The Promise of Longer Human Life: How We Can Prepare for Our Aging Population
In the past two centuries, the average human life expectancy has increased dramatically – from 29 to nearly 70.
As technology and science continue to advance, this trend can only move upwards.
It means that more people will live longer than ever before, which raises a lot of questions about how society will cope with this new reality.
Fortunately, it looks as though our worst fears may be unfounded.
From gene-hacking to younger brothers, it’s now possible to make sure that long lives are not experienced as difficult burdens on society.
To achieve this a number of strategies must be employed such as age friendly spaces and products that cater to the old and young alike – so there’s something for everyone.
The truth is that society just needs some time to adjust to all these changes in order for us to reach a comfortable equilibrium point where everyone’s needs are met and we all benefit from living in a world where people get to experience longer lives without having an adverse effect on those around them.
The Fear of Immortality: How Our Ancestors Tried to Conquer Death but Realized Its Possibilities Could be a Curse
Humans have always been captivated by the concept of death and mortality – our understanding that we were born to one day die has preoccupied us for thousands of years.
Many cultures throughout history have come up with their own theories as to why humans face mortality; from Ancient Greece, where it was believed that illness and suffering were punishments from Zeus, to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, in which immortality is seen as a curse.
Our ancestors dedicated a lot of time to trying to defy death, with the practice of alchemy focused on the possibility of finding elixirs able to extend our lifetime.
These attempts go further than just prolonging life; modern science is now seeking ways of preventing aging and keeping us healthier for longer.
As such, while it is true that throughout history humans have tried to understand mortality and aging, they also seek now to overcome them.
Modern Science Can Help us Live Longer and Healthier Lives, but at What Cost?
It’s clear that technology is going to have a huge impact on our lives in the near future.
But, one of the most incredible advances will be in the field of healthcare.
New technology will not only extend our life-span, but also help us maintain an improved quality of life for longer.
There are several new technologies which are now being used to treat diseases that have long been thought untreatable.
Tissue engineering is enabling doctors to repair and restore organs, and surgeons can use regenerative techniques such as extracellular matrix (ECM) to regrow tissue and skin.
Genomics is a particularly powerful tool when it comes to disease screening and treatment.
We now able to quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively sequence an entire human genome, and use this information to personalize treatments for cancer or HIV so that they’re much more effective than ever before.
The Benefits of Prolonging Life: Exploring the Moral Implications of What Could Be the Key to Living Longer
Though advances in science and medicine have the potential to greatly extend human life spans, there are many people who view this capability with suspicion.
They worry that it will make us less human, be a poor use of resources, or cause us to lose interest in life.
But these moral objections often fail to recognize the advantages of making such advancements.
For example, Leon R. Kass’ argument that extended life spans are incompatible with our human nature is untrue; 1850’s shorter life expectancy of 42 years doesn’t mean that we were more “human” then, simply because we were closer to death.
Furthermore, humans are quite capable of coping with changes like increased lifespans – it’s just another form of evolution.
Likewise, many critics argue that longevity research takes too great a share of resources away from poorer communities and countries – which is incorrect as well.
Dr. Audrey Duhamp from the Connecticut Health Center points out that aging research does not require significant financial investment from wealthy nations or states in comparison with other industries’ demands and is actually capable of providing health benefits to poorer countries if used properly.
Singling out longevity research as immoral is thus an oversimplification that disregards its potential health benefits on a global scale.
The Fear of Population Growth Is Overstated: Longer Lives Don’t Necessarily Lead to More People, Resource Scarcities, or Environmental Damage
The idea of increased life spans leading to population growth is one that’s been around for a while – but the actual impact may not be as big as we think.
According to research done at the University of Chicago, if everyone on Earth stopped aging completely, the population would only increase by 22 percent in 100 years.
And even that small increase doesn’t necessarily mean more people fighting over fewer resources or an environmental disaster.
A larger, older population can actually help resource availability rather than harm it.
Daily calorie intake per capita has been increasing all over the world ever since records started being kept, despite the increasing population size.
Plus, an older and larger population means more ideas and innovation that will help reduce any potential harmful impact on the environment.
In short, an increased life span may lead to some additional positive benefits such as more ideas and innovations that can be used to tackle environmental issues.
The effect on overall population sizes may not be as huge as feared either!
Living to 150 May Introduce a Wider Range of Family Structures and Age Gaps in Siblings
As our life spans become longer and fertility technology progresses, the family unit of the future is sure to change.
We are no longer restricted to having children in our late teens or early twenties; with rising fertility technology we can have children well beyond that.
This means larger age gaps between siblings, with an age gap as large as 40-50 possible.
Another consequence of this is that parents will be much older when their children are born; potentially causing difficulty playing and handling them.
However, if science is able to improve aging and health problems related to old age, then the effect on the parent-child bond should not be too severe.
Additionally, families may become even more varied than they currently are today – since people will likely form relationships multiple times throughout their lifetime, resulting in a wider variety of family types built on social rather than biological ties (between stepchildren and foster parents).
Living Longer Could be an Economic Advantage: Here’s How
Living longer has the potential to be a great economic advantage.
Research shows that if one country has a life expectancy five years higher than another, its real income per capita will rise 0.3 to 0.5 percent faster.
This is due to an educated and experienced workforce, as well as the benefit of having more time for wages in your career path.
A larger pool of educated workers flows into the job market when people stay in work for an extended period of time due to increased lifetime.
Rodolfo Manuelli and Ananth Seshadri revealed that differences in economic output among countries can be correlated with fluctuations in human capital – which means education plays a major role here.
Furthemore, poorer countries are set to gain more economically from greater longevity as compared to highly developed ones.
For instance, Mexico had welfare gains up to 27 percent of GDP between 1965 and 1995 while the United States had only 5 percent over the same period of time due to increased lifetime – showing how valuable increased lifespans could be for lower-income countries.
The Rising Need for a New Religion as Technology Enables Us to Live Longer Lives
As science advances, humans are granted the possibility to live longer and healthier lives.
It’s a question of when, not if we will reach that point in our development.
Even though it could seem that such a long lifespan would lead to us becoming less religious, this might not be the case.
The concept of an afterlife is deeply embedded in many major world religions and having a longer life gives us more time to think about the big questions in life.
This may offer an opportunity for new forms of spirituality to extend beyond what the main religions provide including a new kind of religion based on our reverence for human consciousness and knowledge as postulated by notable futurist Ray Kurzweil’s movement which calls itself “transhumanism”.
Living longer doesn’t mean residing away from religion and spirituality, but living longer will change our relationship with both.
We need to prepare and educate ourselves accordingly so that we can face any changes as they come.
Encouraging Support for Longevity Through Investing in Biohacking
In order for the longevity movement to successfully progress, it is essential for future leaders, politicians, and other influential people to be educated and informed about how to effectively promote it.
People like Oprah Winfrey and Mehmet Oz have already become powerful ambassadors for the cause through their advocacy on television shows.
Likewise, the technology industry has taken a major interest in the endeavor by providing support such as Google’s Larry Page and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen investing in biohacking.
Scientific breakthroughs are further being promoted through incentive prizes such as Archon Genomics XPRIZE, with Stephen Hawking giving his backing to this particular project because he believes that genome sequencing can ultimately lead to treatments of serious diseases.
It is these efforts that give people hope and demonstrate that healthy life extension is achievable with sufficient investment in the right areas.
Moving forward, those in power must understand the great potential offered by advancements in biotechnology and master how best to promote them so they can provide us with longer lives full of better health opportunities.
The final summary of this book is that even though living longer and healthier lives due to advances in technology and science may have huge impacts on society, humanity has the creativity and strength to take on these new challenges.
We shouldn’t be afraid of a life-span that continually extends or an aging population.
Instead, we should embrace the opportunities and strive to make the most of the changing world.