Who Wants to Live Forever

“I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying." - While Woody Allen might only achieve the former, many younger people rightfully aim for the latter: Not dying. At all. Or at least not for next two or three hundred years or so.

It has been a human desire for as long as we can think of, but now, it seems that this vision is within reach. And while I don't want to go into scientific details about the progress of slowing death or indeed achieve immortality (you can start exploring the discourse here, here or here) I think it's important to talk about the implications of not dying.

There is of course a financial impact. Already pension funds have trouble providing enough money for a rapidly agening population. The lifespan of people that have stopped working but aren't dead has grown remarkably in the last 60 years. Those peoples savings will have to last for many more years and most of them have a lifetime pension, guaranteed by the state. If they don't die, that’s going to be very expensive. And even if those who only have a limited pension don't die, what’s going to happen? Are they all going to live in poverty? "Altersarmut" or poverty among the elderly will be a term we might use much more often in the future.

But probably, the ones who cannot afford to live forever will eventually die. That leads to an even scarier outcome. It is save to assume that the medicine and treatments for extending ones lifespan will cost a lot of money. So who will live forever? The rich and the powerful. The one percent that already owns half of the world and is getting richer by the day. Death, the most important constant of life, will not apply to those who have. And it will prevent them even more to share their wealth with others. Money and power will not be naturally redistributed after the death of even the mightiest and richest despot. They will be keeping it to them selves and they will stay in charge. Of their companies, their governments, their organisations.

So before we celebrate the medical breakthroughs that will certainly be substantial - with the raise of artifical intelligence, gene editing (think of CRISPR) and personalized medicine - we should consider what it means. Living in an society where people don't die might just be less fun than we think.

Sincerely yours,

Panaman

 

 

 

Data will become the money of the poor and the controlling power of the rich.

Use Gmail for free and give all your data to Google instead. Have a crashbox in your car or wear a health wristband and you’ll get your insurance cheaper. Have a smart device analyze your home energy consumption and reduce energy costs.

And why not leave your GPS, camera and microphone of your smartphone always on? Siri and Cortana can help you much more reliable and faster. And of course — for free!

Data is already big and will evermore unlock huge business opportunities. Smart algorithms and AI’s like IBM’s Watson will analyze social and individual patterns and offer tailor made products and solutions.

The rich and well educated may choose to opt out. Already there are luxury hotels offering digital free zones. To disconnect and have more time to spend with your children, dog or just to go hiking is the new status symbol of the upper class.

They can afford to pay for their newspaper, heating, navigation and insurance. And the are able and willing to make their own individual decisions.

The unskilled masses who’s jobs will be increasingly under threat by computers and robots however, will be glad to share their data to reduce their bills. And they will also be glad to consume products that are made to entertain them, because they are based on their individual customs and behaviors. They’ll get cheaper and better services, just for sharing their everyday data.

What a brave new world.

Sincerely yours,

Panaman

NZZ - Please make a proper app!

It's not that the Neue Zürcher Zeitung - one of Switzerlands oldest and most intelligent liberal newspaper isn't trying. It's just that they are desperately trying the wrong things.

After several redesigns of their website, a failed attempt to create a "web-paper" and a horrible, horrible "e-paper" that’s basically a PDF of their printed newspaper edition, NZZ is again trying to innovate and launched two new products: "NZZ Selekt" and "NZZ Geschichte".

Whilst "NZZ Geschichte" may or may not have some users that prefer this sort of content from NZZ, which has an undeniable expertise in the fields of history and politics, "NZZ Selekt" is just another in our view tragically failed attempt to cover up the fact that there just isn't a proper app that offers the same content as the printed newspaper does.

So, dear digital friends at NZZ, look no further. Instead of trying out new apps, magazines and revenue models, please just offer an app for subscribers, that offers all the content, images and graphs in a acceptable quality and, if your really feel ambitious, make some or all articles listenable with and audio stream.

That's all you need to do. Look at the Economist app, if your unsure how to do it. Oh, yes, and maybe you haven't heard of Android, a mobile OS that 80% of the world population is using. Maybe you should consider developing apps for those "other" people, which are not using an iphone.

I'm sure me and others readers would be very grateful to have one app with our beloved content instead of having to try out a new NZZ App every 6 months and still not getting what we actually are looking for.

Sincerely yours,

Panaman