The Myth About Technology Only Being For The Wealthy
There is an idea out there that technology is reserved for the wealthy. This stems from the fact that technology, when introduced, tends to be very expensive. Of course, since it is version 1.0, it tends not to be very good either. However, as time passes, new iterations see improvement while costs also get pushed down.
This debate is taking on new meaning with technology entering the longevity realm. Many believe that any advancement in life expectancy in the future will be due to technological developments. This means the wealthy will gain access first since the price tag will certainly be high.
It is a situation, if it came to pass, where the elite would gain at the expense of everyone else. When it comes to things such as AI and longevity, "superpowers" could forever relegate those without the resources to keep falling further behind.
We see this situation actually playing out right now. There is a new anti-aging therapy that is going to human trials. It seeks to lengthen the telomeres, something that is believed to be key in the extension of life.
Whether this works or not is outside the scope of this article. Even if one does not feel that is any validity to these entire concept, my point here is to illustrate the process. This treatment, which is being done in Colombia to side step the FDA, costs $1 million.
This certainly reduces the number of people who can partake in the trials.
Of course, there is a question as to who would want to. At this point, even if this is a legitimate pursuit in the quest for longevity, it is far from certain how any of this will pan out. This treatment could be a waste of time or a total farce. On after they are conducted might we have any idea as to the validity of this.
However, let us suppose this is a path that does prove to be the holy grail for life extension. Does that mean that most are subject to miss out?
The answer is no.
We have a long track record with technology of exactly how it operates. Let us further argue that they did keep the prices at $1 million for the treatment. They would sign up all the billionaires and mega-millionaires. Over the course of, let's say, two years, they really are doing well.
Then what happens?
They run out of customers. Their product is priced too high for the masses to afford. Yet, there is a need out there.
Thus, we see someone else enter the marketplace opting for a much cheaper procedure. Instead of a million dollars, they are able to reduce costs down to $100K. This opens up a much larger market.
Yet again, after a certain period of time, they run out of people to cater to.
And the process keeps repeating itself.
I am old enough to recall the early days of the mobile phone. In the United States, the devices were $2,000 (which was a lot more money in the mid 1980s as compared to today) while the airtime cost $1.50 per minute. It was easy for these people to run up a phone bill of a few hundred dollars while being mindful not to overuse the phone.
Within 15 years, cell phones were all over the place with tens of millions sold. What made that possible? The fact that the devices dropped to a few hundred dollars apiece while airtime packages were much more reasonable with overages runs 10 cents or so meant the masses could afford them.
This is what will likely happen to longevity therapies if they ever prove themselves to be useful. At first, the select few will buy them which actually funds the next generations of therapies. After that, therapy 2.0 will be less expensive, drawing in more people. Ultimately, over the course of a decade or two, the advancement is so great and the prices so inexpensive that most are able to partake.
We can see the entire process sped up through the use of open source and non-proprietary research. This is expanding in all fields as certain facets of society begin to realize that many of these newer technologies do not belong in the hands (and control) of a couple mega-corporations. The DIY movement is really starting to expands as knowledge and the tools are pushed further outward.
If there is something that is too costly for the masses, give it a few years. Development tends to be ongoing and better versions arrive on the scene for less money.
A field like longevity is going to witness the same thing.
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