"One constraint on this question that I forgot to add was, I was asking, what are the short-term consequences? Because, obviously, if we look 100-1000 years ahead, the waters will be hopelessly muddied by other independent social and technological variables."Yeah, well. I still maintain its a revolution that will result in financial chaos for quite some time. But here's why I am an idiot. I've been thinking like a privileged white male about it. You know, like the way an overfed, overgroomed, pampered sleek house cat, one that had a relatively affluent (compared to a feral or alley cat) existence filled with luxuries and distractions, would think about things.
Silly me! I just naturally assumed that everyone wants to live forever. I didn't stop to think that the majority of the people in this world live miserable fucking lives. Maybe it's because I've never had to eat rancid meat, spoiled vegetables, drank water laced with someone else's shit in it. Experienced the wonders of massive parasitic infestations, worms, leeches, bug larvae under my skin, trypanosoma, malaria, protozoans, not to mention the usual wasting diseases. Living hand to mouth in squalor for the next thousand years, with occasional bouts of famine and war, and the associated maiming and disfiguring, suddenly eternal youth doesn't look too appealing.
It seems to me the majority of the resources, cash, talent, and time will be devoted to quality of life enhancements for the rich immortals. And why not? They can pay for it anyway. Why live in fear of getting cancer, or a stroke, or a heart attack? Let's fund all that right out of existence. Because all those frat boys and sorority girls deserve to live forever (and that mentality will quickly become calcified into their social consciousness).
Whoa, wait a minute, what about childbirth? Even under "modern" medical conditions, giving birth is a pretty fucking dangerous thing. If I'm a woman that has perhaps a thousand years ahead, I'll be thinking twice about having a kid. Perhaps I can find a surrogate mom. Even better, gang press them into service. Womb farms. A return to chattel slavery? And why should these walking wombs need to be smart? Lobotomize 'em, which is what the machine ought to have done in "The Matrix". A Brave New World?
Again, I ask the question, is this condition of eternal youth heritable? Because if it is, are you ready to curse someone with a birth defect or an accident of delivery to a thousand years of disabilites? Chronic pain? Are you ready to fend after them, take care of them? I thought not. You are going to have to seriously rethink abortion.
And, let's face it, if it turns out that the condition of eternal youth is not heritable, you have a whole new underclass to exploit. "Shorties", the short-lived, to do all those dangerous jobs, to do all those tedious menial things, to be property. Or at the least, the equivalent of subhuman. Like Jack Vance's "Telek".
And what if this rejuvenation turns out to regress brain structures? Sure, you may be 80 going on 25, with a lifetime of wisdom, but, working around twenty-somethings all day, I can tell you there's something missing in the thought processes. That brain has not quite grown into the front of the skull yet. Are you ready to be ruled by trillionaire frat boys? Retarded smug gods?
Oh, I'm not liking this at all... I'm seeing the darkest Dark Ages we never come out of.