The UN population projections assume that world lifespans increase from 72.6 today to 77 in 2050 and then about 82 in 2100.
There are already populations that have life expectancy over 92 years. Asian American women in New Jersey life the longest. Decent genetics, near-optimal lifestyle and good healthcare can enable a life expectancy of 95 years without new technology.
The World Bank has projections that most of Asia will be at current Japanese levels of per capita income by 2060.
Calorie-restricted diets on monkeys showed males lived about two years longer, while calorie-restricted females lived about six years longer. There were also lower rates of heart disease and cancer in these monkeys. These are the major causes of death in people, lending support to the idea that the results apply to humans, says Luigi Fontana of the University of Brescia in Italy. The monkeys live about one-third as long as humans. There was a 30% effect on mice that live about 3 years in total. The longevity effect would likely impact human longevity by 5 to 9 years. This would mean a lot more people could make it to 95 and significantly more could make it 100.
There are combination longevity treatments that appear to have stronger life extension than just calorie restriction. There are indications that existing combination treatments could be twice as good as calorie restriction and combination gene therapy could be four times as good as calorie restriction. These treatments are also mainly just periodic injections.
If the longevity translate in a similar way as the mice to monkeys and then to humans, then human longevity technology of 2030 could enable living to 110 to 120 on a regular basis. It would take longer for this to appear in life expectancy statistics. This is because someone getting new treatment while in their 60s in 2030 would be expected to die in 2060 but would then live to 2090.
Around 2035-2060, there will be molecular nanotechnology and other second-wave radical longevity technologies.
The change in the population pyramid from 1950 to 2019 in Japan has been that the pyramid has inverted. There are now fewer kids than old people. Radical longevity will mean that instead of population pyramids having populations disappearing by 95 or 100, the pyramid will extend out to 105, 115 and then beyond. The width of those outer years will depend upon how many people adopt or can afford the longevity treatments as they appear.
Complete aging reversal and rejuvenation would mean that people would remain at peak health and fertility even if they are 200+ years of age. They would appear as if they were 25-35 years of age.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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53 thoughts on “Demographics and the Transition to Over 200 Year Lifespans”
That’s because most would die before 2 yrs old. That tends to drastically bring down the average life span. Going back a few hundreds year in my genealogy i have ancestors who lived into the hundred. Of course some would say that they lie about their age. Look up the age of great men when they die you will see many of them were pass 60.
I don’t think so. Most people I know run to the doctor whenever they feel something’s wrong and do everything in their power to stay alive. Whenever there’s the chance to live to 150 or beyond it will be the same thing.
How peaceful was it in the time of shorter lifespans?
Such people will tend to remove themselves from the population in a fairly short time.
I do wonder how traditional groups like the Amish will deal with it, though…
You can think of such therapies as preventative medicine for the diseases of old age. Governments have an interest to keep people healthy, because medical care costs a lot of money. So once these therapies are shown to be effective against specific diseases, there’s a good chance governments will subsidize them.
The beautiful aspect of anti aging therapy is people won’t use it. Some believe God intended them to die. Many do not plan far enough ahead to use the therapy. Most do not understand nor believe the science. Those of us who use the therapy must document our identities with frozen tissue samples. Around age 150 the government will question your existence.
No, it’s an enigma.
Once we have the right tools (such as BCIs), it should be fairly easy to establish normal function ranges, like we have for blood pressure etc. This is a medical question, independent from the law or culture in any particular country. There is a fundamental statistical distribution of brain function across the population. Saudi or communist psychiatrists can’t make that go away (without forced medical intervention), however much they want to. Even if they choose to define their whole population as “abnormal”, the medical community isn’t limited to any one country.
Furthermore, by comparing multiple countries, one could also establish a baseline for reasonable laws. Though that’s more affected by culture, and less by hard science.
But there are certainly some gray areas and some overlap between these categories. And we may indeed find out that there is fact a 4th category of crime that occurs with medically normal people.
P.S. Your example of ADHD also has an underlying neurological basis. But it’s too difficult or expensive to measure today (would need something like fMRI), so we rely on approximate evaluation based only on external symptoms. Which is highly innaccurate, leading exactly to the situation you describe. If we could monitor brain activity cheaply and accurately, we would have much more accurate criteria for who does or doesn’t have ADHD, and how severe it is. Psychiatry is inaccurate precisely because we lack the tools.
Everyone picks a “question” whose scope is feasible. Otherwise nothing would get done.
The 200 years/insanity/self deletion thing is completely random imagination, not a real argument.
I don’t see how that’s a paradox?
How do we distinguish between category 2 and 3?
I mean, I know I can distinguish them, I’m kind of wonderful like that.
But how does a society distinguish them? I’m sure that there are hundreds of Saudi psychologists who can explain for hours why it is a sign of unstable trauma and insufficient serotonin that makes women unable to accept their place staying at home.
We know that there were entire schools of psychiatry in the USSR that determined that opposition to international communism was evidence of psychosis.
You can go and find right now medical professionals that will diagnose ADHD in a young boy if he doesn’t sit quietly and play with dolls like the girls.
Without some biotech wizardry, not much more than the rest of the body.
The brain cells also get old and start failing, eventually dying, requiring to be replaced or repaired somehow.
As far as I can tell, there are only 3 broad categories of crime:
1. Crimes of necessity, such as stealing food to survive.
2. Crimes where the law is wrong, such as women not being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia until recently.
3. Crimes caused by a brain disorder. I expect most of these are a defect in some regulatory or emotional function. Defective emotional regulation, imbalanced motivation responses, too weak or too strong emotional responses, etc. Violent crime falls in this category.
The 1st category is fixed by removing the necessity. It’s a social-economic issue. The 2nd is fixed by correcting the laws.
The 3rd is essentially a set of neurological diseases, not much different from epilepsy or clinical depression, but with worse consequences. They should be treatable given the right tools and knowledge, which we currently don’t have.
BCIs are a very powerful tool for this. On the one hand, they can provide detailed readings for diagnostic, research, and monitoring purposes. On the other, they can alter function therapeutically, like a pace maker. There are already brain “pace makers” for epilepsy.
It will take some time to develop the medical knowledge after we have the tools, but I expect a big portion of these conditions to be treatable by the end of this century.
If you can think of a 4th category, you’re welcome to offer examples.
Chronically violent behaviour is only one of many types of criminality. Though I’ll admit it’s probably the worst.
If you think about it, your brain is already floating in a life support system.
Yes. I have mentioned birds before. They live remarkably long for their body temperature. Both birds and bats are very promising for research into aging.
Presumably the high metabolic needs for flight have sculpted some interesting solutions.
Birds generally adjust their temperature in a daily cycle. When they are inactive, their metabolic temperature goes down.
At some point there will be so many AI’s watching our every move, our every purchase, and hearing our every word, possibly even thoughts, that crime may become extremely difficult.
Opposition will ultimately fail to prevent this because the proponents only have to win once and can keep trying and trying. They will also probably claim that it isn’t even invasion of privacy as the machines will not (or should not) report anything to humans unless there is probable cause that a crime has been (or will be) committed.
Escaping this may be the only real incentive people will ever have for interstellar travel. Of course, privacy on a star ship is likely to be non-existent.
We will very likely get BCI within a few decades, which will help us study the brain in more detail. By the end of this century, we may figure out exactly what brain defect causes chronically violent behavior, and find a way to fix it (again, using BCIs). So they won’t have centuries to perfect anything. Their brain disorders will become treatable.
I think it would be the opposite–particularly as lifespan increases. Young people (<100 years) would probably refuse to jeopardize their lifespan if they have potentially hundreds of years ahead of them. Conversely capital punishment for murder will probably become quite prevalent for the same reason. The scary part is serial killers and other criminals having hundreds of years to “perfect” their craft.
RestoreBio’s phase 3 trial of an mTOR inhibitor just crashed and burned, showing no sign of reducing respiratory infections in a large group of elders:
Reason (author of the fightaging.org blog) and the SENS Research Foundation have been predicting since 2000 that interventions that upregulate the stress response pathways will have much smaller effects (if detectable) in long lived humans versus short lived animals like mice and dogs. The reason being that a season’s famine is a significant percentage of a mouse’s life, so evolution maintains stress response genes that slow its aging, but for a human a season of hunger is not a significant percantage of their life, and losing stress response genes to genetic drift won’t affect their reproductive fitness.
Damage repair interventions (like senolytics that remove senescent cells) should on the other hand have effects that are similar in both short and long lived animals. Whenever you read an article about a longevity treatment you should think to yourself – is it damage repair or is it upregulation of the stress response pathway?
It is really up to the dozen or so companies pursuing senolytic treatments to carry the longevity sector forward right now. If they fail for whatever reason there may be a “longevity investment crash and winter”.
in the year 2525, what’s the life span of a human brain floating in a life support system… 1000 years? no moving parts that need to be replaced except in the life support system…
what good is it to live to 200 years old if your brain is mush by 80? they should be asking whats the maximum life span of an artifical intelligence nueral network that is as smart as a human… (not there yet… but whose to say its possible for a network to stay organised for 200 years without going insane or deleting itself entirely and starting over again…
Longer lives could well not be dangerous to world peace, and might promote it.
Weasel words like “could” or “might” or “possibly” or “questionable” say nothing at all, they are neither true nor false.
I guess I should stop being annoyed at the way the local urgent care always prescribes a Z-pack every time I get a respiratory infection instead of culturing whatever it is to see if azithromycin is really going to be effective, and see instead if I can get my family doctor to just routinely prescribe me one a couple times a year just because.
Humans used to live 30 years or so on average until fairly recently. So I find the psyche argument about as credible as the claims that high speed would be too dangerous when rail was invented.
Fertility rate takes a long time to manifest in absolute population numbers. Projections don’t show a drop in global population until at least mid-century, if not much later. Part of that is growth in Africa, but it still leaves plenty of time for multiple policy, social, economic, and technological changes to shift fertility rates in all sorts of ways. For example, better economy can encourage more births in developed countries. Government policy can too.
I don’t expect a major collapse in this century. Maybe a gradual decline, but that may well be countered by those various changes.
But the accidents will have to get increasingly more catastrophic as medicine advances. If we have nanomedical devices that stay in your head and can keep your brain alive indefinitely even without a body, and we replace the skull with the best armor supermaterials that we can make, and we can regrow the body, you’re going to be very difficult to kill by accident. We may get those things not much later than hard life extension. Well before your 1000-year half-life expires.
Beyond that, I’ve played with the idea of backups. But that gets philosophical real quick. Not everyone agrees that their backup is still them.
Parrots! Hardly anybody ever mentions parrots in relation to longevity, but parrots are amazing: the giant Blue (or actually Hyacinth) Macaws can live to about human life span, sometimes even up to about 100.
And they are relatively small (even the largest only about 2.5 to 3 kg), have high metabolism, and very low cancer incidence.
Look for instance for: Parrot Genomes and the Evolution of Heightened Longevity and Cognition, 2018, by Wirthlin et al.
I think that animals like this are even more promising for longevity research than the relatively low metabolism whales or elephants, and definitely better than fruit flies and other short-lived low-metabolism animals, where the researchers are mainly picking the low-hanging fruit, which has evolutionarily already been picked by our own bodies.
Even better than that: with 2 children per couple, the global population will always, inevitably, ultimately stabilize, be it at a higher population level with increased life span. But level off it will.
Do not forget one “paradox” – the life extension would INCREASE the TFR, people investing smaller % of their lives to upbring kids. More active years to live more kids. Cf.: HDI TFR reverse, too
Very cool! Had to check the date on the article to make sure it was not April 1.
Bowhead whales live to 210 maybe longer.
You think a 10 will be enough? We will probably have to leverage sea anemone genetics for more, if that is what you are going for.
I’ve thought about this quite a bit and believe the key to long term survival is enabling the brain to survive outside the body. If we could coax it to grow tentacles, all the better!
True, because of the skewed sex ratio the replacement fertility is even higher than the usual 2.1. And because of aging, even if the fertility rate held constant, the number of babies born will continue to drop sharply because there are less women of childbearing aging. This is happening in japan right now with births dropping about 3% year over year even with a low but stable fertility rate.
A pity we aren’t fruit flies. We are already the longest living mammals (warm blood) on earth. Our metabolism already has many mechanisms to extent our lifespan. The easiest way to extend our lifespan is to stop killing ourselves. Any other way is going to be hard.
Because? You saw it once in a cartoon? Come on man, you need to do better than that.
It is worse in both India and China. The figures are deceiving. There are around 15 more male born for every females. This is due to abortions cause people only want male children. This will increase as more people move to the middle class and early detection of a fetuses sex becomes more wide spread. Actually this is good for India especially since the population is to high for their resources.
Also as people are able to live productively longer the human resource will become more productive. For example a doctor now has say 30 years of productive years but it could be come 50 -60 years. Then the return on medical education makes more valuable and productive.
Tuna regulate their temperature. They are about 84 deg F. They have plenty of energy and are very fast. That sounds like a good target temperature. Borrowing their enzyme genes might be the ticket.
The reason reptiles and insects slow down is because their enzymes slow down. Theirs have a wide range but when it is too cool, they slow. Also, 90% of our energy goes into temperature regulation. For reptiles, most of their energy goes into motion. So not moving much can stretch a meal much further. I am not saying we should be coldblooded. I am just saying maybe 10-15 degrees F cooler. The enzymes can still be optimized for that temperature. And one should be just as fast mentally and physically.
Nonetheless, I have thought a lot about the brain speed thing. If our brains can go much faster, it is like living a longer life (assuming you do not damage the neurons). Though, it could be more frustrating dealing with our relatively slower bodies. I think that the answer is in cephalopod genetics. Those animals are in the cold ocean with fairly advanced brains and they are very quick. Protocadherins are genes that regulate neuronal development.
“The octopus genome contains a whopping 168 protocadherin genes, vastly outnumbering those in other animals’ genomes. Humans, for example, only have around 60 protocadherins.” https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/brain-power
Some of these cephalopods can quickly change their colors to match the environment and some can flash all sorts of light messages. It has to take a lot to do things this complicated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgDE2DOICuc
If most people were to live several decades longer this could well be very dangerous to World peace.
You left out azithromycin.
180 year old asian women driving around the city. This is why tesla self driving cars is so important. I already apologize for the insensitive nature of my comment.
Not sure the human psyche can stand another lifetime.
Maybe give us a VR headset…
“live immortal or have kids, you can’t have both.”
Why not? If every (immortal) couple had two children, the total population would only grow linearly.
Yeah, in the war against entropy and thermodynamics, I won’t bet on us winning it forever. The most we can do is to stall death a bit until we get better meds or entropy wins.
In we become colder critters, we will also think and behave as a colder blooded animal, though. Our thoughts and reaction times would probably slow down a bit, but if we are lucky, our subjective perception of time won’t suffer much.
The first form of aging likely to kill you must be solved first, then the next and so on. Probability of that very low.
Populations can grow into the trillions just fine. We have a whole solar system to inhabit. We just need energy, atoms, and good tech.
Best chance of radical life extension is to engineer people at the single cell stage to naturally live over 200 years. I think that is very doable. We can make a similar modification to that made on the mice allowing the full removal of senescent cells. We can introduce multiple copies of genes that make molecules linked to longer healthier life.
Just the common good genes for aging could make a large difference if they had all the best forms.
They could be engineered to make all the vitamins they need, rather than having to get them from their diet and coming up short routinely.
Lowering the temperature the body works at would make a huge difference. Can’t just flip a switch though. Enzymes must operate well at the new temp. That probably means some borrowed genes from animals. Just a few degrees can make a huge difference. The Bowhead lives so long because it is cooler than the other whales. They are 92.8 deg F and live to 210 years. Their closest relative the Right Whale is 98.6 deg just like us, and lives to 70 years. Most of the animals with long very lives are also cooler operating. At cooler temps, there are far fewer molecular accidents, because things are less reactive and because heat quanta concentrate less
Adding more aggressive T-cells may increase longevity as well: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/11/191113101845.htm
There is something that extends telomeres. Though it may be easier to get at some cells than others. It is believed that the stuff that is available for telomere extension acts mostly on the immune system cells. Don’t know if it helps out these specific T-cells above. TA-65 is supposed to extend the telomeres. And has a lot of scientific evidence. Other companies are selling various Astragalus extracts. It is claimed that TA-65 is an Astragalus extract, though I don’t think the company has verified this. Either way both are pricey. Not crazy pricey, but fairly. Cycloastragenol and Astragaloside IV are the Astragalus extracts. There are other comparatively cheap Astragalus extracts, but only some strains even have Cycloastragenol and Astragaloside IV in them, so that is a gamble.
Though even if all of this is true, the oldtimers probably have a lot more of these cytotoxic CD4 T-cells than any telomere extending tharapy can make. We may need injections of these cells.
Even this is totally speculative. Just because they have more of these cells does not mean that is why they are living longer. There could be something else going on.
indefinite life extension will not make us immortal because there will still be deaths from accidents. so life expectancy might be 500 or 1000 years but not forever. In that case we still need fertility of 2 per woman as replacement for the long run. But that’s 2 in a 1000 year lifetime.
Any life extension of 15 years or more can be thought of as immortality because another life extending breakthrough will occur before that 15 years has ended. Now what is the fertility rate for a society of immortals? answer: 0, The time is coming when you’ll have to make a choice: live immortal or have kids, you can’t have both.
China has the problem well in hand. And Russia is still growing briskly.
Ex-Africa, without life extension there will be a major crash in world population this century. Japan is already shrinking by 400,000 per year. China is not far behind. Even India has nearly hit replacement level fertility and it’s still dropping. South Korea has a catastrophic fertility rate of less than 1 child per woman. All of Europe and most of North America is below replacement and much of South America.
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