When you were about to be born, your life expectancy was less than sixty years. This is because all of the dangers of life were still ahead of you.
On birth, your life expectancy actually increased. This was despite being older. You had passed one of the great hazards of life.
Childhood is a dangerous time, and by the time you reached the age of twelve you had already proved yourself one of the strong ones. Although you are now older, your life expectancy has also increased. You can now expect to live to about sixty five. Strangely, your life expectancy has grown by fifteen years and yet you are only twelve years older!
You are not consuming your years on earth at all! You now have more years ahead of you than you did before birth!
This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, you have been lucky. This automatically averages up your life expectancy. Second, you have no genetic abnormalities and thirdly, economic growth has made the world safer while you were growing.
Death has receded as you have traveled through life. Although you have grown older, death has come no nearer.
This changes in your thirties. Your life expectancy continues to lengthen- but officially not at the same rate. In fact it is becoming harder to calculate your life expectancy at all because this is based upon partial information.
Life expectancy is based upon the age at which people are dying right now. It is always an under estimate.
For example, if man are dying at the age of (say) 67, this is the product of the life they have led up until the point of death. In other words, his death is not just the product of the environment of 2008 but of all the past years of his life. He has been exposed to chemicals and hazards that no person in there thirties will ever experience. Any life expectancy calculated on this basis is therefore bound to be wrong!
What, then is our life expectancy.
I have no idea whatever!
It may be ten thousand years!!
I am quite serious. I have been following stem cell research quite closely. There is one experiment running right now to breed an immortal fruit fly. In order to do this they force the fly to adopt the Men Going Their Own Way lifestyle- the fruit fly only get to reproduce when they are older, rather like a balding Western man who goes to Thailand. The fly undergoes a form of accelerated evolution. They have to be virile because only virile fly make it to the age at which they can reproduce. So far they have evolved to live double their natural span and it appears that this process continues. The really exciting thing is that they become super fly- far stronger and harder to kill than any normal fruit fly. This reminds me of top athletes who abstain from sex in order to perform better. Perhaps both these phenomena spring from the same root? If this is true of humans, the one hundred year old man of the future will look at the athletic powers of the sixteen year old with pity.
So what till it take to be one of the immortals?
Time, money, and the will to live.
We have no idea how long it will take to develop an effective immortality treatment. Maybe it will take a hundred years. This would mean that the children alive today will have a shot at immortality.
Perhaps there will be intermediate treatments- the chance to regenerate a brain, or a heart. In this case we are all in with a chance.
I am told it will be possible to grow new teeth in twenty years.
We shall see.
Perhaps I will meet some of you in a thousand years.
What should we talk about then?