Boom boom

Today I started thinking about what I might be doing at the age of one hundred. I have every intention of still being around then, teaching, doing research, and generally having a great time, although I cheerfully acknowledge that certain aspects of the situation are beyond my control, like getting hit by a bus before those self-driving vehicles take over.

Fortunately for me, I will arrive at that august age after a wave of baby boomers have already gotten there. And I am firmly convinced that such a huge group of self-interested Americans will contain enough extremely well connected, resource-rich and ingenious people to make a difference. These folks are not only going to want to avoid death, they are going to want to continue to enjoy life.

People used to say that thirty was the new twenty. Then they said that forty was the new thirty. Already people are saying that fifty is the new thirty. Not too long from now, I suspect they will be saying that eighty is the new forty. Relentless advances in medicine, food science, computation, miniaturization, wearables and technology in general are going to have a cumulative effect.

The concept of “life-style prosthetics” will become common. Assisted walking, muscle control, memory and navigation will be taken for granted. Technologies to improve eyesight and hearing, then eventually smell, taste and proprioception, will become first stylish and then eventually invisible.

Eventually we won’t even think about these prosthetic enhancements, any more than we now think about how our modern shoe-coddled feet can no longer walk barefoot across a hot desert.

It might be fun to think about what prosthetics that will help 100 year olds live vibrant and enjoyable lives might look like in a few decades or so. It might also be fun to eventually enjoy that experience first-hand.

If I can just manage to avoid getting hit by that bus.

4 Responses to “Boom boom”

  1. J. Peterson says:

    My mom bought some brown towels. After surgery to correct cataracts, she discovered they were actually purple. Somehow correcting for subtle sensory losses seems like an interesting augmented reality problem. Maybe you’ll be working on it 30 years from now? : )

    I work with somebody who was, in fact, “hit by a bus”. There was a year or so of recovery while bones etc. mended, but he’s fine now.

  2. You might be interested in this post from Experientia, with lots of links to technology and aging research:

  3. You spoke of “eighty is the new forty.” How about this one: “120 is the new 60!”

  4. You spoke of “eighty is the new forty.” How about this one: “120 is the new 60!”

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