“It is likely we’ll see a real shift in personal relationships,” said Zhavoronkov. “People will postpone personal bonding and marriage, and there will probably be more same sex relationships, more experimenting with their partners. We’re probably going to have fewer children and birthrates will go down.”
Meanwhile, the earth will inevitably be called upon to provide more natural resources.
“Technology and robots will take care of much of the requirements of daily life,” said Zhavoronkov, director of the Biogerontology Research Foundation, a U.K.-based think tank on aging. “Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in the earth allows us to efficiently extract shale gas from everywhere, and that will give the U.S. virtual energy independence from the rest of the world. That also portends the U.S. becoming the next exporter of energy within 10 to 15 years.”
Zhavoronkov foresees a society where energy affects the ability to produce almost anything for itself.
“It’s not unrealistic to see a world without famine, without limited resources and a major increase in utilities,” he said. “Technology may even allow us to be able to 3D print our own food, given enough energy and nutrients.”
Once the daily needs of the people are met, Zhavoronkov believes the highest impact element of society will be knowledge and content.
“The longer you live, the longer you’re going to live, said Zhavoronkov, “This is because of the biomedical advances brewing in labs worldwide that will propagate into clinical practice soon. Knowledge will be increasingly traded for money, making the elderly among the most sought after citizens because of their experience and lifelong learning. The ability to create great content is going to significantly boost your social status and societal rank.
“The elderly will be able to sell their thoughts to produce content for money,” he said. “That will make them self-sufficient, and not financially dependent on younger people.”
If all goes well, said Zhavoronkov, not only will they continue to contribute to society, but technology will allow people to work from remote areas and form large interdisciplinary teams to solve complex problems in a freelance manner.
Meanwhile, society will necessarily need to adjust to the new paradigm.
“With a predicted 9 billion people on the planet by 2050, and 2 billion of them over the age of 60, the challenge will be not enough working people to pay for the rest,” said Kennedy. “You can see that the increase in lifespan presents new economic challenges. So it is critical that we do more effective outreach to keep people at work and productive longer. That is what we’ll get by increasing the healthspan. We have a silver tsunami coming and we have to get ready for it economically.”