What Happens If We Live Forever?

Season 4 Episode 17
What Happens If We Live Forever?

A couple of years ago, the idea of science extending the human lifespan to 150 years or beyond was the stuff of science fiction. The rapid pace of technology is making that a possibility, according to some scientists, but Matthew D. LaPlante isn’t sure society is ready for a world dominated by centenarians.

S4E17 / March 31, 2022

Matthew D. LaPlante

Episode Description

Humanity has long imagined a future where humans could live for hundreds of years, if not forever. But those ideas have been the stuff of science fiction, up until now. There’s growing interest and investment in the realm of biohacking and de-aging, and leading scientists such as Harvard’s David A. Sinclair are bringing the idea of extended lifespans out of fantasy into a reality we may see within our generation. But a world where more people are living a lot longer than ever thought possible will have sweeping economic and social consequences.

In this episode of Big Tech, host Taylor Owen speaks with journalist Matthew D. LaPlante, co-author of Lifespan: Why We Age — And Why We Don’t Have To with David A. Sinclair. LaPlante’s focus is on the impacts longer lifespans will have, rather than on the technology involved in achieving de-aging. For example: When people live longer, where do we set the retirement age? Can the planet support more humans? And how will we deal with our past choices when we live long enough to see their impacts on our great-great-grandchildren?

In this wide-ranging conversation, Taylor and Matthew discuss more implications longer life would have on our society. In the justice system, appointing a 50-year-old to the Supreme Court looks very different when that person could live to 110 rather than 80. What about geopolitical stability, if autocrats and dictators can extend their lives to maintain power for much longer periods? And what are the implications for medical privacy when technology companies are using monitoring devices, such as the ubiquitous smart watch, in conjunction with artificial intelligence to predict when someone may develop an illness or have a heart attack?

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