The Goal of Lifelong Perfect Health

A short Slate article here looks at some comments made by Aubrey de Grey on the goals and outcomes of rejuvenation biotechnology research:

"I do not like to use the word immortality. It gives a very bad, a wrong impression about my work. I work on health. I am interested in ensuring that people will stay completely youthful, like young adults, for as long as they live," he said at a press conference at Ciudad de las Ideas, an annual conference about big ideas held in Puebla, Mexico.

de Grey is the founder of the SENS Foundation, a nonprofit that, among other things, is funding projects intended to cure aging, if not dying. His goal: that everyone may stay a health 29 for as long as they may live. "It is quite likely that there will be a big side effect of doing that, which is that people will live a lot longer, but that is just a side effect," he says.

Let's say that de Grey's research pans out - whether it's in the next 20 years, as he hopes may be possible; in the next 40, which he thinks is likely; or not for the next 100, which could happen "if we are unlucky or if we do not try hard enough." How would lifelong health change the way we live? ... "I think that actually society will be very different but ... mostly in ways that it is already moving as a result of technology, including health technologies, that are happening already," he says. "We see today many more people having multiple careers, moving from one to another; having multiple long-term partnerships one after another; generally much more equality between ages; people having partners that are very far distance from them in age. These things I think will simply continue to progress."



It just so happens that immigration to outer space will be happening just as extreme longevity treatments come on line. The science will be much easier than the cultural aspects. For instance, dramatically extending your lifespan will have profound implications when it comes to the economy. There will no doubt be two camps of thought: the one where people want to live a "normal" lifespan (i.e. 80 years?), and the second where people want to live as long as possible. Already, technology is needed or the carrying capacity of the Earth will soon crash, but also technology is expected to yield clean energy too cheap to meter, clean water from any source, exponential production using 3D printers, and many other wonders.

Otherwise, when viewed from a linear perspective, life on Earth is not going to be worth living much longer. Luckily, technology improves exponentially, so soon we are going to make a transition from a Malthusian to an economy of abundance.

Posted by: Brad Arnold at April 9th, 2013 11:37 PM

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