In this first blog, we’ll look briefly at the context in which this healthspan revolution is taking place and explore the concept of “longevity escape velocity.”
Converging exponential technologies such as AI, genomics, CRISPR, gene therapy, cellular medicine, and sensors are allowing us to understand why we age and how to slow, stop, and perhaps even reverse aging.
Experts predict that breakthroughs within the next 10 years will enable us to add decades onto our healthspan.
Your mission is therefore to maximize your health and vitality by using the most advanced diagnostics to catch disease early, enabling you to stay healthy long enough to intercept the additional breakthroughs racing towards us.
How Long Might We Expect to Live? Approaching Longevity Escape Velocity
When I was in medical school in the late 1980’s, I distinctly remember one Sunday afternoon watching a documentary on the topic of “long-lived sea life.”
It turns out that bowhead whales from the Arctic are able to live for 200 years, and Greenland sharks double that life expectancy with an impressive lifespan of 400 and 500 years.
I remember thinking, “If they can live that long, why can’t we?”
As an engineer, I figured it was either a hardware or software problem, and that it wouldn’t be too long before we could solve it.
My dear friend Ray Kurzweil, Co-Founder of Singularity University and Futurist at Google, speaks about a concept called “longevity escape velocity.” It’s an intriguing notion that goes something like this:
Today, by some estimates, science and medicine are adding about 3 months to your lifespan every year. In the near future, science will extend your lifespan by more than a year for every year you remain alive. Once that happens, we can begin to think about true longevity.
That’s longevity escape velocity.
Ray’s prediction is that we’ll reach longevity escape velocity in the next 10 to 12 years.
Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School echoes a similar timeframe.
According to Dr. Church, “The exponential technologies that have improved the speed and cost of reading, writing and editing of DNA and gene therapies, now apply to the category of aging reversal.”
He adds: “I think age-reversal advances could mean that we reach longevity escape velocity in a decade or two, within the range of the next one or two rounds of clinical trials.”
So, what does that mean?
Can we extend the healthy human lifespan past today’s record of 122? Can humans live past 200 years? Or even indefinitely?
What if the regular cycles of clinical trials can be significantly shortened by advancements in AI, and what if we learn to prevent and eventually eradicate cancers, heart diseases, and Alzheimer’s?
It is this idea of extended healthspan that is my motivation for putting together this Longevity Practices series. In the upcoming blogs, I’ll share details on my diet, sleep, exercise and other practices I’m currently using to extend my healthspan.