Campus News

Psychologist discusses the search for a Fountain of Youth among tech giants

Keith Campbell, professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ psychology department, recently discussed with the New York Post about the search among tech moguls for ways to extend life.

The Fountain of Youth, a mythical spring that claims to extend the lives of all who drink or bathe in it, is a mix between folklore and fairytale. Going back to a Spanish presence in current day Florida, explorer Juan Ponce de Leon started the long search for eternal life.

These days, it’s the topic of movies and TV shows but widely accepted as the fairytale that it is. That being said, there is a new push amongst tech moguls to mimic the fountain’s effects.

“I call this process ‘rebuilding Frankenstein.’ … [The desire] comes from a radical misunderstanding of the human condition, [where] materialism and behaviorism are mashed up with AI. That coupled with ego and fear and lots of money leads to the search,” said Campbell, speaking to the new trend.

“People with big egos think they matter more than their organizations,” Campbell said. “They think that, if they were gone, the world would fall apart because they are smarter than others and they were put here for a reason. Because they’ve been so successful in putting their will on reality they think, ‘Why can’t I beat [death]? I can beat anything.’”

Campbell said it is dangerous when men in power believe they are above everything, including the natural process of death.

“I’m utterly terrified of people who think they know better than everyone else and who have power and aren’t afraid to use it,” he said. “That’s what a tyrant is. People who think they can control the world, who have power without humility make me nervous.”