“I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying.” – Woody Allen
I'm with Woody: I'd prefer not to die (if I get the choice), and would genuinely be quite happy to become an immortal. (And no, not in the “life after death/ascension to the great beyond” version promised by most religions – I want to see how this reality evolves, before even thinking about another one.)
I'd prefer not to get old, in fact, if “old” means “infirm”, as it has for all of the 200,000 years since the emergence of “modern” humans. I'd like to keep my memories, maintain my mental faculties, stay limber and active, continue to be able to grow and change and adapt to everything the future has in store for us as a species. I want to see the rise of true AI, meet an non-Terran, see humans living (and thriving) on Mars, inside hollow asteroids and on/in entirely artificial habitats. I'd love to see another Terran species rise to intellectual prominence, if we leave our homeworld alone (chimpanzees and/or dolphins, I'm looking at you). I want to study, write a novel, compose an opus, create art, dance, have my mind blown by new concepts and viewpoints and arguments.
I can't do any of these if I'm dead. But, lucky old me, there's a lot of good science happening towards a “cure for death”, and if I can just stay alive long enough to reach longevity escape velocity (LEV) then I can become “functionally immortal” – I don't have to die just because everybody else has. Fingers crossed, anyway. Some of the tech(nologies|niques) that might help me achieve immortality: