Quora – Will climate change effect Longevity?

Will climate change start to affect human longevity? If so, how?

I doubt it.

We have several things happening at present that few people think about accurately.

We have exponential trends in computer processing power, which leads to exponential trends in both artificial intelligence and robotics. AI systems are already better than humans in any “game space” that can be accurately delineated. That trend will continue to accelerate for at least the next 15 years, all other things being somewhere near equal (and it has been stable for over 100 years through 2 world wars).

At some point in the not too distant future 2 things will come out of the trend.

1 is fully automated production, from mining to manufacturing to delivery. When that happens, machines can make more machines (under our control, not theirs), until we have enough of these automated systems to meet all the reasonable needs of every person on the planet.

That changes everything about being human: our relationship to the idea of work, our relationship to the ideas of exchange and markets; politics – you name it.

What it also enables is the deployment of space based systems (manufactured on the moon and deployed from the moons surface by big linear electric motors) that will allow us to manage how much sunlight falls where, and allowing us to take control of the sea level away from factors like the Milankovitch cycles, rock weathering, and fossil fuel consumption. That should all be technically possible by 2032 if there is the political will internationally to do so (which there should be, as all other alternatives have very low survivability probabilities.

The other major factor is using that computational grunt to work out the biochemical mechanisms of age related loss of function, and countering them.

That will enable indefinite life extension, in prime physical health.

That should be universally available towards the end of the 2030s.

So, as someone who has been interested in these issues for 50 years, it seems probable that neither of the scenarios postulated will happen.

And I understand that many people will be unable to imagine such things happening until they do actually happen.

Just like many thought a computer would never beat a man at chess, then at go, nor would they ever be able to drive a car (something they already do better than most humans).

We are in the time of the greatest change in human history, and it is getting faster.
Our political systems are a little slow to catch up, and there are many great people in the supporting structures who are trying to make that happen at many different levels.

So short answer is no, and both climate change and longevity seem very likely to change a great deal in the coming couple of decades.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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