Written by Brian Wang of the nextbigfuture.com
There was a writeup by Chris Mooney about the Longevity Dividend session with Jay Olshansky. There is a lengthier presentation of Jay Olshansky's case for a Longevity Dividend. I agree that longer and healthier lives provides a massive economic boost. This is seen by the historical rise of life expectancy from about 35 years to 80 years over the last hundred years. It can also be seen by the economic devastation when life is shortened and health is destroyed by Aids in Africa.
However, Jay Olshansky is only talking about extending current life and health expectency by 7 years. Standard medicine and public health are providing increases in life expectancy of 0.1 to 0.3 years for each calendar year that passes. There is an another approach to life extension which is strategies for engineered negligible senescence (SENS). This is an engineering (techonomic) approach that was initiated by Aubrey de Grey.
There is a 2009 interview with Aubrey de Grey at nextbigfuture.
There is research from the Max Planck institute which suggests that thelifespan of supercentenarians (and therefore humans) is not fixed. If there was progress to enable more and more people to live to 100 and the 50% annual mortality rate was still present, then when there were 4 billion centenarians one would statistically expect the longest lived to be 132 years of age. If you could halve the annual mortality rate of centenarians and supercentenarians then the expected maximum lifespan of one billion centenarians would be 160 years.
SENS has received several million dollars in funding and is targeting the repair of seven types of aging damage. There is research to develop therapies to reverse each type of damage.
There is also promising biological work with Rapamycin, which researchers are trying to get the life extending benefits to work in humans without negative effects. Rapamycin is an immunosuppresant that enables old mice to live 9-13% longer.
SENS is an engineering solution to aging and life extension. This is consistent with the Techonomic ideal of thinking like an engineer as recommended by Stewart Brand.