[ExI] Economics of SENS

Kaj Sotala xuenay at gmail.com
Tue Jun 17 11:40:08 UTC 2008

On 6/17/08, The Avantguardian <avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>  start needing the medical care the most, would the added productivity of SENS
>  and the elimination of the medical costs associated with aging simply by
>  preventing it not be more cost effective for individuals, insurance companies,
>  and society as a whole in the long run? I don't have any numbers but I suspect


Consider, for instance, "Longevity Dividend", the The Scientist
article where four scientists argued for extra investment in
(non-radical) life extension:
http://www.grg.org/resources/TheScientist.htm .

"According to studies undertaken at the International Longevity Center
and at universities around the world, the extension of healthy life
creates wealth for individuals and the nations in which they live. [7]
Healthy older individuals accumulate more savings and investments than
those beset by illness. They tend to remain productively engaged in
society. They spark economic booms in so-called mature markets,
including financial services, travel, hospitality, and
intergenerational transfers to younger generations. Improved health
status also leads to less absenteeism from school and work and is
associated with better education and higher income."

"What we have in mind is not the unrealistic pursuit of dramatic
increases in life expectancy, let alone the kind of biological
immortality best left to science fiction novels. [20] Rather, we
envision a goal that is realistically achievable: a modest
deceleration in the rate of aging sufficient to delay all
aging-related diseases and disorders by about seven years."

"The National Institutes of Health is funded at $28 billion in 2006,
but less than 0.1% of that amount goes to understanding the biology of
aging and how it predisposes us to a suite of costly diseases and
disorders expressed at later ages. We are calling on Congress to
invest 3 billion dollars annually to this effort; or about 1% of the
current Medicare budget of $309 billion; and to provide the
organizational and intellectual infrastructure and other related
resources to make this work."

In other words, the four who signed the petition thought that a mere
7-year extension of the human healthspan would produce savings large
enough to justify an extra 3 billion in spending for a period of
several years (no estimate was given about how long they thought this
undertaking would require). Of course, we need to take into account
the possibility that they were exaggarating the impact in order to get
more money, as scientists often need to do, but even so, we can say
that an outright elimination of old age would cause immense savings
for society.

This, of course, ignores the costs of the possible turmoil that's
likely to ensue by the point that people realize that indefinite
lifespans are possible - as Aleksei points out, many people are used
to thinking that they'll retire at a certain age, and the thought of
not getting a state-funded pension is likely to cause some disruption.
However, I don't think all that many people would actually choose to
retire: AFAIK, even most lottery winners who get millions tend to keep
working anyway, and many of the wealthier individuals who could, given
a few years, save enough money to live off interest nevertheless
continue working.

I tend to agree with Aleksei's point that we're likely to have very
advanced AI by the time indefinite lifespans are possible, with a
difficult-to-measure impact on economic estimates such as these,

http://www.saunalahti.fi/~tspro1/ | http://xuenay.livejournal.com/

Organizations worth your time:
http://www.singinst.org/ | http://www.crnano.org/ | http://www.mfoundation.org/

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