Responses varied based on the age a person would be “frozen” at if they were given immortality
In 1986, legendary rock band Queen released a song asking the question: “Who wants to live forever?”
Thanks to a recent survey, we now know the answer to that question, at least among US adults.
Scientists at the University of Texas found that of more than 900 people surveyed, only 33 per cent of US adults would take an immortality pill, if one existed. The study was published in the Journal of Aging Studies.
Researchers from the university separated respondents into three groups, based on age. One group was younger people, between the ages of 18 and 29, another group of senior citizens whose average age was 72, and a third group made up of individuals whose average age was 88.
Each of the groups reached a majority consensus that they would not want to live forever. However, among the youngest group and oldest group there were differences in what age they would prefer to be “frozen” at by a theoretical immortality pill.
The younger group chose the age of 23, while the oldest group picked 42.
“Younger-old and older-old adults indicated that they would prefer to live permanently at an older age than younger adults,” the study reported.
The youngest group had the largest number of individuals saying they would want to live forever, with 34 per cent saying they would take an immortality pill. Another 40 per cent said they would not take one, and 26 per cent said they were unsure.
The middle group saw slightly fewer people willing to live forever, with 32 per cent saying they would take the pill, and 43 per cent saying they would not. A quarter of the the respondents said they were unsure.
The oldest group saw the fewest number of those interested in eternal life, with only 24 per cent saying they would agree to take the pill. More than half – 59 per cent – said they would not take it, with only 17 per cent saying they were unsure.
The differences between the groups for their preferred age to be “frozen” at suggests that individuals may be more open to immortality if they can choose an age closer to their current age.
Differences in responses emerged along gender lines as well, with more men saying they would take the pill than women.
The current average life expectancy for US adults is 78.7 years according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, with women living longer on average.
“If a life extension treatment were to become available that effectively stopped ageing, young adults may be likely to use such a treatment to avoid reaching the ages at which older cohorts say they would prefer to live forever,” the study determined.