Christopher Wareham, a bioethicist expert at Utrecht University who studies the ethics of aging, told The Financial Times that he was worried that elderly billionaires will become immortal and keep compounding wealth forever.
Let’s be clear: There are many amazing things that modern science has accomplished for human health. We now live far longer than we once did, and the quality of life has never been higher or more consistent.
However, many wealthy individuals want more than merely to live longer. They are trying to use their vast financial resources to achieve their goal of living eternally. Indeed, Wired has stated that the largest medical revolution since the discovery of antibiotics may begin in 2023 as a result of anti-aging research.
Could all the excitement be baseless? Yes, and it probably will. However, it’s equally possible that the search for immortality will usher in a dark new turning point in the history of wealth.
That’s not just because such technology might mean that people like Jeff Bezos, whose money equals a whole lot of power, would be able to continue compounding that wealth and power for, well, forever, but also because it might mean that humanity will simply have to exist with the glare from an immortal Jeff Bezos’ glistening scalp for eternity.
Subscribe to GreatGameIndia
“Suppose, for example, we had a kind of vaccine for the pandemic of age,” Christopher Wareham, a bioethicist at Utrecht University who studies the ethics of aging, told The Financial Times. “This is going to potentially exacerbate all the kinds of existing inequalities that we have… The longer you’re around, the more your wealth compounds, and the wealthier you are, the more political influence you have.”
It’s a terrifying theory, to put it mildly. Politics included, of course, only truly changes as a result of time. In Wareham’s apocalyptic postulation, tyrants and autocrats, as well as their donors, would also swarm to the still-mythical technological fountain of youth. Old leaders and belief systems die, and new citizens with fresh ideas are born.
And given that historically people have not been very eager to share their wealth or influence, whether political or otherwise, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the already wealthy inventors of such a miracle drug or equipment might put forth some significant gatekeeping efforts. Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX and aspiring Mars colonist, is adamantly opposed to immortality technology on the grounds that leaders must unavoidably pass away at some point.
Despite this, several experts in the field are debating these problems, at least in theory. For instance, Mehmood Khan, CEO of the longevity nonprofit Hevolution Foundation, told the Financial Times that his company only funds goods that can be “democratised.”
“If this is going to be a gazillion dollars’ worth of treatment for a handful of people,” he told the outlet, “it is of no interest.”
The Bezos-funded Altos Labs, which was established with the goal of bringing “cellular rejuvenation programming” to life in order to “reverse” disease and injury, declares that it is dedicated to assisting as many people as possible.
Of course, these are simply promises because none of these groups has succeeded in solving the mystery of immortality or even the addition of twenty years to the average lifespan. However, any success would be a financial windfall in and of itself. When that much money — and again, that much power — is at stake, promises are frequently broken.
Anyway. See you in MetaHeaven, where we offer our data as a sacrifice to our meat-eating Lord Zucko in return for algorithmic immortality. Prime Day is the only holiday we have; it was instituted after The Great Merge and Peter Thiel may or may not be someplace on post-apocalyptic Earth donning a cape, avoiding garlic, and lounging on a mountain of gold money alongside Bezos and the Kardashians. I’ll see you on the other side of death!