Average lifespan around the world is already double than what it was 200 years ago. Civilization has developed at an astonishing pace, allowing life expectancy to increase rapidly. Increasing by two years every decade, the figures show no signs of flattening out. Since the 1980s, experts thought the increase in life expectancy would slow down and stop, but forecasters have repeatedly been proven wrong.
Most babies born since the year 2000 in countries with long life expectancies will celebrate their 100thbirthdays. When a century ago, the chance to become a centenarian, which is a person older than 100 years was a hundred times lower than it is today. So can we go on living longer and longer? Or is there a limit to how long we can survive into old age?
To live forever while preserving health and the semblance of youth is one of humanity’s oldest and most valuable goals. Scientists say that we could finally be close to achieving lifetimes that are if not endless, at least several decades longer. The idea that humans could one day routinely live to the age of 140 years or more is very possible. Even if scientists could create a pill that let you live up to twice as long, would you really want to take it? Whether it is due to natural or medical progressions that humans life expectancy further increases, would this breakthrough be beneficial or destructive to the worlds future societies?
The personal benefits are a no brainer. People would be able to spend more time with loved ones, watch future generations grow up, try different careers and travel the world. The restriction of age would basically no longer be an issue.
However, longer lifespans would radically change the structure of society and relationships. The workforce and economy would be greatly affected, with skilled workers living in their prime and remaining in the workforce for longer, it can be assumed that economic productivity would go up. Although, with people staying in their jobs for 100 years or so, it would be very difficult for young people to move in and get ahead in the workforce. Longer lifespans could lead to society inputting more resources and intellectual energy to accommodating the older, rather than initiating the young, not only in the workforce.
The entire make-up of society would be altered, if people continue the current trend of having children in their 20s and 30s, then it could be possible for eight generations to be alive simultaneously. This social change would certainly create a different set of social relationships to what exists today.
If babies continue being born in the same trends that currently exist, will there be sufficient resources on the planet to accommodate a much larger population? The worlds resources are tight already, how can we assume future generations cope with maintaining material living standards for billions of more people.
While longer life expectancy through the use of science and medicine would be a remarkable achievement for mankind, is it really something we would want for the future? The ideas and notions behind the idea of living much longer are appealing, but at the same time, oppose everything we have ever been known about life and death. Is it really worth tempting fate for a medical breakthrough that may only cause problems for people of the future?