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Longer Lifespans

As science gives us longer, healthier lives, what are the costs – and will it widen the divide between the haves and have-nots?

Khairul’s story

In 2053, the growing elderly population is a primary social concern. Like many of his peers, Khairul, 26, has devoted his career to caring for the old.

As a health consultant, Khairul oversees the health and quality of life of his patients in his estate of Jurong. Working remotely from the local community hospital, Khairul projects himself holographically into the homes of his patients to conduct checkups and occupational therapy sessions.

Khairul is able to prepare health plans and prescribe medicine with the help of the extensive data that he receives from remote scanning systems. Smart computers monitor patients in their own homes, providing Khairul with up-to-date readings all year round.

But problems also loom large in the health sector. A large faction of self-proclaimed naturalists has sprung up, vehemently protesting gene editing, a medical procedure that has recently gained huge popularity. With new advancements in medicine, people are living twice as long as before, creating a strain on resources.

Most heartbreakingly, the ever-widening income gap has resulted in uneven access to the best medical treatments. Khairul is at a loss as to how to help those who cannot get the treatment they need.

Food for thought

Even as lifespans increase, might there be challenges to a person’s health and mental well-being?

With medical research in areas such as stem cells and cloning, do you think there are any ethical concerns surrounding modern or future medicinal experiments?

What are some potential medical breakthroughs you think could drastically improve standard of living, and not just life expectancy?

In an increasingly digitally savvy and convenient world, what might need to change for humans to remain healthy?

How might individuals be able to take charge of their own health in the future?