Bryan Johnson drinks a mixture of olive oil, cocoa flavanols and something derived fromalgae. Breakfast will be a blend of green vegetables with lunch and dinner not much different.

The 45 year old Americanentrepreneur is religious about his sleep, follows a strict workout regime, monitors the performance of his vital organs using hospital-grade medical equipment, and suggests to his social - media followers that deviating from what he calls the " blueprint" to have a rowdy night out.

You would worry that your best friend was developing an eating disorder if she suddenly began acting like this. Johnson is a biohacker, a man who pushes the boundaries of human life expectancy in what amounts to an attempt to hack death itself. He claims his experiment allows him to resist aging so successfully that he will be 37 years old by the end of the year. You have to ask if the dessert of olive oil with chocolate is worth it.

Who doesn't want to live for a long time? Freddie Mercury had the right to ask, but not me. According to a recent survey, only a third of Britons want to live to 100. It suggests less of a death wish than a fear of old age. The older the person was, the less excited they were about getting older. Extreme age can be quite brutal.

I want to live until my child doesn't need me anymore, and then I want to enjoy some kind of retirement. I want to live until it feels right, and then have some control over the end. I would rather have a busy, happy, meaningful life and die at 75 than be stuck with 150 days of work.

The poll found that women were less interested in long lives than men, but it couldn't explain why. Is it possible that we are less likely to see aging as a competition? Is it more important for us to outlive our friends? It may be that men are more likely to die earlier, so don't take longevity for granted. Silicon Valley tech bros' obsession with often scientifically questionable "human optimisation" regimes shows no sign of waning, while venture capitalists continue to pour billions into companies that promise to extend human lifespan.

Jack Dorsey, a biohacking enthusiast, swears by just one meal a day and salt juice in the morning. In his book, Superhuman: The Bulletproof Plan to Age Backwards and Maybe Even Live forever, Dave Asprey says he hopes to make it to 180. Some biohackers think we'll be able to replace healthy limbs with artificial ones.

You sense anxiety and the legacy of burnout because of the constant tweaking of the bodily algorithm. While building the tech company he eventually sold to PayPal for 800 million dollars, Johnson admitted that he had suffered from depression. I want to make up for that. Extreme health kicks like this can be seen as a response against an extreme way of life, replacing workaholism with a different form of driven behavior.

The niche language of biohacking is already being used by the rest of us as a way to shave years off a suspiciously vaguely defined "biological age" by eating more berries, walking barefoot. It's good to want to stay fit for as long as possible, dodging Alzheimer's or cancer, if you can, and biohackers often say they're interested in extending healthy life, not living just for living's sake.

There is a difference between wanting to get the most from life and trying to reverse the cellular process of aging. To take the terror out of old age through better treatments for horrible diseases, unsexy but useful technology that helps people stay independent at home for longer, and reliable social care is what much of that venture capital and restless energy seeks to do.

The goal shouldn't be to prolong life but to create joy and purpose at every stage of it, whether that is easing pain at the end or not making employees spend their 20s sleeping in the office. We don't need to kill people. We need to make life worthwhile.

  • Gaby has a column for the Guardian.