Suicide for some cultures is much more common than others, and with the advent of assisted suicide starting to make serious inroads into society it won’t be long until we realize the fundamental fact that we will need to choose death. As depressing as it may seem right now the chances are that long term when somebody decides to end their life it will be celebrated. After all one of the sad things about death is its unexpected nature, who would not want to tell their nearest and dearest that they love them one more time before they die, or resolve long-standing feuds. Those people lucky enough to get to the point where they have lived a long, good life, but want to take the next big step into the unknown should have that choice.
What will suicide look like in the future? Well unlike Futurama suicide booths I suspect a whole industry will develop around making the end of life as amazing and enjoyable as a wedding, rather than sticking tubes in and pumping us full of poison I suspect we will find much more natural and peaceful ways to end our lives. Personally my vote would be laying on the most comfy bed in the world and pump the room full of nitrous oxide until I laugh, sleep, and then peacefully slip away. It will be interesting to see how governments regulate this industry, what will be the criteria? Will an ill child decide to die peacefully rather than on an operating table, will you have to be a certain age? 18, 50, 100?
It will also be interesting to see how politics deals with such a divisive issue, will the Republican party have the “Right to life” but back a “Right to death” on the basis of personal freedoms?
There is of course is another option, that death will disappear completely and be replaced with the singularity or other advanced technologies. However even if these technologies overtake life extension technologies it is likely that even within the singularity you will want to enter into the final unknown at some point. I mean imagine being stuck in the singularity for eternity without the option to end the experience, sounds very much like purgatory to me!
Maybe in the end we will come up with a new name, maybe something like sleepicide which is ending your existence in a controlled non violent way. After all death could be the greatest adventure of all.
UPDATE : Amazingly this article came out the morning after I wrote this post http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22029423.300-should-young-children-have-the-right-to-die.html#.Unqbb5RASR8