Technology possesses the reputation of democratizing things.

The autonomous powers of FinTech combined with the ubiquity of information from the Internet means more say in and control of various aspects of our lives.

But, in what ways do we think future tech would democratize death?

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image of person with a sign "Who owns my life?" for article Someone Created a Death Machine to Facilitate euthanasia
Carmine Marinelli | QMI Agency via Lawyer Monthly

Certainties in Life: Death, Taxes, & MedTech Advancements

Death is inevitable. Whether it comes suddenly or achingly slow, human mortality is something we all must face. Thanks to rapid advances in medicine and biotech, however, our lifespans have increased more than double since the year 1900.

Due to longer human lifespans, there is more strain on global resources, but also on our emotional health. Many people can elongate their lifespans even with once totally deadly diseases thanks to medical advancements.

But, for those who aren’t so fortunate, euthanasia or “assisted suicide” has long been a frowned-upon and often illegal option. While we don’t yet have the capability to download consciousness into the cloud or a robot, new tech does give people more control over how they pass away.

The form, however, might be a little unexpected: a death machine.

image of Sarco death machine for assisted suicide and human euthanasia in article Someone Created a Death Machine to Facilitate euthanasia
Exit International via Next Web

Is a “Death Machine” the Answer to the Human Euthanasia Quandary?

Currently, assisted suicide is only legal in five U.S. states, but has been legal in The Netherlands since 2002. As a result of moral questions, the debate of “right to life” vs “right to death” has waged on for some time. Despite these questions, the 3-D printed “death machine” Sarco goes “live” next year.  

If you didn’t know Jack Kevorkian a.k.a “Dr. Death” had a jazz band, check it out. It won’t kill you.

The term “death machine” does not inspire thoughts of a benevolent way to die with dignity. Yet, this is not a tool for torture. It’s a machine designed for those with terminal illnesses, chronic and severe pain, or the elderly.

Along with eliminating the need for a human physician to “pull the plug”, Sarco allows for the user to change their mind even after the process has begun. It uses nitrogen gas over the course of five minutes to help the patient pass. At any point, the user can stop the process as creator Philip Nitschke claims.

With this death machine, people pass peacefully and on their own terms.

There are regulations of course: a minimum age of 50, one must be of sound mind, and mentally ill patients must pass an assessment and acknowledge the permanence of their actions.

As the technology comes available, the determination of what “sound mind” means will no doubt come under discussion.

image of Black Mirror episode San Junipero for article Someone Created a Death Machine to Facilitate euthanasia
Black Mirror | Charlie Brooker and Endemol UK via Netflix

Future Tech as an Escape From Mortality

Hailed as the “Elon Musk of Assisted Suicide”, Nitschke hopes this 3D-printed future tech will refocus how people view human euthanasia.

As we move further into the future, more accessible and affordable tech advances are inevitable (just like death).

Could human consciousness soon be uploaded to the cloud or a digital community like in the Black Mirror episodeSan Junipero”?

Will cryogenics progress enough to become ubiquitous and those with terminal illnesses have an option besides death? Maybe we will find the Philosopher’s Stone or the Fountain of Youth.

Perhaps those of us asking these questions now will just have to live long enough to find out for ourselves.

What’s your opinion of the Sarco machine? Is it a positive innovation?

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