The Speculist: Live to See 2025


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Live to See 2025

Via Michael Anissimov, the World Future Society -- traditionally not a hotbed of Speculist type scenarios -- has published a list of very interesting predictions for the years 2010-2025. This one in particular got my attention:

Forecast #4:
By 2025, the Worldwide Average Life-Span Will Be Extended by One year Per Year--Only 15% of deaths worldwide will be due to naturally occurring infectious diseases.

Well now that is some prediction. If you extend the average life by one year per year you achieve what we used to call Actuarial Escape Velocity but we now know to call the Methuselarity.

Either way, we're talking about indefinite lifespan. If your life expectancy gets a year longer every year, and you can keep that up, well -- that takes care of the "immortal" part of the equation.

Just sixteen years away! And, again, this is coming from a futurist group that has tended towards a conservative outlook on these kinds of issues.

Very encouraging.


I don't think that it takes care of the "immortal" part of the equation.

More likely it means extending the average life by one year per year for the people born in that year. You cannot reasonably expect the same kind of benefit if you are already 80 years old.

"By 2025, the Worldwide Average Life-Span Will Be Extended by One year Per Year. Only 15% of deaths worldwide will be due to naturally occurring infectious diseases."

This sound suspiciously familiar. Isn't this what Kurzweil predicted would happen when medical technology is getting very near the breakthroughs needed for genuine extreme life extension technologies?

Even the comparatively stodgy World Futurists are getting on board. Hmmmmmm.

I still say that AEV will not be there before 2045, if at all.

The main reason for this is that there seems to be a hard stop even for centenarians. Of people who cross 100, less than 1 in 1000 cross 110. Less than 1 in 1000 of those cross 120 (which really has only been verifiably reached by 2-3 people).

So even after getting to 100, your chance of getting to 120 is 1 in a million. This tells us that there are hard stops that nature sets on the human body that will be very hard to overcome, and thus getting average life expectancy past 110 will be hard or even impossible.

'The Futurist' (


You're bringing me down, but only because you may be right.

On our recent FFR show with Aubrey de Grey we talked about the seven deadly aging processes that kill us.

I asked him how much additional time we get for completely solving one or two of those problems. His answer was sobering. We don't get much time that way.

The reason that we know about these seven problems is that they all manifest within a normal human lifespan. Any of these problems will kill us.

Its like we are being shot at by 7 bullets simultaneously. Deflecting two or three of those bullets doesn't save us. We have to solve all the problems to defeat aging.

And then we'll probably discover new problems that need solving to live past 150.

I'm not saying it can't be done. And I'm not abandoning my prediction that we will have first serious life extension medicine by 2014 - medicine that will allow many more of us to reach 100.

I am saying that defeating aging will be a tough nut to crack.


I am also a little skeptical of the 2025 estimate. Not saying its impossible, but certainly more than a little skeptical. I hope to live to see it. As a 30 year old today, I think I have a decent chance.

The reason most people don't make it past 100 and even less make it past 110 is because those people are really old and being really old is really dangerous.

The point of SENS is to not let people get to that stage in the first place. People aren't going to die at chronological 120 if they are biologically 30. This is why the regenerative solution is the only one that is going to work. Slowing down aging will never stop us from getting old, then sick, then dead. Regenerative therapies OTOH can, and one day they will.

Dear Speculist,
I am intrigued as to where you get this 2014 forecast from.
Is it plucked out of the air, or is there some serious extrapolation at work?
To my mind it seems way too optimistic, so I would love to know where the rationale comes from.
Perhaps you could do a small post on this?
Love the blog - now a daily visit.
Best Wishes,

Hi Tom --

Thanks for the kind words. The prediction is 2025, not 2014 and the source is -- as stated -- the World Future Society. More details if you follow the link.

Apparently Steven is predicting the development of the first, preliminary version of life-extension tech as of 2014. Hopefully tech that will permit the slowdown of aging mentioned above that would permit us to live past the (roughly) 115 years max for natural human lifespan as of now.

If so, by 2025, far fewer people will be dying annually.

Tom, Sally:

In one of my first posts for the Speculist - back in 2004 - I predicted that we'd have the first life extension treatments available in a decade - 2014.

Five years later I'm standing by that prediction. I suspect that this treatment could be marketed initially as obesity or diabetes care.

We might not even know that it is life extension medicine until later.

This is a significantly different prediction from that of the World Future Society.

Here's another step toward "accelerating lifespans." This was linked in KurzweilAI daily newsletter.

"Drug-delivery agents that can target the site of disease in the body have often been referred to "magic bullets". Previously, such systems have not lived up to their name. However, the advent of nanotechnology is bringing such agents a step closer. The delivery of drug directly to the site where it is needed and at the level that is required for treatment is essential if efficacy is to be improved and side effects minimised. Due to their particular chemical and physical properties, nanoparticles offer the possibility of developing such therapeutic or diagnostic agents.

"Now, Borza and colleagues have found a way to load up nanospheres of water-soluble protein from blood plasma with the radioactive element rhenium-188. This radionuclide emits beta particles, high-energy electrons, as it decays radioactively, but is short-lived so causes no long-term problems. Such high-energy beta-emitter radioisotopes coupled to nanoparticles could deliver a high therapeutic dose of radioactivity to a tumour, while sparing more distant tissues from toxicity."

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