Radical Life Extension

At the furthest point of the future scenario curve sits radical life extension. I use this emerging future visual to depict the exploding number of building blocks that combine to shape the future, challenging our ability to track its complexity. Convergence across aspects of science, technology, economic forces, politics, society, our environment, and a growing conversation around ethics, is creating a highly uncertain world. At the heart of the pace dynamic is the exponential progression of science and technology – reflected in the first curve on the visual.

This convergence and progression is spawning a second curve, enabling a series of future scenarios and paradigm shifts. These scenarios (and many more) take humanity towards a third major Tipping Point. Radical life extension is at the farthest end of the second curve – meaning that it is impossible to assess its viability.

This extension of our healthy lives has come up a lot lately in the various forums that I have participated in. The belief that we will live longer, healthier lives introduces a number of questions about current institutions. For example, various leaders in financial services are considering the implications to retirement and wealth management (among other things). Now, the notion of radical life extension takes the institutional discussion one step further.

Given our past record and our current values, humanity’s next targets are likely to be immortality, happiness and divinity. We will now aim to overcome old age and even death itself

Yuval Noah Harari – Homo Deus

That quote from a recent article defines radical life extension on the future scenario curve. Sure enough, the world’s richest people are now focused on what Yuval Noah Harari described back in 2015. The current manifestation of this pursuit for immortality is a startup called Altos Labs. It will draw comparisons to Calico Labs, a longevity company announced in 2013 by Google co-founder, Larry Page. As the article describes, reversing the aging process – or cellular reprogramming – is the pursued approach. The article describes cellular reprogramming and how it enables the reversing of aging. They are dead serious about this (no pun intended). Per the article, the company offers $1 million annual salaries and equity to its first employees. Investors have poured $270 million into the project under less than a year. Oh, and reportedly, Jeff Bezos is one of them.

It is increasingly important for us to pay attention to the signals emerging from every domain. Whether science and technology, or society, economies, geopolitics, and the futures scenarios that are spawned. Living much longer lives feels like science fiction to most – Yuval Noah Harari disagrees:

The most common reaction of the human mind to achievement is not satisfaction, but craving for more. Humans are always on the lookout for something better, bigger, tastier.

Yuval Noah Harari

3 thoughts on “Radical Life Extension

  1. […] I like the way Daniel Davis described the prospects of humans living both longer and healthier lives. In his article on the topic of ageing, he points to scientific advancements that are leading to life extension. At the same time, he underscores a key tenet of the journey: healthspan is just as important as lifespan. This lies at the heart of a key future scenario identified as healthy life extension. That one scenario has many thinking about a world where people live much longer, healthier lives. Imagine a key institution like retirement. As much as we believe that our lives have always been segmented into three dominant phases (education, work, retirement), those phases represent a small portion of human history. This is an example of the institutional change that lies ahead. Now imagine a scenario referred to as radical life extension. […]


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