Posts Tagged ‘actuarial escape velocity’


Geriatrics, Gerontology, & Maintenance

by adminadam in articles, videos

Important Points

  • Geriatrics works on treating pathology – cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease – but much too late in the game to extend lifespan.
  • Gerontology attempts to prevent aging by adjusting a very complex system, the metabolism (see picture below). This can have many unwanted side effects. Thus, progress in this field is very difficult.
  • Example of a Metabolic Process Diagram [Click to Englarge]

    Simplified Metabolic Diagram

  • Maintenance and rejuvenation extend lifespan by repairing damage, a process which can be repeated and, itself, improved upon in a parallel process to overall technological progress. All this without altering or disrupting the metabolism.
  • Longevity Escape Velocity (L.E.V.): Even marginal rates of advancement in treatment efficacy can exponentially increase life span when considered over periods in which patients receive rejuvenations every 20 years; each treatment removes greater amounts of damage, more comprehensively.
  • Key Claim of L.E.V.: Eventually our ability to maintain health will hit a threshold at which our medical technology will effectively increase average life span by one year each year (or more). This will eliminate any diminishing returns in damage repair efforts; we will be able to repair more damage in one year than can actually be accumulated during that year. This is what de Grey refers to as “the Methuselarity”.

The Methuselarity

by adminadam in articles

“The 20th century was not 100 years of progress at today’s rate but, rather, was equivalent to about 20 years, because we’ve been speeding up to current rates of change. And we’ll make another 20 years of progress at today’s rate, equivalent to that of the entire 20th century, in the next 14 years. And then we’ll do it again in just 7 years. Because of this exponential growth, the 21st century will equal 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress — 1,000 times greater than what we witnessed in the 20th century, which itself was no slouch for change.”  — Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman (from fantastic voyage)

From our standpoint, let me get this straight, we will likely see 200 centuries of progress in a mere one!? With this in mind, we can predict that our medical technology should also progress analogously; that is, incredibly fast. The Methuselarity (alternatively, Actuarial Escape Velocity) is the notion that we can add more than one year’s life expectancy every year. Meaning that while my life expectancy may be about 80 or 85 at the moment, once we reach actuarial escape velocity, this number will climb by more than one year each year… Fascinating. It is truly a wonderful thought… But what are the roadblocks? What conditions must be met?

For one, we need to *not* blow ourselves up. Second, science and technology must continue to develop reasonably; meaning no oppressive, innovation-blocking world governments should be allowed to rule (Go wikileaks!). Third, we are not struck by an asteroid. Fourth, the higgs-boson does not end up being a sentient, malevolent subatomic particle intent on annihilating us all. And, finally, Neo-luddites do not bring about total anarchy… (although I do like their reverence of nature.)

Meeting all these caveats, we can dawn our cave-hats and have a party of indefinite span! No, really… It means: help hold the world together, stay healthy, and you may just live to sing “when I’m one-hundred-and-sixty-four”. What do you think? (See this SENS Foundation FAQ) … Would you object?

“The essence of the human species is to extend and expand our boundaries.”
Ray & Terry