There have been 108 billion Homo sapiens born on Earth. But you are the very last one. With no other babies being born after you, you would be the end of the human race and its legacy.
What would your life be like? Would the whole world be your parents? How long would you live?
The world has stopped having babies. It could be a conscious choice driven by anti-natalism, the philosophy that humans should stop having children and gradually go extinct. It might be an unforeseen consequence of prolonging human life.
Or a nasty consequence of environmental pollution. Whatever the cause, the human population has slowly stopped having children. You are the last to be born, and the whole world knows it. Your life would be completely different than it is today.
From day one, you’d be a celebrity. The whole world would be fascinated with your life as you grow up. And you wouldn’t always welcome the attention. You’d be like an uber reality star, with cameras documenting your every move.
People who wish they could have had kids would be concerned about your health and well-being. And they would feel a lot of joy by watching you grow. You know the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Yeah. Well, you’d be raised by the whole world.
Everything would be provided to you, food, toys, clothing. But your lack of want would come at a high price. Your life would be completely controlled, including your schedule, what you eat, and where you go.
We’re talking helicopter parenting times a billion. Yikes. Because of your high profile, you’d have a security detail protecting you from any suspicious packages, poisoned food, and shady strangers.
You would never be alone. This constant control would harm your emotional well-being as you grow up. Children need opportunities to grow and learn on their own. Without chances to make your own mistakes, you could lack some basic skills, like managing your emotions or dealing with challenges.
And you’d be facing a lot of challenges. And while it would seem like you’re never alone, you would have a very lonely existence. You wouldn’t get the chance to play with other kids your age as you grow up.
This would damage your mental and emotional health even more. Playing is an important part of growing up that helps children develop their mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Since you wouldn’t be allowed to play with other kids, you’d develop depression and feel lonely. Hopefully, you’d have some animal companions to provide some of that love and connection, because your childhood would be difficult.
And to add to this, you’d have to be gearing up for the future. You wouldn’t go to a normal school. Instead, you’d be taught a rigorous curriculum that covers every skill. You’d be learning all kinds of things, from sewing and agriculture to engineering and metalwork. Why?
As Earth’s human population begins to dwindle, the systems that support our society would start to collapse. There wouldn’t be enough people to maintain our complicated food, energy, and communication systems. Eventually, you’d have to fend for yourself.
At least you’d have a long time to master all of these things. Prolonging human life is not science-fiction anymore. Researchers have already developed ways to extend the lives of mice by up to 40%. And one of the world’s top aging scientists, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, thinks that the first person to reach 1,000 years old has already been born.
So you’d have centuries to master all the skills you need. And centuries to adjust to the slowly dwindling population. But if life-prolonging technology exists, you wouldn’t be the only one with a super long life span. There could be other people alive for quite a while, and they’d travel to live near you, creating the last human community.
Eventually, this community would get smaller and smaller. Until, at the end of your life, you would be alone. You started your life under the gaze of billions, and you’d end it as the last human on Earth.
- “Anti-natalists: The people who want you to stop having babies”. Jonathan, Griffin. 2019. BBC News.
- “Can we live to be 1,000 years old? How science is on a mission to slow ageing and extend the human lifespan”. Victoria, Burrows. 2020. South China Morning Post.
- “Size Of The Anti-Aging Market Worldwide 2020 | Statista”. 2021. Statista.
- “How Many People Have Ever Lived On Earth?”. Toshiko, Kaneda. 2021. prb.org.
- “Reality TV: Viewers, Participants Health Effects”. 2021. Healthline.
- “The Consequences Of Children On Reality TV”. 2009. Thewrap.