How far to longevity escape velocity? 13 November 2017

When you are born, you come with an expiration date called life expectancy. For newborns this year it would be about 70 years on global average or about 79 years in developed countries.

Only 35 years ago the numbers were 60 and 72 years, respectively. Does it mean that folks in Europe that are 35 years old today have only 37 more years left? Well … no. They will still have to wait another 40 years or more to meet Elvis.

It turns out that better hygiene, improved medical care and lack of major wars added extra couple of years to their life expectancy. Similar thing will happen to the current newborns. Every year, their expiration date will be postponed a bit. And now its time for the first surprise: currently this annual addition to life expectancy is between 3 to 4 months in developed countries. Every freaking year the end of our earthly sorrows escapes from us by couple of months!

And that is not all. The rate of the escape is growing … you guessed it … every year.

It seems inevitable that at some point in future the rate will break the 12 months per year barrier. It means, the death will be hard to catch up with without proactive attitude on our part. If that happens, we will reach the famous longevity escape velocity. It is like a mortgage with interests exceeding your payments ability. The more you pay, the deeper in debt you get.

And when this may be? Well, the date will vary for different people. Some predictions made by Ray Kurzweil almost 20 years ago pointed at 2026-2027 as the onset of this statistical immortality. In one of the recent interviews he even said that he himself has probably reached that point already.

For the longevity enthusiasts: people, that you hate, will be immortal, too.

We will see in ten years …