October 03, 2009
Babies Born Today To Live To 100?

Will a baby born today live to 2109 on average? (or will AI robot terminators hunt them down and kill them?)

More than half of babies now born in the UK and other wealthy nations will live to 100 years, researchers say.

If we leave aside threats like robots, nanobots, quasars, asteroids, and VEI 8 volcanoes then I think an estimate of 100 year life expectancy is much too conservative. We are headed gaining the biotechnologies needed needed to do rejuvenation of worn out body parts. Look at the post I just did on ways to stimulate muscle stem cells to repair muscles. I expect eventual cures for cancer to enable safe restoration of youthful levels of stem cell activity and therefore much better body repair.

The leader of this study is making this prediction based on a long term trend toward longer life expectancy.

Professor Kaare Christensen, of the Danish Ageing Research Centre at the University of Southern Denmark, who led the study, said life expectancy had been increasing since 1840 and there was no sign of this trend slowing down.

The problem with this trend is that the types of advances that extend life will change with time. So far the sorts of tools used to extend life (e.g. clean water, antibiotics, vaccines, more and better foods) do not directly repair the effects of aging. But that's going to change in the lifetimes of most of the people reading this. Cures for cancer, therapies for muscle repair, and growth of replacement organs are among the treatments that'll come a lot sooner than 100 years. These therapies will extend life well beyond 100 years.

Biogerontologist Aubrey D.N.J. de Grey says we will achieve actuarial escape velocity where the rate of advance of biotechnology for repairing the body will extend life at least as fast as our bodies age. Repair rates will exceed aging rates and we will therefore effectively become younger each year. If that happens in the next 100 years (and I expect it will barring disasters that wipe out humans or destroy industrial civilization) then babies being born now will live thousands of years.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 October 03 12:26 AM  Aging Studies

Phil said at October 3, 2009 12:39 AM:

I think we'll find plenty of "black swans" only to happy to cull a lot of them.

It's time the "logical induction" fallacy died a natural death.

cancer_man said at October 3, 2009 4:34 AM:

A report from the Harvard Conference on Aging and Healthy Lifespan where the big names in longevity gathered. Ray Kurzweil was afraid of taking a bus or car so stayed home:

[Cynthia Keymon] was careful not to advocate extreme lifespan, although during a Q&A, she implied that there’s no reason why we could not live much longer than currently possible. During a later panel discussion, Cynthia pointed out that the public needs to rethink what it means to be “old.” She said she can picture the day when a middle-aged man meets a beautiful, 40’s-looking woman and after some conversation asks her her age. “92” could be her response, and if you laugh at this, Cynthia says you need to readjust your thinking too.


Billy Oblivion said at October 3, 2009 9:13 AM:

Aubrey D.N.J. de Grey huh. Wonder if she's any kin to Dorian?

Nick G said at October 5, 2009 3:38 PM:

[Cynthia Keymon] was careful not to advocate extreme lifespan

It's striking that, as a culture, we're still afraid to embrace "extreme lifespan". I think most of this is subconscious despair, though I suspect that there's significant resistance in the culture of the pharma establishment, which sees too-rapid cures as very dangerous to their long-term profitability.

Life-extension will be too slow in the short-term, but dramatic in the long-term. That's kind've normal exponential behavior.

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