The advances in science have brought us to the point where scientists now foresee a future where ageing can be slowed. Recently, biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey explained that he believes the first person who will live to be 1,000 has already been born, and we will solve this “ageing problem” within 20 years.
In one sense, this is great news. Millions of people die due to ageing-induced illnesses, and while this research will not overcome death’s inevitability, it will delay it considerably for many people.
But such research also raises several ethical dilemmas: until the technology becomes accessible to the poor, the rich will extend their already higher life expectancy even longer. Longer lives are not necessarily happier. How will perceptions about suicide change? Every individual’s formative years are in their youth. How will much older and younger generations, and their incoherent ideas, coexist and who will govern? These are important questions for society about which world leaders will have to contemplate in a not-so-distant future.