Yesterday, the New American Foundation and Arizona State University with help from the IEET’s Sean Hays and with Aubrey de Grey as a main speaker, sponsored a conference on the future of life extension and its global ramifications: economic, social, and political.
Will 250 be the new 100 in the foreseeable future? As we discuss on my blog, human life expectancy has made steady gains over the last two centuries, and anti-aging scientists are eager to trigger a radical extension in our life spans. How likely is such a spike? And how desirable is it to live to be a quarter of a millennium? These were the core questions that were addressed at the conference.
At the conference, Aubrey de Grey (IEET Fellow and Chief Scientist, SENS Foundation) said that “radical life extension is a turn-off to a lot of people, especially people on Capitol Hill, because they imagine it as people getting old and extending the frail and infirmed portion of their lives indefinitely. This is a pretty old understanding of radical life extension.” Aubrey de Grey argued that instead of maximizing the existing life expectancy with drugs and diet, using “regenerative medicine,” periodic repair of the mechanism, is the avenue to achieve real gains in life expectancy. He spoke against attitudes on the demographic consequences of life expectancy since the effects will only accumulate over the next century. According to de Grey, the policy we need to care about is making the case for more research monies for the biology and therapy of aging today, not dealing with consequences of having a society full of centenarians.