Anti Aging Drugs On The Horizon

Redherring has a detailed article online that discusses the likeability of the arrival of real anti aging medication in the coming years:

But drugs that prevent aging itself are on the distant horizon, and with them could come dramatic social changes, such as much later ages for everything from puberty to retirement, and massive inequality in life expectancy between those who can afford the life-lengthening compounds, and those who can’t. These changes, in turn, would have a significant impact on the global economy.

“What we’re talking about is not curing diseases… but slowing the aging process itself,” said Alan Cohen, a graduate student at the University of Missouri, who on Friday moderated a panel on the topic at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in St. Louis.

“Over the past couple of years, definitely, aging science has experienced momentum and I think we now know enough to consider the consequences of slowing down aging,” Shin-ichiro Imai, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology at Washington University.

The article also reflects on the economic implications of this:

“If anti-aging drugs have effects similar to our assumptions, the ratio jump will be from 0.2 to 0.4 by 2050. In other words, the burden of supporting people if they retired at 65 would double,” added Professor Tuljapurkar.

“It is very difficult to hold down a job after 65,” he added. “We are going to have to rethink career structures away from simply hierarchies.”

He suggests careers where people can work their way up the ladder and back down the ladder again, without firings, shame, or failure.

The article has a good point that increasing lifespans would indeed create problems. But that is only true in a society which only invents rejuvenation therapies, and has no other technological types of progress.

This is ofcourse not how our society works. Next to robots entering the mainstream, we’re looking at a nanotechnological industrial revolution in about 10 years. These technologies will be turning our world upside down, and major economic restructuring will likely be necessary.

As with any other industrial revolution, the result will likely be that we will work less and gain more material posessions at the same time.

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