If tomorrow, scientists discovered humans could all begin to live forever, what new stages of behavior (like mid-life crisis, the terrible twos, three year itch, etc.) would evolve? Already mice have been genetically modified to have their aging process reverse: Reversal of Aging in Mice
I imagine there would be:
An immediate classifying of the technology as Top Secret, and then withholding it from the public until certain issues were clarified, like:
- Birth rates/population densities.
- Political stability/dipomacy.
- Ethical debates about worthiness/unworthy or wanted/unwanted genetic/personality traits could be dealt with, i.e. mass murders or people with incurable debilitating diseases might not want to be made immortal.
- Ethics around voluntary euthanasia would begin to evolve.
In the mean time, the government(s) in possession of the technology would begin drafting scenarios about likely outcomes of the technology on human evolution. Some crux issues might be:
- How many people would actually WANT to live forever? Perhaps they would be an extreme minority and thus releasing immortality therapy to the general public would be a non-issue.
New maturity standards: the age of consent, drinking age, voting ages might be different after people begin living for millions of years.
New stages of psychology would be constantly being discovered as humans began to live through them
Retirement age and social security would change.
- People would become more socially homogenized the longer they lived due to the increasing number of experiences they lived long enough to experience, meaning on Earth today, there are only a certain number of experiences to be had and yet so many people have not experienced the full range of these experiences. As a result, they cannot relate to each other and fail to communicate and cooperate effectively. However, if people begin to spread out across different planets, their experiences might begin to be more disparate, resulting in greater isolation and hence less likely to be able to relate to each other in a friendly way.
- The brilliant minds on earth today would not be lost to death and would continue to drive earth's intellectual development to ever new heights.
- People without certain qualities might live long enough to be given better genetic traits through genetic editing.
- Other planets or space stations would be investigated for allowing population expansion and political/philosophical differences.
- Should dead people be cloned and allowed to grow up again? People like Einstein might be brilliant again if exposed to schooling/training already in accordance with their known predispositions.
- Research into human tolerance for different experiences for longer time periods must begin. How long can people stand nothing new happening? What forms of release/recreation should be instituted/made legal?