So I really don't know, how bad or good it would be for a species to reach immortality, so some questions.
The world is set in a near future and I talk about humans no special kind of alien. I talk about, no aging, and no diseases, but you can die from weapons, but then they have to destroy almost everything of your body, because you can get new organs and legs and arms and this kinda stuff.
The world is like earth, a lot of countries and a lot of different lifestyles.

  • What would happen to countries like North Korea, where a leader can live until someone kills him?
  • What effect would it have on the economy, bosses would not die and big companies would have their leader for ever?
  • How important would a hitman be?
  • And also a lot of other points.

I don't know what would change but if you know some important things I have to know about the new society and the new way of living please tell me your thoughts.

  • $\begingroup$ Mostly the same as this but worse $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Dec 2 '16 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix thx this is great, I totally don't thought about the family part, but I am still looking for more answers. $\endgroup$
    – Xxy
    Dec 2 '16 at 9:22
  • $\begingroup$ Many stories in classic SF address this. The Queendom of Sol series comes to mind as a more recent take on things, and covers the idea of people (including rulers) who don’t give way to the next generation. The end of the story arc concerns resource depletion. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Dec 3 '16 at 6:22
  • $\begingroup$ Could you narrow this down to just one narrow question? As is, you have three questions and an open ended question. You also might want to explain your overpopulation solution. $\endgroup$
    – Brythan
    Dec 4 '16 at 3:43

The way things currently operate is based on a lot of hidden assumptions that are based on the existence of death.

Over time, these aspects of life will change, as people lose their fear of death.

  1. Violent dictators stay in power because people are afraid that disobedience will lead to their death, or the death of their loved ones.

  2. The economy would have a lot more to worry about than CEOs not dying!

a) Most jobs are unpleasant enough that people only do them in order to not starve to death. If you know that you won't age or suffer disease, why would you hang about in a big city, inhaling smog and fighting traffic, when you could retire to a cabin in the countryside, grow your own vegetables, and live a peaceful life?

b) People who are immortal are far less inclined to put themselves in harm's way in a war. The military-industrial complex would unravel, and the US economy would finally collapse, and have to be rebuilt on a foundation of constructive industries.

c) Average age would continuously increase. Children would become a quirky hobby, or something that weird religious sects have.

d) if you have the technology for immortality, you most likely have 3D printers and AIs doing most jobs, so almost everyone would most likely be on some form of basic income.

In short, your economy will need to be completely rewired.

Also, a lot of authoritarian behaviour (hostility to out-groups, loyalty to a strong authority figure, etc) is driven by fear of death. You really should read Beckser's book, The Denial of Death, if you are serious about believable immortals. Immortals would have far weaker tendencies to nationalism, racism, organised religion, and conservatism. (They may be very spiritual, still, just not identifying as part of a religious in-group.)


According to this statistics, the death rate per 100,000 is 880. Most of the top causes are diseases, many of them more common in old age. The highest non-disease related cause is accidents at just 35.

Whether or not your treatment also cures cancer (which is the 2nd top cause, contributing 205) makes a huge difference to the effects.

If accidents become the #1 cause of death, it is likely that many people become more risk-averse. This could dramatically change transportation (motor-vehicle accidents make up half of the accident-related deaths), leading to more public transport, faster adoption of autonomous cars, lower speed limits, much much higher penalties for speeding and reckless driving and so on.

We would also have to seriously confront the issue of suicide, which would overnight become the 2nd most common cause of death, going from 1.4% of all deaths to about 20%.

Psychologically, I would assume that at first people want to keep this new immortality and turn very risk-averse. But over time, a new effect would appear: Death from not-wanting-to-live-anymore. Some people will get bored of life after some hundred years. Some will have lost too many loved ones to accidents and suicides. Some just have nothing to live for anymore, especially if children become rare.

The main effect will be on the mind. Our mind was not designed to live forever. Many old people suffer from their memories. All the psychological stress and trauma you suffer in a life, imagine that accumulates. If you have PTSD, three different kinds of depression, five different kinds of acquired fears and a whole lot of bad memories that won't leave you alone, you will need a whole new way of coping with all of that.

There is also the effect of "new blood" lacking. Kuhn once said that a paradigm change in science takes one generation. The same is true of politics, culture, social topics. Ecology became important because a generation grew up on acid rain, Greenpeace and an awareness for animals going extinct that the previous generation simply didn't have.

In this I see the answer to your first two questions. Both politically and in business, you would have old leaders with tons of experience but potentially mental problems and most likely being stuck in "the old ways". The conflict between generations would become considerably stronger when the old generation never goes away.


"What would happen to countries like North Korea, where a leader can life until someone kills him." very bad especially since the longer he in power the more he learns to stay in power.

"which effect would it have to the economy, bosses would not die and big companies would have their leader for ever." Both good and bad on one side you would have some one with experience, intelligence at the head of your company, but remember that the older you are the longer you take to adapt to new things, this sims like it would be a problem but not necessarily since every one else is also immortal changes with society might slow down.

how important would a hitman get" what you should be asking is how important would a bodyguard be. With every one live for every people would of course value their live even more then they do now. Life would literally have more value, both body guards and hit men would be very well payed.


I can see potentially various outcomes

  1. An increase in the stratification of risk taking. I'm sure you've seen that 14 year old males think they are immortal and impervious to all harm. This seems to decline reasonable by age 25, then slowly decline after.

The slow decline may be in part due to near-misses, but also due to the aches and pains of getting older.

In addition those who are willing to take risks get killed off. The net result is that the older population will be far more risk adverse.

If Tom's answer about 30 odd deaths per year/100,000 is correct, then the average age would be around 3000 years, but more properly it would be a half life of roughly 1500 years.

Then with the increase in risk adversity kicking in, it will be more like fresh nuclear waste: An initial fast decay, then slower and slower.

1b. I can see a sizable number of people getting bored. "If you think you are tired of life, risk it." As people take risks, some of them lose. So mortality curves may dip then rise.

  1. A huge chunk of the economy shifts. If we model present society as steady state, with average life span of 80 years, then at any given time roughly 8% of the population is pre-school, 15% are in elementary and high school. and a similar number are retired.

  2. Children become rare. So much so, that I suspect that people will move to "Smallville" when they have kids, stay resident there for the 20 years it takes them to grow up, then leave. This will allow reasonable density of other kids to grow up with.

  3. I hope that immortality keeps our minds flexible. I know a lot of people my age who are already suffering from ossification of the brain. If this isn't prevented, then 'hidebound' will be an understatement.


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