Google’s head of engineering, innovator and futurist Ray Kurzweil often discusses the concept of longevity escape velocity; or the point at which science can extend your life for more than a year for every year that you are alive. Kurzweil believes we are much closer than you might think. In fact, he believes we are just another 10 to 12 years away from the point that the general public will hit this longevity escape velocity.
Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler are the co-authors of The Future is Faster than you Think. The book explores the topic of Healthy Life Extension at length (a must read by the way). The authors believe that even if Kurzweil is off by a decade or two, in the interim, the possibility that 100 years old might become the new 60 is still a significant step towards realizing healthy life extension. In a brilliant Journey through the economic history of the western world, author Robert J. Gordon looks at The Rise and Fall of American Growth. The book focuses on a revolutionary century (1870-1970) that impacted the American standard of living more than any period before or after. Our standard of living is typically viewed as the ratio of total production of goods and services (real GDP) per member of the population. But this measure fails to truly capture enhancements to our well-being. Human well-being is influenced by advances in the areas of food, clothing, shelter, energy, transport, education, health, work, information, entertainment, and communications.
As Diamandis and Kotler describe, it was this period that reduced child mortality rates and extended adult lives. Prior to that, humans lived about 25 years. Real acceleration emerged at the turn of the 20th century, when everything from the creation of antibiotics to the implementation of better sanitation to the increased availability of clean water, and the ability to tackle killers like cancer and heart disease has us living routinely into our 80s. But our authors state that many scientists believe we’re not stopping there. I use the visual above to look at innovation through the lens of well-being. All of these innovations – both realized and emerging – make clear why scientist have this belief (click visual to open in a new window).
This animated video from our Reimagining the Future YouTube channel describes the path to healthy life extension. What are the implications and opportunities that emerge if society lives into their 100s on a regular basis?
A recent Article from Diamandis and Kotler provides a summary of the health section of their book.