Forethought: I was inspired to write this article when I learned that younger people are not as enthusiastic about Longevity Science as older generations. This makes practical sense because when many of us were young, we felt invincible, and the idea of death wasn’t a looming concern. However, I do think that this lack of enthusiasm goes deeper than that. Millennials and Gen Z make up a massive portion of the American population, totaling around 170,000,000 people, while Generation X and Baby Boomers together account for 123,000,000. This means there are 47 million more young people vying for the economic stability that Gen X and Boomers already enjoy. If older folks live longer and keep their jobs longer, then that economic stability will be even harder for young people to attain. As the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Presidential nominee and a member of Generation X, I had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood. One example of how this fact negatively affects me is when I registered as a candidate with the Federal Election Commission last week; I assumed I had to wait for the bank to open on Monday to set up my fundraising account. A couple of hours later, I remembered I could do it all online. Duh. I know that I don’t have all the answers to these questions and how the Economic Singularity will affect young people, but I do know that they do. That’s why my campaign is open-source and relies on input from the first Digital Native generation in human history, a group I refer to as “Digital Dignitaries.” I have a proposal to create a new Cabinet Seat dedicated to understanding and developing policies regarding the Technological and Economic Singularities, which I call “The Singularity Secretary.” The youngest a Cabinet Secretary can be is 25 years old, and that is the exact age group I would be looking at to fill that seat. So, while this article doesn’t offer specific solutions, it does intend to open a discussion with young people about how to address their concerns now before we must.
Longevity science, the awe-inspiring quest to extend human life and enhance its quality, has ignited hope in many hearts but left our younger generations somewhat disenchanted. As a proud member of Generation X, I understand the concerns of our millennial and Gen Z counterparts regarding Radical Life Extension technologies and their accessibility. It’s crucial to bridge this generational gap and cultivate a sense of unity and collective purpose. We can work together to ensure these groundbreaking advancements benefit all, instead of only the wealthy elderly while paving the way for a brighter future for the youth.
The Wealth Gap Dilemma: A Common Concern
Young people are not alone in their apprehensions about the potential for longevity science to exacerbate wealth inequalities. The fear of radical life extension technologies becoming exclusive privileges for the affluent elderly resonates across generations. It is only natural to be disheartened by the thought of wealthier older individuals living longer, while the younger generation faces economic hurdles.
Addressing Affordability: A Multigenerational Endeavor
We have the power to make longevity science affordable for all Americans by collaborating on several key fronts:
- Research Funding: As Gen X, we call on the older generation to increase government investments in longevity research. Millennials and Gen Z, your passion for change can push for policies that allocate public funds toward pioneering research.
- Pricing Regulations: Working together, we can advocate for regulations that control the pricing of radical life extension treatments, making them accessible to all. Negotiations with pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers are a shared responsibility.
- Health Insurance Reforms: Across generations, let us push for insurance reforms that encompass these innovative treatments, making them affordable and accessible to everyone.
- Educational Initiatives: The younger generation, you have the potential to lead the way in longevity science. Consider careers in these fields and Gen X, let’s create scholarships and incentives to make these pursuits more enticing.
Cultural Shifts: A Multigenerational Transformation
Achieving affordable longevity science means embracing cultural shifts together:
- Rethinking Retirement: As one multigenerational community, let us redefine retirement as a phase of life where individuals continue to contribute to society. Together, we can combat concerns about older people living longer while younger generations strive for economic stability.
- Intergenerational Collaboration: The wisdom of the older generation combined with the fresh perspectives of the younger generation can lead to innovative solutions that benefit all age groups. Let’s work hand in hand.
- Lifelong Learning: Regardless of age, let’s promote lifelong learning. It helps us adapt to longer lifespans by continually acquiring new skills and knowledge.
- Reevaluating Success: Success should not be solely measured in economic terms. It’s about personal fulfillment and making a positive impact. Together, we can shift our cultural ideals to reflect this broader perspective.
Conclusion: A Multigenerational Endeavor
In closing, let’s transform our concerns into opportunities and our frustrations into motivation. Longevity science promises incredible potential, but it’s essential to ensure that its progress doesn’t exacerbate generational inequalities. By working collaboratively to advocate for affordability, push for policy changes, and foster cultural shifts, we can unite generations and prepare for a future where longer lifespans bring prosperity to all, regardless of age or economic status. Let us stand together and build a better world, as one unstoppable force.
Tom Ross is the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s 2024 candidate for President of the United States. He is also the USTP’s Director of Sentient Rights Advocacy.
Learn more here: TomRoss’24.