I posed this question in 2018 in a post on healthy life extension: Has the first person to live to 200 already been born? I ask that question in various forums to provide a good example of how one scenario can challenge current institutions and traditional thinking. In that earlier post, Johnty Andersen, had this perspective on that question:
I think the answer is almost certainly yes. Once these other factors come into play and examples include nanotechnology, tissue engineering, gene therapy, stem cell therapy, advanced robotics, cloning and memory upload (this one’s time frame is harder to work out than the others) then factor in all of the other interventions that we will develop over the next 50 years then clearly assuming a child born today will only live to 100 has to be a gross underestimate, frankly for children born this year even if they only average a life expectancy of 150 something will have to have gone catastrophically wrong in my opinion
Johnty Andersen, Researcher into Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Anti-Aging Medicine
Fast forward to 2021. A recent article via Cory Stieg explored the probability of living past age 110. According to a new study from the University of Washington, the odds are going up. While that may be shocking to some, an article that explores the study indicates that the number of people who live past the age of 100 has been on the rise for decades, up to nearly half a million people worldwide in 2015. Projections that anticipate 3.7 million centenarians across the globe in 2050 may be underestimating continued advances in the areas of health and wellness. Many of these advances are identified below on the health portion of the innovation wheel. We are likely to extend our healthy lives one year at a time, with each passing year bringing more innovation that drives more longevity. At least that’s what Futurists like Ray Kurzweil envision. However, there are opposing opinions.
There are, however, far fewer “supercentenarians,” people who live to age 110 or even longer. The oldest living person, Jeanne Calment of France, was 122 when she died in 1997; currently, the world’s oldest person is 118-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan.
Kim Eckart — How long can a person live? The 21st century may see a record-breaker
In this article by Kim Eckart, she states that some scientists argue that disease and basic cell deterioration lead to a natural limit on human lifespan, others maintain there is no cap, as evidenced by record-breaking supercentenarians. From a probability perspective, the natural limit argument is supported by statistical methods. Michael Pearce and Adrian Raftery at the University of Washington established several projections using Bayesian statistics:
Corey Stieg in the article referenced earlier quotes Andrew Steele, scientist and author, in saying that an assumption that the incremental progress in lifestyle and medicine that we’ve seen for the last 200 years or so will continue for the next 80 may be pessimistic given progress in aging biology. She goes on to state the reason that some like Ray Kurzweil would argue with statistics.
Among other factors, advancements in medicine and aging biology have influenced people’s potential lifespans. Indeed, so much progress has been made in the field of aging biology that some experts believe we will eventually be able to “cure” aging.
Corey Stieg — Researchers say the probability of living past 110 is on the rise — here’s what you can do to get there
Andrew Steele thinks there is the potential for far more exciting breakthroughs by targeting the aging process rather than particular diseases. Viewing probability through a traditional lens that sees aging as a process that cannot be reversed draws one set of conclusions. But what if aging can be reversed? Listen to Ray Kurzweil address the topic through that specific lens.