FUTURE TECHNOLOGY IN LONGEVITY
Writing the report for the fourth in the ‘Future Technology Series’ for the London Technology Club, we looked at the fast-evolving area of Longevity.
The full report can be uploaded from the LTC website CLICK HERE. To give you a taster, here are some of the headlines and best quotes to give you a quick guide to living longer, living healthier for longer and the opportunities both in terms of economics but also changing societal mindsets. Here are 30 summary points from the report:
1) We are now challenging the old societal contract that says we learn, then earn, then retire and then expire
2) Technologies lie at the core of breakthroughs in the longevity space – how they are uncovered, accelerated, applied and distributed
3) Compelling scientific evidence indicates that both living longer and living well is realistic for those who adopt healthy behaviours, are financially secure, and remain socially engaged.
4) Globally, the number of people aged 60 and over is projected to double, reaching more than two billion by 2050, when those over 60 will outnumber those under the age of five
5) In 1990 there were 91,000 people over 100 globally. In 2015 there were 451,000. By 2050 there will be almost 3.7 million
6) In the coming decades, many forces will shape our economy but, in all likelihood, no single factor will have as pervasive an effect as the ageing population
7) Over the last 100 years, life expectancy has increased by an average of 30 years
8) Just as we look back at former attitudes to smoking, in 20 years we will think the same about how we once simply accepted we would all ‘just grow old’
9) It’s amazing to think that average lifespan rose above 50 for the first time in 10,000 years of human history less than 75 years ago
10) Between 1970 and 2011, life expectancy after 65 rose 20 times fast than it had between 1841 and 1970
11) In the 1900s, the leading causes of death were infectious diseases- the likes of influenza, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. In 2019, the trend has shifted to ‘age-related’ disease such as cancer and dementia. Mortality improvement peaked over 2000 to 2011 but in recent years the level of mortality improvement seems to have reduced significantly
12) Technology can accelerate the uncovering of understanding the cellular and molecular processes which underlie age-related diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s which continue to elude is in their pathology. We hope in the near future we will look back at age-related diseases as similarly curable
13) We could in the near future be regularly taking cocktails of compounds such as NMN, metformin and rapamycin to slow the onset of and even reverse ageing
14) Scientists have only recently uncovered and agreed on the nine root causes of the physiological contributors to ageing. This work has become the foundation built on by thought leaders, scientists and investors working on the field of longevity
15) Nine hallmarks can be grouped together into three subsets: Molecular Alterations, Tissue Degeneration, Cellular Dysfunction. A major challenge is understanding the interconnectedness of the candidate hallmarks
16) We might well be at a moment in history where a confluence of technologies emerged all at around the same time to allow really large and interesting and disease relevant data sets to be produced in biology.
17) In parallel we see machine learning in technologies that are able to make sense of that data and come up with novel insights that can hopefully cure disease.
18) Now that technology is providing the tools the longevity industry needs such as accelerated analytics and deep learning, the next target is big data to fuel the analysis
19) It’s important to recognise the risk that just prolonging the length of life can just increase the length of human suffering. Health span therefore is the part of a person’s life during which they are generally in good health. We want to live longer but the quality of life we want to be for as long as possible.
20) The Stanford Center for Longevity sets out the following four necessary ingredients for living well staying mentally sharp, physically fit, financially secure and socially engaged
21) A wave of research recently has focused on the role that calorific restrictions play in promoting longevity. In the future we may look back and realise this was the time where intermittent fasting became as important as knowing you had to do physical activity for vitality
THE LONGEVITY ECONOMY & MINDSETS
22) Every company should have a strategy for tapping into the needs, wants and buying power of older customers
23) The global spending power of those aged 60 and over will reach $15 trillion annually next year
24) The longevity economy is redrawing economic lines, changing the face of the workforce, advancing technology and innovations and busting perceptions of what it means to age
25) With employees expected to work well beyond 70 and into their 80s in the future alongside school leavers entering the workforce, there will be a new challenge of five generations of workers in the same company
26) 90% of older adults say they want to be able to remain in their own homes as they age
27) The smart to helpful home trend is expected to continue into the future because technology will be the most useful for seniors, baby boomers and zoomers
28) While medical and lifestyle changes are important in longevity, there is a growing recognition that mental and social well-being are also important especially in the oldest age groups
29) With bots, AI, mixed reality and conversational interfaces becoming part of people’s everyday lives, the future of interactive technology will be important for elders
30) For many older adults, getting around the community and taking care of one’s self and the home become more difficult over time, and friends and family become critical sources of support. Technology-enabled services will be vital for families and clinicians charged with an older adults’ well-being