way that is peculiarly his own, that this problem, which is compounded by the problem of retirement and Social Security, could realistically be solved by the outbreak of World War III or its equivalent.
I am, however, pleased to report that this idea was banished from the table posthaste; for in its place I was inspired, as if by some divinity, to proffer the following solution, which, once proffered, one of my assistants immediately patented.
“Why not,” I suggested, “require that every person alive and on the Social Security gravy train be required to die at the age of 85?”
“Cruel!” cried my compatriots; followed by “And what about their civil liberties?”
“Aha!” returned I, raising my right index finger in such a manner as to suggest that I had anticipated their shallow reaction to my ingenious proposal. “We then outfit them with the Beta Version of our ECS, or Enhanced Cremation Service.” (New or forgetful readers of this column should be apprised of the MJTT’s patented invention, a robot that is constructed in such a way as to be able to hold the urn containing the ashes of a cremated former person who has retained his or her Denkapparat [German: brain].)
“Then,” I continued, “we outfit this humanoid robot with a space suit and send him or her into perpetual orbit of the planet or moon of his or her choice!”
My colleagues were stunned. They realized, in the twinkling of an eye outfitted with an acrylic ocular implant, that this proposal was not only technologically feasible but would afford departees the vacation of a lifetime—a vacation that would be the moral equivalent of the traditional “Heaven.”
The only doubt they could conjure up concerned, of course, the economics of the plan. But I was quick to assure them, using one of those ancient chalkboards we keep around our think tank for just such occasions, that, given the plummeting costs that invariably accompany the actualization of a technological breakthrough, the monies required for both (1) our Enhanced Cremation Service, Beta Version and (2) the costs of space flight, would be less than the monies required for the current version of Social Security.