October 22, 2019

Billionaires Shouldn’t Live Forever

“Editors’ note: This is part of a series, “Op-Eds From the Future,” in which science fiction authors, futurists, philosophers and scientists write Op-Eds that they imagine we might read 10, 20 or even 100 years from now. The challenges they predict are imaginary — for now — but their arguments illuminate the urgent questions of today and prepare us for tomorrow. The opinion piece below is a work of fiction.

So I see that Peter Thiel and Sergey Brin are squabbling about politics again. At one level that’s not surprising, since they’ve been at political odds for years. Indeed, as far back as 2016, Brin, like many tech billionaires, expressed deep concern about the election of Donald Trump, while Thiel was famously a Trump supporter.

But that was more than half a century ago; last year, Thiel celebrated his 100th birthday, although he doesn’t look a day over 60. Yet they’re still at it.

And until recently it seemed all too likely that their argument would go on for decades to come. As a classic line has it, people generally get worse as they grow older, because they become more like themselves. And today’s billionaires just keep getting older, and older, and older.”

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