What if your time here on Earth wasn't limited?

Imagine the possibilities that would come with living forever! You could spend more time with loved ones, master a variety of careers, and travel the entire world!

If everyone on Earth were immortal, we’d all have a chance to recover from our mistakes, and our society could save a ton of money on healthcare. How close are we to achieving it?

And how would longer lifespans change the nature of our relationships? Would we ever get bored of living?

First things first, achieving immortality the way it’s portrayed in the movies, where you can jump off a building and live to tell the tale, is highly unlikely. However, immortality where people don’t “die of old age” could be right around the corner.

Would our planet be able to handle a population of people with ever-expanding lifespans? In Silicon Valley, there’s a movement of billionaires and biotech companies that are developing drugs to eliminate aging and extend healthy lifespans indefinitely.

In their opinion, playing around with genetics, and reducing caloric intakes have already proven to extend the lifespans of flies, worms, and mice, so why couldn’t that work for humans? Regardless of whether these efforts are successful, the real question is: are we ready for longer lifespans?

There are almost 8 billion of us on this planet, and if we all start living for centuries on end, life is going to look a lot different. Just think of the social implications that would come along with that. For starters, the idea of being married to someone your whole life might become a thing of the past.

With a lifelong union potentially comprising upwards of 1,000 years together, we might start looking at marriages as a bunch of long-term commitments we make throughout our lives. Living longer would also mean we’d all be working a lot more. No pension plan in the world would be able to support you if you stopped working at 65 and then lived till 500.

Longer careers would be a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, with so many skilled workers staying in the workforce, our economy would be more productive than ever.

But on the other hand, if people stayed in their positions for hundreds of years, then there’d be no room for young people to find jobs and move up. This sort of stagnation would become a problem in other areas, like social progression. If the same, old-thinking leaders from the 18th century never died or retired from power, who’s to say we’d ever be able to progress past problems like racial segregation?

Even if our society found a way to regulate itself, what would the whole immortality experience be like for you as an individual? If we had virtually endless days ahead of us, wouldn’t that take away a big part of what makes life special? There would be less incentive to make every day count, and as a result, we might end up with a bunch of unhappy people on our planet.

Oh and by the way, that planet’s not getting any bigger, it’s just going to keep getting more crowded. Earth already has an overpopulation problem, and if the death rate slows to a halt, then our resources are going to start running out quickly. Suddenly the idea of immortality doesn’t seem so great after all.

Subscribe to What-If on Youtube or follow the show on Facebook Watch.