As some of you will know, Aubrey de Grey predicted that the first human to successfully reach their 1000th birthday is already alive now. Does anyone here think that there is at least the small possibility that he might be correct?
Aubrey is an extremely optimistic guy when it comes to aging science - there is no good reasons that I can identify why 1,000 years is likely to be achieved any time soon. We can hope, but there is no clear science supporting this claim yet. I don’t take his forecasts too seriously, I’m much more focused on things we can do today or in the near future to live longer healthier lives.
When we can double the life of a mouse (we’re currently at about 37% increase with rapamycin and acarbose, when started in younger mice) - then I think we’re showing some really good progress. Still a long way from a 10X increase in lifespan, but a good start.
Agreed Aubrey is too optimistic for my tastes. That really hasn’t changed for more than a decade - if you recall in 2004 he said that there was a 50% chance of reaching “longevity escape velocity” within 25 years. When I first heard of him way back - I thought he was extremely optimistic and it’s unlikely to happen. I’ve of course gotten a group of “believers” who felt I was being too pessimistic but I try not to have that type of approach to life - merely cautious optimism.
Now I’ve changed my mind - he is too optimistic.
I think by now we have an idea the likelihood is much, much lower than 50% by 2029. Nearly zero likelihood. I don’t think that’s particularly controversial.
As people know i think part of aging is the failure of long genes and that can be mitigated. Aubrey, however, is good at presentation. This is a good PR hook. I am not sure that fixing gene expression is sufficient for living into the mid 100s, however.
Good point: using our current experimental methods, I think there is no chance we have a future 1000 year old among us. However, AI might transform science more than we expect. For instance, AI might be able to closely model experimental drugs or therapies on human metabolism, getting results of a 1000 years of experimentation in a day, without the need for those slow life forms called scientists. If something like this happens, all normal timeline bets are off.
Obviously 1000 presumes a breakthrough which we do not see coming. The question is whether we are creating an environment in which such a breakthrough is becoming more and more likely.
To my mind that would mean lots of research into lots of areas of aging with lots of money at stake and lots of investment of time and talent in the field, as well as successful businesses being generated. Also, it would require people pushing the envelope in multiple areas at the same time, probing mysteries that could potentially return such a breakthrough.
Many of you are better equipped to opine on the likelihood of the above, but it does seem to me like this is a rapidly developing field.
Keep in mind that Boomers are predicted to pass on to the next generation something like $30-$60 Trillion over the next 30 years. My bet is that they’ll be willing to spend lots of that money for even a little bit longer healthspan. So the pool of cash is sitting there ready to be spent.
My bet is if you tell the older population (obviously I’m making a very general statement and it probably has nothing to do with age) that you want to research a drug that treats cancer or Alzheimer’s - they will gladly throw a lot of money at it. When you tell them you want to research a drug that treats many aging-associated diseases at once? Many people are opposed to the idea. There are also folks who will instantly think you’re a crackpot.
I think it’s very likely and here’s why I think so.
Rapamycin and acarbose together provided a 30% bump in mice. lets say humans only get half that, for argument’s sake.
Let’s take a baby born today, this baby is one of the lucky natural supercentinarians, and would live to 110, but gets an extra 15% tacked on. That gets us to 127.
Now are we to believe that in the next 127 years, there aren’t ANY other lifespan extending technologies invented? What if by then, reprogramming starts to work? You have a real chance of hitting longevity escape velocity in that time.
Now there’s still plenty to die from aside from age, so 1000 still requires a certain amount of good luck. But I don’t think it’s wild to predict it.
Maybe the 1000 years will not come soon. But it is possible, if the mystery of why the naked mole rat lives ten times that of its cousin (mice 3 years, NMR, 30 years) is solved. But before solving that mystery, I hope science first solves the mystery of how some species regenerate whole limbs. That will provide more immediate benefits to humanity.
Shai Efrati mentioned a bit of that in his TED talk about his intervention, referring to the salamander (1:59).
Is there more research? Or has he become a full-time businessman?
I have been in the longevity space for two decades now and in that time I have watched Aubrey making optimistic predictions that don’t come true and he keeps making them again and again. I guess he is doing it to get more attention to give older people more hope so they invest in the industry. At the same, the more I have learned throughout the years the more complicated I think it is to solve aging. While in many areas we have seem exciting progress in others there is almost no progress since two decades ago. For those reasons I am not particularly optimistic on the notion that some people alive today will make it to 1000. On the other hand, what gives me hope is the recent developments in AI. If we get general AI all bets are off on what will happen after that.
Lol I emailed Aubrey about AI and it is not affecting his thinking AT ALL (he thinks we can get there without AI), even if he’s friends with Demis Hassabis. Aubrey is kind of a broken record and is so incredibly blind to large portions of the world (and his priors are inflexible), but I appreciate him for being approachable nonetheless (and tbh his network is still strong).
This is a huge guess, but my rough timelines are roughly 25-35 years, mostly conditioned on AI. Thankfully just in time to save my generation. Idk about older generations.
Personally, last year two very important things (AMONG MANY!) happened in longevity last year. One was my (tragic) manic episode [only through a nicotine overdose, but not all nicotine overdoses lead to this] when I wrecked an opportunity “too good to be true” (only now I have a better understanding of how manic episodes are triggered [once-in-a-lifetime-emotional-gradients trigger periods of time back when you used to feel everything more strongly]) . The other thing was the explosive progress in AI that finally convinced me that I probably won’t die of old age (it’ll either be AI risk or something super-far-future). [that said, two of my MIT friends said this back in 2017 and I didn’t quite believe them yet]
I just look at the problems of developing drugs for Alzheimer’s … and how long its taking.
The trend is that things will get more data-driven/bottom-up. They already are (look at multiomics, look at better measuring technologies). Many of our theories on Alzheimer’s/DSM-IV are bullshit right now (and informed on speculation) but it won’t be speculation anymore ONCE we have comprehensive Health-Nucleus like measurements on ALL people
Read Jose Ricon on Alzheimer’s drugs. They work on earlier cases, not later ones. And certainly it’ll happen faster if we treat PRE-CLINICAL indicators as a “disease” rather than treat disease