Why are we not surprised?


Fresh dispatch from the eternal search for the fountain of youth!

As Fortune reports, a recent consumer report, conducted by the strategy group A/B Consulting and the VC firm Maveron, shows that 41 percent of America's wealthiest would happily download their consciousness into a computer as a means to live forever. Looks like Mark Zuckerberg's dusty — and multibillion-dollar — metaverse dreams might just have a target audience after all.

Just Another Day

From their fondness for anti-aging "biohacking" therapies to rumored head-freezings and vampiric, youth-obsessed blood-swapping, it's no secret that longevity — and straight-up immortality — are common pursuits among the wealthy. And in their quest to defeat death, some of the world's wealthiest are also looking to cash in on the lucrative market; Amazon founder and cool guy Jeff Bezos, for example, has a lot of money in immortality tech efforts.

Brain downloading, however, represents a very particular type of immortality hunting, at least when compared to these more physical means of staying alive for as long as possible. And considering how much of our lives are already spent in the digital world, it could, in theory, be a feasible way for people to retain their wealth, power, and influence in perpetuity — if, of course, human consciousness could ever actually be distilled into an algorithm.

On that note: per Fortune, only 19 percent of the lower-income Americans surveyed reported that they would want a tech firm to download their mind into a computer.

Designer Babies

And apparently, according to the report, the brain downloading thing is hardly even the tip of the iceberg. Per Fortune, another 41 percent of America's wealthiest admitted that they would be down to gene edit their future children. Meanwhile, only 20 percent of lower-income folks told surveyors that they would consider the same.

So, you know, super normal and definitely non-eugenic things happening over with America's elite. But while brain downloading and gene editing are certainly extreme, the wealthy's apparent willingness to go through with kooky, ethically murky practices and procedures seems to be symptomatic of a larger, wealth-driven divide.

"With rising health care costs and wellness increasingly becoming a privilege of the elite," Anarghya Vardhana, general partner at Maveron, told Fortune, "our study confirmed the idea wealthier populations are willing to invest in more cutting edge and risky therapies, almost all of them associated with out-of-pocket costs."

More on the wealthy and immortality: Youth-obsessed Tech Mogul Now Swapping Blood with His Teenage Son

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