For me, I have known since completing 3rd year university biochemistry studies in 1974 that indefinite life extension was possible – not how to do it, but that doing it must logically be possible. If you think about it, all life now living is an unbroken chain of cellular life. The default mode for cellular life is indefinite extension. And things can die for all sorts of reasons, but the sort of programmed death we see in complex animals can be changed.
Earlier this year we saw the first published scientific article demonstrating a reversal of age related biomarkers.
I strongly suspect that within 15 years anyone who wants to live on indefinitely in a fully functioning health body will have that option available to them.
So in this sense, the future of getting old is looking quite good.
And certainly there have to be many changes for that to happen.
We have to think beyond scarcity based market values, and actually have individual life and individual liberty as the highest values in our social systems.
People generally need to understand that for complex systems like ourselves, evolution is not just about competition, but is much more about cooperation.
The risk to individual life is always lowest, and the expressions of individual freedom actually available are always highest, in cooperative social contexts.
That means that we each have responsibilities to act cooperatively in social and ecological contexts. And that will always be complex and uncertain, and will always require negotiation at boundaries, and will always involve making mistakes. There is no logical way of avoiding those realities.
So yes – it is possible to rethink old age.
It is possible for the risks to life to reduce with every year lived, and for the skills and capabilities available to increase with every year lived.
That reality seems very likely to be with us within 20 years and possibly much sooner.