Will rejuvenation actually be available if invented?

So let’s say that as I type this, some researchers in a lab somewhere are having an oh-my-God moment: “This rat is young again!!” Okay, so it takes awhile to show that the results can be replicated, rather longer to demonstrate the same effect in monkeys; but OMG the Fountain of Youth is HERE!

Nothing will ever be the same again?


Will the discovery be kept secret? Become a jealously guarded source of power and wealth by its creators? Used only for the benefit of an elite? Kept under wraps while the consequences for humanity as a whole are debated? There are those who claim that people ought to have finite lifespans, that "death is a part of life"¹ Others might worry about the consequences of cutting the death rate on an already overcrowded planet.

IOW, how long after the discovery of perpetual youth would Joe Sixpack actually get to have it- if ever?

¹A sentiment that I personally consider to be on a par with “plagues are God’s punishment for our sins”

I don’t think something like that could be kept secret, especially considering how large the financial market for a product like that would be.

Yeah, everybody’s money is the same color and there’s still more of it among the unwashed billions than there is among the elite.

If we’d have to go through puberty again, count me out.

I’m an athiest, but the whole concept of going to heaven FOREVER does not sound enticing.

The only thing that would prevent it being distributed widely would be simple economics - is the process too expensive to make it available to Joe Six-Pack? And that’s an equation that’s going to be constantly changing, because as the more mature the technology becomes, the cheaper it becomes.

“Keeping it secret” is never going to work. Science never progresses in a vacuum. If someone figures out a “Fountain of Youth” treatment, there’s a hundred other people who are just a step behind them in making the same discovery.

If this was discovered tomorrow, there’d be several countries that would invest heavily in making it widely available, because it would be an antidote to several demographic bombs that are waiting to explode a number of modern countries that having aging populations and insufficient replacement birthrates.

I don’t think you get powerful and wealthy by keeping anything secret and only supplying it to elites. Unless they make you an offer to buy your invention outright. In which case they are just going to turn around and sell it to the masses to get powerful and wealthy.
If you have a high demand good or service and there is a way to make it affordable to the masses while reaping a decent margin on each unit sold, you are golden.

Think of the unemployment if no one had to (or could afford to) retire. If you want to live forever, you probably need to work forever.

Work for fifty, take twenty off, repeat.

It would completely morph our society into something unrecognizable.

No more abortion laws, no more seatbelt laws.

Climate change would be taken more seriously.

Water prices would be through the roof.

Heavy investment in desalination of sea water.

I don’t even want to think of the dystopian population control laws that would come of this.

Oh and religion would probably go bye bye. Not that I would complain.

Already happened:

Google for Yamanaka Factors for more. So why aren’t they trying them out on humans? My understanding is that they greatly increase the chance of cancer in humans.

There’s no way something so valuable, so extremely high in-demand, could be kept a secret, and kept from the masses. Sooner or later, the secret would be leaked or the formula cracked, and economic competition would bring the price way down.

It might be impossible to bring it down to the level that everyone could afford, but it would certainly be a low-to-middle class price.

They’ll slap a huge price tag on it so only the rich assholes can have it.

Yeah, this. What it means to “retire” will change. But there are other factors to consider. What will it mean when regular people are able to actually pay off a 30-year mortgage, while still having a significant lifespan to look forward to? I could see a culture where you work your ass off for the first 30, 40, 50 years of your life, until you get a house paid off, at which point your monthly living expenses drop much lower. Lots of people could live with just part-time work if they didn’t have to make a rent or mortgage payment every month.

But who is “They” in this scenario? As mentioned, eventually this technology will be available all over the world. I’d bet good money that some smaller countries would figure out pretty quickly that offering the treatments at a reasonable cost draws in a lot of business from around the world. There’s lots of ways we could keep the costs down.

I’ve often thought that this should be available to all, from government sources, and the cost is “Half your net worth”, whatever that is. This helps avoid the worst of wealth concentration among the immortal rich people, while still making it available to the masses.

Heck, there would be a lot of people who might even have a negative net worth, so they’d be getting paid to take the treatments!

Is this elixir of youth difficult to make? Is it expensive? It’s highly sought after already so it can and will cost a fortune.

I’ve never taken my kids to Disney World because of my disgust for The Fast Past, this is just another one for only a select few.

But would there be a job waiting for you after twenty years? I don’t think most people would risk it, and would just keep working forever.

Spend several years working a job you hate. Squirrel away every penny you can. When you have saved enough, go back to school to learn the skills for a better job. Repeat until you find a job you love, from which you don’t want to retire.

Yeah, this is the pattern I’d expect, aside from the “never retire” bit at the end.

One reason few people go back to school in their 50s or 60s is the expectation that, even if you could learn something new, it would be very difficult to break into a new career at such an age. No one wants “the new guy” to be that old, and close to retirement.

But if being that old is no longer a problem, it becomes much easier to switch careers. Work for a couple of decades, save up some money, take a 10 year vacation, then go back to school for something new that’s caught your eye. Work that for a decade or two, then repeat.

Hell, we could even have sub-careers that build to a larger, over-all career. I’ve always wanted to be an asteroid miner. So, spend 20 years doing stuff with Space X, making cost to orbit affordable, then spend a few decades building up orbital infrastructure around Earth, then a few decades on building ships that can travel from Earth to the other planets, and then finally set up shop as an asteroid miner. So what if that takes me a hundred years? I’ve got the time.

Work your ass off in a low paying job you hate but build a nest egg. Get young and live forever off the interest and capital gains doing whatever you want.

Less steps.

I think a more realistic scenario to consider is what if we have a therapeutic that looks incredibly promising, but can’t be released for general sale until clinical trials have been completed that may take years, if not decades, for obvious reasons.

In that scenario, you may well have a lot of corruption in terms of who gets to be on the trials, and labs worldwide trying to synthesize the drug / emulate the procedure, illegally.
Heck, perhaps such a promising drug / therapy is in trials right now, but a lot of effort has gone into keeping it quiet to avoid this kind of chaos?
I think this is a more plausible way for there to be a secret elixir.