Would you prefer to live to 100 or live to 1000? If everyone could do this, how do you think the world would change?
Live to 100. What Would That Be Like?
What happens when human life expectancy increases to 100? Dr. Michael Roizen’s new book, The Great Age Reboot predicts this will happen sooner rather than later. He also predicts that modern medicine will enable us to still be physically and cognitively healthy, becoming “yold”, the Japanese term for young-old. This is in contrast to today’s living supercentenarians. Historically, most people died before their 30th birthday, especially prior to the 1800s.
if you expected to live to 100 and remain healthy, how would you live your life differently? Current average US life expectancy is about 78-80 years. Quality of life declines from age 63. What would you do with 37 extra healthy years? Would you plan to work beyond age 65? Would you change your career goals? Your occupation? Would you pursue further education to learn new skills? Would you save for retirement differently?
By age 100, how many great-great grandchildren might you have? How many birthday parties would you go to each year? If you have 2 kids around age 25 and then they do the same and so on, if they all survive, you’ve got 16 when you reach 100. However, if 3 kids each, then 81 (!). Good luck remembering all of their names!!!
Longer life expectancy would impact your parents as well. Are you counting on a future inheritance? That could be delayed for quite some time, and reduced as your parents spend more money traveling the world during their extended golden years. The image above from Italy sure looks nice and expensive.
Impact of Longer Life Expectancy on Society
By 2030, The Great Age Reboot predicts significant medical advances, enabling US population levels of around 450 million by 2050, compared with 330 million today. One quarter of the population is projected to be over 75 years old. Let’s say that again. One quarter of the population is projected to be over 75 years old. Wow! With such dramatic changes, what societal issues might arise?
Surprisingly, The Great Age Reboot’s financial analysis provides good news with longer life expectancy. Healthcare costs diminish and high end-of-life costs get delayed to the future. As the workforce expands and works more healthy years, government income increases and the social security fund becomes solvent. Extended lifespan creates the need for more human health service jobs. Even with that added cost, the net societal benefit is projected at over $4 trillion, annually.
One downside would be slower transformation to new ideas from upcoming younger generations as their votes would be diluted among many more chronologically old people. Another is that inheritance tax revenue would diminish. Increased population will strain many aspects of life, including cities, water sources and transportation.
Optimistically, these issues are alleviated from technological advances such as work-from-anywhere and water desalination techniques. Mostly empty, oversized, suburban mansions fill up as multi-generational family homes. Perhaps George Carlin’s cure for two societal ills becomes true. Golf courses turn into low cost housing for the homeless. Alternatively, with so many people over 75 and with plenty of free time, golf becomes the world’s most popular and expensive sport. Delayed inheritance proceeds are further diminished.
There are plenty more potential impacts. Hold your thoughts on those for a bit. We’ll come back to them.
Live to 1000. What Might That Be Like?
If you could live a healthy life until at least 1000, what might that be like?
Yes, this assumes that you are among those willing to take care of yourself by using advanced medical practices to keep you physically young and healthy. Initially, some of those practices might feel uncomfortable, then would become routine parts of your healthy lifestyle. For example, giving regular blood plasma donations, similar to getting oil changes for your vehicle. Err, wait, in the future, no one will know what an oil change is. With a full switch to electric vehicles, oil changes go the way of postage stamps.
To live much much longer, expect that our human bodies will undergo mechanical improvements as well. The 1970s TV show The Six Million Dollar Man, featured bionic man Colonel Steve Austin, imbued with super strength, speed and vision. In the 80s and 90s, TV produced The Bionic Woman and lead character Jamie Sommers with powerful hearing, sprinting and jumping abilities. Our species has proven we can take science fiction concepts and turn them into reality. The number of Star Trek gadgets which are part of our daily lives is rather amazing. Bionics will follow this pattern, although take longer because of the need for careful clinical trials.
Futurist Yuval Noah Harari in his book, Homo Deus, expresses caution that unequally upgraded humans could lead to class warfare. Being able to brain-tap with advanced processing algorithms will provide competitive advantage. Unmodified Homo Sapiens become obsolete as new breeds of post-humans emerge. The age of masses ends, replaced by a few million upgraded post-humans who focus the resources of the world on themselves. Yeah, pretty dark. So are the 1000+ year-old, uber-wealthy Methuselah’s in Netflix’s Altered Carbon. Hopefully, a more benevolent worldview emerges instead.
How do you think the world will change with people living to 100 or 1000?
Live to 100 Conclusion
Thanks for reading about what our world might become when average life expectancy exceeds 100. As a reward for focusing on your health, enjoy young Ukrainian pianist Yaroslav Bilous’ beautiful performance at the opening of the 2022 Future Human conference.