Who Wants to be 120?

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I  hadn’t heard much about “radical life extension,” but a recent Pew Foundation research survey and report explored the issue pretty thoroughly. “Some futurists think even more radical changes are coming,” stated the report, “including medical treatments that could slow, stop or reverse the aging process and allow humans to remain healthy and productive to the age of 120 or more.”

The Pew survey asked a lot of people a lot of questions about living to a good old age – and not living to a bad old age. Asked whether they personally would choose to undergo medical treatments to slow the aging process and live to be 120 or more, a majority of the 2012 adults surveyed (56 per cent) say no. But roughly two-thirds (68 per cent) think that most other people would. And by similarly large margins, they expect that radically longer life spans would strain the country’s natural resources and be available only to the wealthy.

Nearly nine out of 10 adults surveyed say that “having more elderly people in the population” is either a good thing for society (41 per cent) or does not make much difference (47 per cent). Just 10 per cent see this trend as a bad thing.

But there were also a lot of questions the Pew survey neglected to ask. People were not asked, as far as I could tell, why they wanted to live to 120 and beyond – or why they didn’t want to. They were asked whether they thought radical life extension would be a good thing for society. However, they were not asked why they thought it would or wouldn’t be good. So here’s a quiz for Zoomers asking those very questions.


Reasons you want to live to be 120

You want to see the coronation of Prince George as king (and the coronation of Justin Trudeau’s son or daughter as prime minister).

You want to have enough time to finish writing your book.

It’ll take that long for the Blue Jays to win the World Series again.

You’ve got to keep an eye on your kids to make sure they don’t screw up in old age.

Compound interest could make you rich.


Reasons you don’t want to live to be 120

Replacing the replacement of your hip replacement isn’t a thrilling prospect.

The cost of birthday and Christmas gifts for all the great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren and great-great-great grandchildren is prohibitive.

It’s hard enough to outlive one beloved pet, and it likely wouldn’t get any easier after half a dozen.

Everything you ever owned would come back into style again after you’d already given it all away.

Dental implants would be as common as cavities were when you were a kid, and they’d all be equipped with electronic chips that let you send messages from your brain directly to other people’s dental implants.

You think Radical Life Extension is a good thing for society because:

After 80 years of marriage, couples will figure they can stick it out a little longer.

New entrepreneurial opportunities will arise, such as assisted living marinas, Zipchauffeurs, roll-in body part clinics and elder porn (nothing too acrobatic).

Serious crime would decrease because nobody would want to face life imprisonment for 80 or 100 years.

There’d have to be more innovation, adventure travel and quality entertainment because supercentenarians will have done it all, seen it all.

People will feel young at 98, and 107 will be the new 70.

Radical Life Extension is a bad thing for society because:

There would be a 60-year age difference between an older man and a middle-aged woman.

Justin Bieber wouldn’t have to grow up for another half-century.

Senators appointed for life would have way more time and opportunity to pad expenses

The Rolling Stones would still be performing in 2063.