The Consequences of Immortality
Indeed, whether this will happen is a matter of futurists, whose job is to weigh in various possibilities and make responsible predictions. Paul Saffo has been particularly prescient in the past and his ideas count in the Silicon Valley, where most of the research projects which can make this vision come true are being undertaken. However, since the thought has entered the realm of possibility, it is useful to think about the social and moral consequences of such a thing happening.
But, before that, we should stop and think for a moment whether we live in a world of scarcity or of abundance. Originating, possibly, from Steven Covey, the suggestions about abundance thinking are already everywhere. Daniel Pink's work pre-assumes a world of abundance and luxury. So, does Chris Anderson's, who believes that abundance will make zero-pricing a feasible business model. The possibility of immortality should break down the last barriers of scarcity - that of time - and it should make abundance thinking far more plausible than ever before.
In fact, to question the moral costs of immortality, Chris Anderson's thinking is a good place to start. I found zero-pricing idea interesting, but it seemed a bit out of place for me in the midst of all the hunger and deprivation that I see, on television and while travelling. It seems to me that the abundance model is based on an inappropriate, only partial, estimation of the costs involved. But, then, when I brought this up in my discussion with Sudhakar Ram, who is leading The New Constructs initiative that I referred to earlier, he had an interesting point: He divided the $60 Trillion world annual GDP by the 6 Billion population, and pointed out that, in fact, we have $10,000 annual per capita GDP in the world. With a more equitable distribution, we can indeed bring out everyone out of poverty and create an atmosphere of affluence, which can not happen till we have a scarcity mentality, which gives rise to hoarding and exclusion.
This, by itself, is an interesting point. I wouldn't even call it Utopian, because no one is suggesting 'equal' distribution and of taking the initiative for enterprise away. This remains, however distant, a practical possibility. As does immortality. And, indeed, if immortality is possible, it suddenly takes away the cost on time, and demolishes the labour theory of value altogether, because if the supply of time becomes unlimited, it is likely to be valueless.
Like, air. But, saying that, one gets to see the problem. When time may become valueless, air, and other natural things we have so far taken for granted, may become invaluable. Of course, Oxygen is commercially produced and you can already buy Oxygen cans through vending machines in some countries, but this is currently for medical purposes and for the kicks. But this may soon be needed to be made available more widely for sustaining life. So, while time becomes zero-priced, air and water may move to the opposite direction, as it seems to be already doing.