Face Transplants

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What If We Plan Our Future?
Chapter 2


Major Prediction No. 3: Age Disguising: With face transplants and cell revitalization, 80-year-olds will pass for 25-year-olds later this century. The social repercussions of permanent youth will be astounding.



When they close the book on the 21st Century at midnight 2100, party goers will welcome the New Year with drink, song and tales about the miraculous transformations of the human body during the previous 100 years. With face transplants, muscle implants, cell revitalization, bionics and anti-aging potions, etc., old age will become extinct.

Prediction No. 14: 
One of the most exciting advancements in the 21st Century will be Face Transplants. Our society's pre-occupation with youth will be well served when people can clone a younger version of their face.

By 2050, a middle-aged patient with bags and wrinkles around their eyes, patches of dry skin, and numerous deep indentations around their mouth can go through a miraculous transformation. Surgeons, just prior to grafting on the newer, fresher skin (cloned and nurtured in a biotechnology lab), will remove fat deposits, fill in indentations and tighten facial muscles. After a few days of healing, the patient will be ready to enjoy life as a 25-year-old – again.

Face transplants in the early 21st Century will force people who are 80 to be carded for cigs and booze. Artwork by Alessandra Andrisani.

Face transplants will also allow people who don't like the original model to make major adjustments. By 2050, people will have the option of having their face dramatically altered. Women can choose to look like Marilyn Monroe and men can choose a Clark Gable face (large ears included for an extra fee). 

And the exciting thing about Face Transplants and cell revitalization – rejuvenating our entire skin from head to toe - 
is that by 2050 it will become socially acceptable to date outside of your age bracket. It will be quite common for an 80-year-old woman (who can pass for 25) to date a 25-year-old man. She'll enjoy his innocence and he'll enjoy her wisdom.

Today we can’t imagine this. But if Shirley (who turned 80 on February 14 in 2067) looks no different than she did when she turned 25 on February 14 in 2012, than how can Jeremy (who is actually 25 in 2067) tell the difference? With marriage contacts having time limits (usually 5 years – please see “Social Change in the 21st Century”), many in that day won’t care how old a person is. And the implications of this social change where age is no longer a consideration will fill volumes of encyclopedias.



Theebia, doing a favor for her friend Jason, stopped by the beach to pick up Jason's great-grandparents to bring them to his family reunion.

She spoke into her cloud phone when she had trouble locating the great-grandparents. "Jason, you said your great-granddad would be here? I don't see him."

Jason responded, "That's where he said he'd be."

Theebia took a closer look at the college men playing volleyball. They could all pass for 21-year-olds. She whispered into her phone, "There's some college guys playing volleyball but I don't recognize anyone who would be your ancestor. They're all too handsome."

"He's in the blue trunks," suggested Jason.

Theebia smiled again. "I got him. Wow, he had a great face transplant. And your great-grandma should be at the library?" Although Theebia had not met the woman, she admired her because she was working on her fourth Ph.D. "No," Jason responded. "She's at cheerleading practice." 

One of the people in this game is actually 80 years old. Guess which one?

* * *

Analysis: As much as there is a human instinct for survival, there is a human instinct to retain our youth. The acceptance of face transplants will come slowly as the first models will be primitive and expensive. But like any new technology, as technologies for cloning advances and costs drop sometime after 2050, a vast majority of people over the age of sixty will opt for a younger version of themselves.

What will the social repercussions of all this be? Certainly the entire make up of our society will change. Older people will still be smarter and more experienced. But after 2050, people hanging out in bars or at parties won’t know or care about the age of the person they’re talking to. At the same time, intimate relations and even marriages (remember, many marriages will have time limits) will commonly occur between people of great age differences. What might seem absurdly ridiculous today - an 80-year-old with a 25-year-old - won’t matter in 2059 when an 80-year-old can pass for 25. The next chapter “How Biotechnology Will Alter The Human Condition” will explain how the rest of the human body will be rejuvenated.

Social changes will include that older people can take more pride in themselves and more hope for a better future. Younger people will also have hope – realizing they won’t suffer the discomforts of senior citizenship. Eventually “old age” will be something the history books and multi-dimensionals will talk about. To further illustrate this impending social change, at some point after 2060, it will be against the law to require an individual to disclose their age. Even passports won’t list a traveler’s age. Hummm, parts of the future may be very positive.