Longevity is the new black. It sounds like a futuristic “September Issue” of Vogue or V magazine. However, futurists whom research longevity are looking at a horizon that looks quite shocking. The “anti-aging” industry is an $80 billion per year business. It seems that everyone wants to look younger. But what about true longevity? Do these same beauty addicts want to live 200 0r 300 years? According to a new Pew Research Center study:
The subject of longevity is fertile ground for techno-philosophers, biohackers and scientists. It reeks of cultural polarity. Dystopian theorists say that longevity will put a strain on resources, cause global elitism to become even more exaggerated and may cause people to stop reproducing all together. Utopians say that the biotechnology will trickle down just as mobile technologies have. I agree with the utopians.
I learned this first hand at last year’s World Technology Summit in NY when I asked an advertising “guru” during her Q&A if her clients had begun to request research into longevity yet. With her nose in the air, her churlish response was, “No. No one talks about that stuff except the World Future Society.” She didn’t realize she was talking to a futurist. I let it go and only thought of her misinformed statement again a few days later on my drive into San Francisco. There, on the side of the highway, stood a huge billboard for a major insurance company that read “The First Person to Live to 150 Is Alive Today.” I giggled to myself and I thought…well… I won’t tell you what I thought, but you can imagine.
As of this posting Google, Intel, and Ford all have futurists. Does MSNBC or HuffPost have a futurist on staff? Why not? Are we ready for the imminent age of longevity? Are we even ready for the age of technology?
The Age of Longevity
The real problem with longevity or extreme life extension is lack of cultural awareness. The Pew Center reports:
“Only 7% of respondents say they have heard or read a lot about the possibility that new medical treatments could in the future allow people to live much longer; 38% say they have heard a little about this possibility, and about half (54%) have heard nothing about radical life extension prior to taking the survey.”
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Immortality is a far future event. No one is suggesting that we will have true immortality anytime soon, but the near future is all about extreme longevity. We may see people living to be 150 years all while looking and feeling like a 25 year old. Deep A.I. has yet to emerge. What will happen when we turn on the first Google A.I. machine, and it has access to all human knowledge? Will it be able to synthesize all known information into a new longevity formula? We have no idea yet but one thing is for sure. Longevity will change humanity forever. Do you want to live 300 years?
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