@Wikistrat Report Released: “The Bicentennial Woman”

The first 200-year old woman is coming – or maybe she is already here…

With the 21st century promising to be the “century of biology”, one can plausibly conceive of a human – most logically a woman – finally breaking the 200-year age barrier. She will probably be born within the next century: indeed, some experts believe that the first “Bicentennial Woman” (BCW) may already be alive today.

This week, Wikistrat has released the report from its strategic simulation “The Bicentennial Woman”. Back in December 2013, Cat was asked to be the Lead Analyst on a two-week crowd sourced simulation for the life story of the world’s first Bicentennial Woman.

From “Alice 6840S-12z” to “Zeynep from Izmir”, the 42 BCWs had lives that tended to fall either into a dystopian nightmare or a utopian dream. A long life is not necessarily a good life. Major economic, social, political and human infrastructure innovation will be required if lives 200 years long are to be of good quality.

In the dystopian category, analysts envisaged futures with high-cost technology, low quality of life and growing social inequality and instability. See “Sonya” below, for example.

In the utopian camp, the BCW enjoys her second century of life, being an inspirational symbol for a world with greater environmental stability and collective long-term approaches to common problems. See “Inge” below.

This is more than science fiction. We conducted the work to explore the implications for society of technological developments that will have major political, social and economic implications. By bringing the careers, choices and concerns of 42 women to life and disseminating the insights from the simulation, Wikistrat aims to promote a deeper understanding of this under-discussed issue. Progress will not be containable and will be difficult to manage, so it is best to start thinking about the consequences now.

The simulation’s summary report looks at some key uncertainties and questions about the nature of the benefits and challenges faced in a future with citizens living until they are 200.  Read the full report here.

Sonya volunteered for a drug trial in college that would attempt to increase her muscle strength. However, the long-term effects of the drug had not been properly studied. Sonya started experiencing serious mood swings later in life and found it hard to concentrate to the point where she could not stand being around other people. She stopped taking the drug, but it was too late. After a life of pain and isolation, Sonya was found dead at the age of 200, at which point the full extent of the experiment’s failure became public. A mixture of shock and horror made the public extremely reluctant to support further bioengineering research. Some programs were halted and guarantees adopted in others to make sure this would never happen again.

Born in 2015 in Stockholm, Inge never marries, but has one daughter. Shortly after her 60th birthday, she experiences chest pains and undergoes a stress-test that finds her heart function deteriorating. She agrees to a newly-developed treatment that injects stem cells directly into her heart, which is so successful that her heart is rejuvenated to that of a 25-year old. This treatment is repeated in more advanced forms when she is 100 and 160. When her kidneys fail in her 80s, she does the same. Swedish physicians develop an interest in Inge’s remarkably successful responses to stem cell treatments and offer her other regenerative treatments as they become available. By the age of 200, Inge has outlived her daughter, as well as most of her other family and friends. She starts to question the wisdom of living such a long life, but she won’t be the last bicentennial woman. Thanks in part to what physicians have learned from her experience, life expectancy in Sweden becomes the highest in the world.