The year is 2120, and the world is (depressingly/refreshingly) similar. Sure, techonology has advanced and there are flying cars, trains run through voided tunnels at 1000 mph and scramjets take the rich from Canberra to New York in 2 hours, and our virtual personal assistants ("Jeeves") often appear smarter than their owners. The unemployment rate hovers at a steady 70%, but with all the automation and the universal guaranteed personal income, that's not as terrible a thing as one might think. True Artificial Intelligence has proven elusive, and after (what even later history books would call) the War of the Lesser Abominations, AI research is at this point forbidden across most of the civilized regions of the planet, and a well-funded AGI Taskforce roams the slumlands hunting out rouge AI developers.

The one notable feature of this world that I'm interested in for the purpose of this question is that most people can expect to live to 200 years, with life expectancy growing at just under 1 year per year for much of the past century. Dementia, cancer, heart disease are quaint things of the past century, with suicide, accidents, and engineered viruses now the largest killers by far.

What would the implications of a 200 year lifespan be? I'm thinking specifically:

a) Career - would getting multiple phds become the norm for a well-educated member of the body economic (a.k.a. any employed person)? Would career progression be stifled by dinosaurs that won't retire or would innovation be instead boosted by the extra willingness to devote a decade or two to a risky project?

b) Family life - would dating one's grandchildren's friends be regarded as normal, and would marriages become limited-duration contracts?

c) Is there anything major that I'm overlooking? Yes, I'm aware of the concept of undying tyrants, and will not be pursuing it directly here.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting... People would have to work longer, but there is also 70% unemployment and universal guaranteed personal income, meaning less people are working at all, and don't really need to if they don't want... $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Jan 14 '16 at 17:40


Stagnation is the name of the game. If you've ever tried to change processes when your manager has been doing things the same way for 30 years and it's always been fine in the past, imagine what it would be like when it's been done the same way for 130 years. Asking for 5 years industry experience? No, now you can ask for 30 years experience. New tech? No way, if it ain't broken... Young people are going to remain unemployed until their children have grown up. Your kids will be at Uni by the time you've got the steady career that you've only just got into in your late 20s/early 30s, which may even become your late 50s early 60s. What's the rush anyway? You'll be doing it for another 100 years.


This largely depends on the importance of family in the culture you come from. Marriage might as well be a limited term contract as it is. Some people will partner for life but the majority will done by 20 years or so. Relationships will apply to specific periods in your life, rarely carrying over to the next stage. Early ones for fun, then a steady one for reproduction, moving into a career growth relationship, before a steady one again when you settle into a specific role, finally a retirement relationship for travelling and some old age fun.

  • $\begingroup$ Marriages not lasting "till death do us part" is becoming more common wherever divorce has been legalized, so it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine than in such a society it has become the norm for marriages to be more of a temporary partnership, with no stigma attached to it, even to the point that lifelong relationships are seen as quaint. $\endgroup$ – Oskuro Nov 2 '16 at 9:20

Family? This partially depends on ability to procreate. Currently women have a limited time frame and in this scenario it would be the first 1/4 of their lifetime. This of course can be 'overridden' even with today's tech but there might be other issues for even a healthy 120 year old woman having children.

Men have other issues, though medication helps with some, the problem is that the older either or both biological parents are the more likely of genetic issues, such as Down's Syndrome. Maybe by then most pregnancies would be shifted through to ensure 'normal, healthy' children, kind of like Gattaca.

Though with such a long life, one thing I think could happen, is that the 'young' people 20's-50's might produce children for the older generation. Have a child, and let older people raise the child, and you continue living your life unencumbered, visiting your kids like they might be siblings. Completely rewriting family dynamics.

Career? I suspect those who need to be busy will work until they die. Those that like to learn will have several doctorates. And the many of the rest will be allowed to follow our interests to where ever they lead. Many people today would try and do many other things than what they get paid for, if they didn't need to earn money to live. I'm a woodworker, and becoming a blacksmith, I also review books, but I make my living as a software engineer, which lets me do those other things, so I have to fit them in around my work schedule.

200 years to perfect something also could improve many different technologies. But it also allows for incorrect thoughts to live much longer. Many scientific paradigm shifts don't usually appear. They become more accepted as the old school retires and dies out. If they stay an extra 40-50 years in a field it could severely hamper that field of study.


150 years ago the expected lifespan was around 40 years almost half than what it is now.

People 150 years ago were getting married in their teens, now they are getting married in their mid to late 20s and not it's not uncommon to wait until 30 and over, with 200 year lifespan, people might wait until their 50s or 60s (given that they can still have kids at that age).

Average education has also increased significantly, not only due to longer lifespan, but also due to more complex industry that requires that higher education. I don't see any reason for that to stop. People might decide to travel more, explore, have a "fun" career (bartender on a tropical beach anyone?) for a few years before they go back for PhD and research.

I don't think dating wise anything will change that much. There would be a much larger dating pool but I doubt a 150 year old dating a 20 year old will be that common, people change as they age a 50 year old will not be interested in doing the same things he was doing when he was 20.

Politics will be much more stagnant. Many politicians are in office for life even now, imagine how bad would it get if they lived 200 years on average...

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ 40 was the average age of death, but it doesn't account for the modal age of death being 0 and childbirth often being deadly. If a person survived childhood/childbirth they'd probably live to 70. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jan 15 '16 at 8:43

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