Why a Basic Income Won’t Lead to Mass Idleness — And Why Less Work Might Not Be Such a Bad Thing Anyway

Work has historically been seen as having a stabilizing effect on both individual’s life and society as a whole. Too much idleness means lots of important things aren’t getting done; widespread boredom and laziness will settle in, causing people becoming self-indulgent, hedonistic, or even immoral. It is little wonder that most people cannot conceive of any other order to our society or economy — what would a world with less work look like? Won’t giving everyone money only guarantee mass departure from the workforce?

Joel Dodge of Quartz takes to task this common counterargument to the universal basic income (UBI), pointing to research showing no ill effects on work ethic and societal productivity: Continue reading

Should We Fear A.I.?

It is very telling that almost every portrayal of artificial intelligence in science fiction is a cynical one: A.I. is almost always prone to rebelling against, dominating, or otherwise coming into conflict with humanity. Judging by the continued prevalence and widespread acceptance of this trope, it appears that there is an inherent, almost universal perception that A.I. is bad news for our species. Continue reading

Is a “Star Trek” Economy Soon Upon Us?

One of the most alluring things about the Star Trek series is its vision of a near-Utopian world, where peace, social justice, and economic prosperity exist for all humanity (and other enlightened species).

Underpinning this success is replicator technology, in which anything anyone could ever want can be made for free, completely eliminating the need for money and, with it, socioeconomic inequality and poverty.

This unusual concept is explored in the book “Trekonomics“,  by Manu Saadia, which examines the implications and feasibility of Star Trek’s “post-scarcity” economy. The New York Times covered some of the book’s key talking points. Continue reading

Marvin Minsky, Pioneer of A.I., Dies

As the Information Age continues to yield exponentially more powerful computers and processors, the idea of artificial intelligence will become increasingly more relevant and serious in the coming decades.

But some thinkers saw this coming well in advance, namely American mathematician and inventor Marvin Minsky, who pass away earlier this week at the age of 88.

As the Christian Science Monitor reports, this otherwise obscure figure (outside of the scientific and academic community) was a major intellectual contributor to A.I., laying its conceptual, practical, and ethical groundwork. Continue reading

When Mega-Cities Rule the World

The United States has always stood out among developed nations for its sheer size, in terms of territory, population, and urban centers. So perhaps it’s no surprise that we’ve seen the organic emergence of “mega-regions,” sprawling urban centers than span across multiple countries, states, and municipalities, often for hundreds of miles. Needless to say, these megalopolises dominate (or even completely consume) their respective regions, and together they drive the nation’s economic, cultural, social, and political direction.

The following is a map created by the Regional Plan Association, an urban research institute in New York, identifying the eleven main ‘mega-regions’ that are transcending both conventional cities and possibly even states.

To reiterate, the areas are Cascadia, Northern and Southern California, the Arizona Sun Corridor, the Front Range, the Texas Triangle, the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes, the Northeast, Piedmont Atlantic, and peninsular Florida, my home state (and the only one that is almost entirely consumed by its own distinct mega-region).

Also note how some of these mega-regions spillover into neighboring Mexico and Canada, a transnational blending of urban regions that can be seen in many other developed countries (most notably those in Europe and E.U. specifically. I’d be curious to see a similar map for other parts of the world, especially since developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil are leading the global trend of mass urbanization.

This intriguing map is part of the Regional Plan Association’s America 2050 project,  which proposes that we begin to change our views of urban areas away from being distinct metropolitan areas but instead as interconnected “megaregions” act as distinct economic, social, and infrastructure areas in their own right.

These are the areas in which residents and policymakers are the most likely to have shared common interests and policy goals and would benefit most from co-operation with each other. It’s especially important, because as the Regional Plan Association notes, “Our competitors in Asia and Europe are creating Global Integration Zones by linking specialized economic functions across vast geographic areas and national boundaries with high-speed rail and separated goods movement systems.”

By concentrating investment in these regions and linking them with improved infrastructure, such megaregions enjoy competitive advantages such as efficiency, time savings, and mobility.

The U.S., however, has long focused on individual metro areas and the result has been a “limited capacity” to move goods quickly — this is a major liability threatening long-term economic goals. And while U.S. commuters are opting to drive less, public transportation isn’t even close to commuters’ needs.

The Regional Plan Association proposes aggressive efforts to promote new construction, and finds that even existing lines are in desperate need of large-scale repairs or updates to improve service. In particular, they say the emerging megaregions need transportation modes that can work at distances 200-500 miles across, such as high-speed rail.

While this makes sense, what are the consequences of having such potent sub-national entities emerging separately from already-established state and city limits? Should we, or will we, have to re-draw the map? Will these megaregions become the new powerhouses that influence the political and economic systems of the country at the expense of current representative structures? Will they coalesce into distinct interests that have their own separate political demands from the individual local and state governments that are wholly or partly covered by them?

Interesting questions to consider, especially in light of this being an accelerating global trend with little sign of stopping, let alone reversing. I’m reminded of Parag Khanna’s article, “When Cities Rule the World,” which argued that urban regions will come to dominate the world, ahead of — and often at the expense of —  nation states:

In this century, it will be the city—not the state—that becomes the nexus of economic and political power. Already, the world’s most important cities generate their own wealth and shape national politics as much as the reverse. The rise of global hubs in Asia is a much more important factor in the rebalancing of global power between West and East than the growth of Asian military power, which has been much slower. In terms of economic might, consider that just forty city-regions are responsible for over two-thirds of the total world economy and most of its innovation. To fuel further growth, an estimated $53 trillion will be invested in urban infrastructure in the coming two decades.

Given what we’ve seen with America’s megaregions, the prescient Mr. Khanna (who wrote this article three years ago) has a point. Here are some of his highlights regarding this trend and its implications:

Mega-cities have become global drivers because they are better understood as countries unto themselves. 20 million is no longer a superlative figure; now we need to get used to the nearly 100 million people clustered around Mumbai. Across India, it’s estimated that more than 275 million people will move into India’ s teeming cities over the next two decades, a population equivalent to the U.S. Cairo’s urban development has stretched so far from the city’ s core that it now encroaches directly on the pyramids, making them and the Sphynx commensurately less exotic. We should use the term “gross metropolitan product” to measure their output and appreciate the inequality they generate with respect to the rest of the country. They are markets in their own right, particularly when it comes to the “bottom of the pyramid,” which holds such enormous growth potential.

As cities rise in power, their mayors become ever more important in world politics. In countries where one city completely dominates the national economy, to be mayor of the capital is just one step below being head of state—and more figures make this leap than is commonly appreciated. From Willy Brandt to Jacques Chirac to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, mayors have gone on to make their imprint on the world stage. In America, New York’s former mayor Rudy Giuliani made it to the final cut among Republican presidential candidates, and Michael Bloomberg is rumored to be considering a similar run once his unprecedented third term as Giuliani’s successor expires. In Brazil, José Serra, the governor of the São Paulo municipal region, lost the 2010 presidential election in a runoff vote. Serra rose to prominence in the early 1980s as the planning and economy minister of the state of São Paulo, and made his urban credentials the pillar of his candidacy.

It is too easy to claim, as many city critics do, that the present state of disrepair and pollution caused by many cities means suburbs will be the winner in the never-ending race to create suitable habitats for the world’s billions. In fact, it is urban centers—without which suburbs would have nothing to be “sub” to—where our leading experiments are taking place in zero-emissions public transport and buildings, and where the co-location of resources and ideas creates countless important and positive spillover effects. Perhaps most importantly, cities are a major population control mechanism: families living in cities have far fewer children. The enterprising research surrounding urban best practices is also a source of hope for the future of cities. Organizations like the New Cities Foundation, headquartered in Geneva, connect cities by way of convening and sharing knowledge related to sustainability, wealth creation, infrastructure finance, sanitation, smart grids, and healthcare. As this process advances and deepens, cities themselves become nodes in our global brain.

While most visions of the future imagine mega-corporations to be the entities that transcend nations and challenge them for supremacy, it may be these mega-regions or mega-cities that will be the true powerhouses of the world. In fact, we may even see something of a three-way struggle between all of these globalizing behemoths, as many nation-states also begin to band together to form more powerful blocs.

One things is for certain: the future will be an interesting experiment in testing humanity’s organizational and technological prowess, especially in the midst of worsening environmental conditions and strained national resources, which such mega-regions will no doubt need to overcome. What are your thoughts?

Hat tip to my friend Will for sharing this article with me.


National Intelligence Council Foresees Transhumanist Future

In the new report, the NIC describes how implants, prosthetics, and powered exoskeletons will become regular fixtures of human life — what could result in substantial improvements to innate human capacities. By 2030, the authors predict, prosthetics should reach the point where they’re just as good — or even better — than organic limbs. By this stage, the military will increasingly rely on exoskeletons to help soldiers carry heavy loads. Servicemen will also be administered psychostimulants to help them remain active for longer periods.

Many of these same technologies will also be used by the elderly, both as a way to maintain more youthful levels of strength and energy, and as a part of their life extension strategies.

Brain implants will also allow for advanced neural interface devices — what will bridge the gap between minds and machines. These technologies will allow for brain-controlled prosthetics, some of which may be able to provide “superhuman” abilities like enhanced strength, speed — and completely new functionality altogether.

Other mods will include retinal eye implants to enable night vision and other previously inaccessible light spectrums. Advanced neuropharmaceuticals will allow for vastly improved working memory, attention, and speed of thought.

“Augmented reality systems can provide enhanced experiences of real-world situations,” the report notes, “Combined with advances in robotics, avatars could provide feedback in the form of sensors providing touch and smell as well as aural and visual information to the operator.”

But as with any technological development, there is a caveat:

But as the report notes, many of these technologies will only be available to those who are able to afford them. The authors warn that it could result in a two-tiered society comprising enhanced and nonenhanced persons, a dynamic that would likely require government oversight and regulation.

Smartly, the report also cautions that these technologies will need to be secure. Developers will be increasingly challenged to prevent hackers from interfering with these devices.

Lastly, other technologies and scientific disciplines will have to keep pace to make much of this work. For example, longer-lasting batteries will improve the practicality of exoskeletons. Progress in the neurosciences will be critical for the development of future brain-machine interfaces. And advances in flexible biocompatible electronics will enable improved integration with cybernetic implants.

Read the entire report here


The Venus Project

From the BBC comes a brief but interesting look into the Venus Project,  an  organization that aims to restructure society through an economic and infrastructural system in which, goods, services and information are free within the context of resource sustainability and availability (e.g. a “resource-based economy). 

This utopian idea was begun in 1980 by self-educated structural engineer, industrial designer, and futurist Jacque Fresco. He’s been described variably as an eccentric, idealist, visionary, crackpot, and charlatan, and his ideas have received as much praise as they have criticism.  The BBC article linked to above pretty much sums it up this way:

Is it possible to create a radically different society? One where material possessions are unnecessary, where buildings are created in factories, where mundane jobs are automated?

Would you want to live in a city where the main aim of daily life is to improve personal knowledge, enjoy hobbies, or solve problems that could be common to all people in order to improve the standard of living for everyone?

Some may think it is idealistic, but 97-year old architect Jacque Fresco is convinced his vision of the future is far better than how we live today.

I agree that his vision of the future is far better than what we have now. But so have many other such hypothetical concepts throughout history. Is his idea credible? Can it really be implemented in our lifetimes, if at all? What are your thoughts?

Are Fears of Information Overload Overblown?

Nowadays, it seems that the only thing more ubiquitous than information is the subsequent anxiety about whether the human mind can handle it all. From casual conversations to numerous scholarly articles, debate on the subject is hard to miss. I’ve discussed myself before, reaching an ambivalent conclusion (as I’m wont to do – it’s a bad habit, I know).

Unsurprisingly, I’m not alone in this experience, as BBC columnist ____ shared similar reflections about whether all this concern is merited. He begins by putting some well-needed historical perspective:

A 1971 essay in The Futurist magazine opened with some alarming numbers. The average city, it said, now had six television channels. But, the author warned, there was already one city planning 42 channels and in the future, there could even be places that support 80, 100 or 200 channels. Where will it end, the essay asked.

Just four decades on, in a world of instant-on, hyper-connected reality, the numbers sounds almost laughable. But, it seems, every generation believes that it has reached information overload. Look back through history, and whether it was the arrival of the book or the arrival of the internet, everyone from scholarly monks to rambunctious politicians are willing to pronounce that we can take no more; humanity has reached its capacity. Television, radio, apps, e-books, the internet – it is causing so much anxiety and stress in our lives that we no longer have control. The machines have won.

Or have they?

Every generation invariably fears the changes that emerge within its lifetime, and why not? Change is scary and, by definition, unfamiliar. We don’t know what to expect, even while it transpires before us, so we start debating the implications, the unseen effects, and the long-term consequences.

People once thought that novels would corrupt the minds of the youth or distract them from reality (sound familiar?), or that writing in place of oral traditions would cause a decline in memory. And as the 1970s reference to The Futurist showed, we’ve fretted about technology overloading our minds since before it was even fully utilized. The entire issue was arguably begun, or at least accelerated, by own man in particular:

If we want to understand the modern way we think about so-called “information overload” the best place to start is the 1970 book Future Shock by author and futurist Alvin Toffler. In it, he said future shock is, “the dizzying disorientation brought on by the premature arrival of the future. It may well be the most important disease of tomorrow”.

There is no denying Toffler’s international influence on the way we think about the future. I have seen Future Shock in virtually every used bookstore I have visited from Portland, Oregon to Cartagena, Colombia. With over six million copies sold, it clearly struck a nerve in 1970 and beyond.

Toffler explained in his book that, “just as the body cracks under the strain of environmental overstimulation, the “mind” and its decision processes behave erratically when overloaded.

In a radio interview shortly after the release of his book, Toffler warned that the exhaustion he saw throughout the world was tied to his new future shock theory. “I think there’s a tremendous undercurrent of dissatisfaction in America; people saying I want out, it’s moving too fast, it’s moving away from me; a sense of panic; a sense that things are slipping out of control and I don’t think that there’s much we can do in our personal lives to counteract that,” he said.

Toffler’s assumption was that the future is something that happens to us, rather than with us. It is something out of our control that will inevitably overwhelm us.

Toffler’s statements are almost word-for-word what we hear and read today: the world’s moving too quickly for us to adjust; we’re coming under the mercy of technology forces that we barely understand, let alone control; and all this subsequent anxiety from modernity is making us more depressed, worried, and cynical.

So the psychological strain we’re enduring is just the latter stage of a decades-long process, brought about by a “future” that we didn’t anticipate coming so quickly, and thus couldn’t prepare for. Even the most radical developments – be they technological or otherwise – take generations before their effects are truly felt or learned about.

Whilst some will take comfort in Toffler’s words, some of the notions seem rather quaint forty years later. Just as people today throw around the number of tweets sent per second or the amount of video watched online, in the early 1970s Toffler followers and techno-reactionaries liked to scatter their own figures to show the magnitude of the problem.

In the same Futurist essay that decried the rise of the number of TV channels, the author Ben Bagdikian goes on to overwhelm readers with even more daunting numbers, explaining that computers will soon be able to store information at a rate of 12 million words a minute, whilst printers will be able to pump out 180,000 words a minute; something that will collide violently with humanity’s ability to process information, he said.

“The disparity between the capacity of machines and the capacity of the human nervous system is not a small matter in the future of communications,” he wrote. “It has individual and social consequences that are already causing us problems, and will cause even more in the future.

“The human being of the near future probably will need as much sleep as he does today. He will spend more time absorbing abstract information than he does today, continuing the trend of past generations. But there is a limit.

It is a warning that we still hear today in many contexts. For example, author Jonathan Franzen, an opponent of electronic books, argues that traditional paper tomes give humanity some much needed stability in a world rocked by change. He fears that this rapid pace is hurting us. “Seriously, the world is changing so quickly that if you had any more than 80 years of change I don’t see how you could stand it psychologically,” he said.

Are we really any more stressed out or overwhelmed in the present day then we’ve been in the past? Hasn’t every society of every generation had something to fret about? I’m curious at what point had the world experienced changes that didn’t cause some sort of disruption to the status quo (as changes, by their nature, invariably do). Either we deal with the scary and disorderly unknowns of change, or we wallow in the familiar misery of stagnation.

To be fair, I don’t think Franzen, Bagdikian, or their contemporaries are opposed to change in principle. Their argument seems to be that a certain kind of change, and/or a certain speed of change, is what is unfavorable. That may be a fair point, but what exactly is the solution? Changes of any sort are rarely organized, deliberate affairs – they come about from a random assortment of various dynamics and circumstances. Even people that invent new things or come up with new ideas don’t always the intent, or the means, to see them through, nor can they ever really anticipate what may come of their creation.

In the end, all any of us can do is adapt. Human society will always be too complex, diverse, and disorderly to predict its development or chart an organized course through future obstacles. ____ seems to agree:

Yet history seems to suggest we ride these waves of change. I am typing this on a 15-hour flight over the Pacific Ocean. In that time, I watched two movies, three TV episodes and read half of a (deadtree) book. No one was forcing me to consume this media, nor even write these words. I made a conscious choice that this is how I wished to spend my time. I would also argue that most people reading an essay about the concept of information overload on the internet have some choice in the matter.

Toffler, Bagidikian and Franzen are not necessarily wrong or even alarmist in their concerns that we should seek to control our own technological destinies. But futility should not win the argument. Your consumption of media is largely within your control. We have a choice in the matter. We can change the channel, turn off the TV, or close the laptop lid. These are our choices, and it is hard to see how any of them are irrational or happening to us rather than with us.

Victor Cohn, in his 1956 book, 1999: Our Hopeful Future might have put it most reasonably. Cohn was a pragmatist and understood that we could not run from the future, but that by embracing change we might do some good: “Reject change, and we will be enslaved by it. Others will accept the worst of it and dictate to us. Accept change, and we may control it.”

Sooner or later, the future catches up with us all. But it need not swallow us whole.

That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t keep debating this issue. The naysayers or alarmists raise decent points that deserve serious consideration. We must never shut out well-founded concerns.

It could very well be that we’ll eventually reach a point in our technological development where we’re negatively altered by the forces we unknowingly unleashed. As I said, change is unpredictable and nebulous, so who’s to say that such alterations to our social, political, and economic fabric can’t morph into something we’ll be unable to adapt to.

Personally, I’m an optimist in this regard. I think every development will have its pros and cons. No element of human progress has ever been devoid of caveats. But given that this will always be the case, it seems that the best – if not only – thing we can do is try to understand the forces at work and adjust ad hoc. It’s not a graceful or sophisticated approach, but such is the nature of human beings. We’re constrained by our cognitive limitations, and can only see so much of the bigger picture for so long. Improvements in technology and methodology are helping us, but they can only get us so far – unless some unanticipated radical change fixes that too!

What are your thoughts?

Life Span Increased in Aging Mice

Medicine is continuing to make promising inroads in the area of regenerative medicine. With most developed countries facing increasingly aging populations, there’s widespread concern about mounting healthcare and social security costs.

Furthermore, attention is focusing on ensuring that lives are not only long but also fruitful. Perhaps the greatest hardship of growing old isn’t facing death, but enduring a painful and extended process of physical and mental decline, which furthermore puts an emotional and financial burden on loved ones.
Therefore, any practical and ethical means of at least mitigating our inevitable deterioration should be welcomed. The quantity of life means far less without the quality – hence my excitement over a study reported in National Geographic that managed to biologically rejuvenate mice on the verge of death, not only extending their lives but making them function as if they were younger.
The study mice were genetically engineered to have a condition similar to a rare human syndrome called progeria, in which children age quickly and die young. (Learn more about the human body.) The fast-aging mice typically die around 21 days after birth, far short of a normal mouse’s two-year life span.
When scientists looked at the muscle stem cells of the fast-aging mice, they found what Huard called “tired” stem cells, which don’t divide as quickly.
The team then examined mice that had aged normally and found their stem cells were similarly defective.
Curious if these deficient stem cells contribute to aging, Huard and colleagues injected stem cells from young, healthy mice into the fast-aging mice about four days before the older animals were expected to die.
To Huard’s astonishment, the treated mice lived an average of 71 days—50 more than expected, and the equivalent of an 80-year-old human living to be 200, he said.
Not only did the animals live longer, they also seemed healthier, the scientists found.
Despite all the controversy, not to mention the legal and political obstacles (at least here in the US), stem cells continue to yield remarkable results for regenerative medicine, if not medicine as a whole. It is no wonder that many scientists regard stem cell research as one of the most important avenues for improving human health. With more time, money, and societal support, they could have considerable impact on improving the quality of life for millions.
Anyway, the implications of this study become more interesting. Like all good scientists, the team undertook repeated experiments to ensure that the first results weren’t fluke, reaching the same outcome in every instance. This raised the vital question as to how the stem cells were having such dramatic effect.
To find out, the team “tagged” stem cells injected into the fast-aging mice with a genetic marker that tracked where the cells went inside the body. Surprisingly, the team found only a few stem cells in the mouse organs, squashing a theory that the introduced cells were repairing organ tissues.
The scientists went back to the lab to test another idea: that stem cells secrete some kind of mysterious anti-aging substance.
The team put stem cells from the fast-aging mice on one side of a flask and stem cells from normal, young mice on the other side. The two sides were separated by a membrane that prevented the cells from touching.
Within days, the aging stem cells began acting “younger”—in other words, they began dividing more quickly.
“We can conclude that probably normal stem cells secrete something we don’t know that seems to improve the defects in those aging stem cells,” Huard said.
“If we can identify that, we have found an anti-aging protein that is going to be important” for people, said Huard, whose study appeared January 3 in the journal Nature Communications.
There is still a lot to learn about stem cells, and it seems we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of their potential benefits. As always, there are important caveats to keep in mind before we get too excited and begin to expect age-reversing medicine on the market.
But other scientists are cautious about how soon the discovery may help people delay the aging process or treat age-related disease.
“They did a beautiful job of showing that, when they put the muscle stem cells in [the mice], they improved function,” said Justin Lathia, an assistant professor of cell biology at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute.
But as far as people go, it’s still not clear what exactly stem cells do in the body, as well as what the mysterious stem cell secretion really is, Lathia emphasized.
Jeremy Rich, chair of the department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, also pointed out that the study is limited to muscle stem cells. That means the research can’t be generalized to include all stem cell types, which are often very different from each other.
Paul Frenette, a stem cell and aging expert at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, called the research “intriguing,” but said one of the messages for “patients is not to get too excited.”
“You see all these clinics that are popping up all over the world—even in New York—where they’re injecting stem cells” into people to treat disease, even though such therapies have not been proven.
“I don’t think people should run to the clinic right now to have injections of stem cells to live longer.”
Indeed, the news media and general public have a tendency to become overly enthusiastic or supportive of research that is still preliminary or incomplete. In our understandable anticipation of what ground-breaking benefits may emerge, we forget that scientific progress is a cautious, methodical, and arduous journey through a gauntlet of peer review, repeated experimentation, and – in the case of medicine – numerous clinical trials.
At the same time, I’ve noticed a pushback against this sentiment from the other direction, in which the response to scientific developments is too cynical or reflexively skeptical. This too is an understandable position, given the sad history of false positives, fraudulence, and exaggerations. It certainly doesn’t help that in age of information overload, we frequently encounter conflicting claims and counter-claims that it can make it difficult for us to make up our minds.
Without getting too off topic, I think the key is to maintain a balance between informed incredulity and hope – look at multiple studies, preferably from scientific journals and reputable institutions, and maintain some restraint until more time and scrutiny have passed. I’m obviously very eager about the latency of this finding, but I’m not looking forward to popping anti-aging pills anytime soon.
Science isn’t perfect, given human nature, but it has as good a track record as any of our endeavors when it comes to fact-checking. There’s a lot of work to be done.
Indeed, study co-author Huard noted that before any human anti-aging trials can begin, scientists need to repeat the experiment in normally aging mice to show whether these mice also live longer.
If that turns out to be true, Huard could imagine a scenario in which some of a person’s stem cells are harvested at about age 20 and then injected back into his or her body at around age 50 or 55.
Stem cell therapies do already exist for conditions such as incontinence and heart problems, so he thinks “we’re not that far [from applying] this approach clinically down the road.”
But Huard warned that such a treatment would not mean a 55-year-old will suddenly look and feel 25 again.
“The goal of doing this research is not to [be like a] movie star with a ton of money [who wants to] look great for the rest of their lives,” he said.
“The goal is, if you delay aging, maybe you can delay Alzheimer’s or cardiovascular problems.”
In other words, he said, such stem cell treatments would help people “age well.”
My thoughts exactly. We’ve made incredible strides in bettering the human condition, doubling or even tripling human life expectancy while – perhaps most crucially – changing the way aging effects people. Older people are becoming unprecedentedly fitter, and it’s no longer unusual to see people running for public office or joining the workforce in their sixties or even early seventies.
With the median age in most societies getting higher, even within developing countries, it’s vital to both individual and collective well-being to ensure that the majority of older people can continue to function well into advanced age. The social, economic, and ethical gains would be tremendous.