If you could live forever, would you like to do that? The question may seem simple, given the way we generally fear death, but living forever is associated with a lot of challenges. However, it seems that it is no longer impossible that our life can be extended, thanks to technologies like CRISPR-Cas9.
The genetic engineering technologies might get more followers if the scientists started using a bit more exciting names. The CRISPR-Cas9 does not sound very exciting, but considering what’s behind and the technology’s capabilities, everyone should think it’s a very good idea. CRISPR-Cas9 can be used to cure cancer and, in the long run, also extend our life span. This is currently a technology under development, but the use in practice is not far away. However, there are of course quite a number of ethical issues, among other things, that the tool will only be used by those who can afford and thereby create a genetic upper class.
It’s easy to see dystopian scenarios, but I’d rather like to think about the practical effects it has to live longer. Retirement age is no longer as interesting to talk about when it’s suddenly possible to have a second or third career in a completely different profession. If you are living until you become two hundred years old, you can start studying something new when previous generations were usually ready for the retirement home. Why not become a doctor or artist right after your eighties? Or maybe even downshift and start farming?
At the same time, it is possible to have a completely different economic horizon. With hundreds of years extra it becomes even easier to become a millionaire, both once and twice. But if everybody becomes millionaires, what happens to the need to get labor? Those who succeed in becoming financially independent at the age of fifty have hundreds of fifty years to do nothing, or do everything possible.
Surely it’s exciting? If it does not lead to a zombie apocalypse. Which itself will be exciting, but not very nice.