Escape Velocity of Anti-Aging

In his interview with Glenn Reynolds, Cambridge scientist Aubrey de Grey talks about the point when aging will be effectively cured.

I think we have a 50/50 chance of effectively completely curing aging by [the next 20-30 years]. I should explain that I mean something precise by the suspiciously vague-sounding term "effectively completely". I define an effectively complete cure for aging as the attainment of "escape velocity" in the postponement of aging, which is the point when we're postponing aging for middle-aged people faster than time is passing.

This is a slightly tricky concept, so I'll explain it in more detail. At the moment, a 50-year-old has roughly a 10% greater chance of dying within the next year than a 49-year-old, and a 51-year-old has a 10% greater chance than a 50-year-old, and so on up to at least 85 to 90 (after which more complicated things happen). But medical progress means that those actual probabilities are coming down with time. So, since we're 50 only a year after being 49, and so on, each of us has less than a 10% greater chance of dying at 50 than at 49 -- it's 10% minus the amount that medical progress has achieved for 50-year-olds in the year that we were 49. Thus, if we get to the point where we're bringing down the risk of death at each age faster than 10% per year, people will be enjoying a progressively diminishing risk of death in the next year (or, equivalently, a progressively increasing remaining life expectancy) as time passes. That's what I call "escape velocity", and I think it's fair to call it the point where aging is effectively cured.

I vaguely remember a similar concept used in Bruce Sterling's Holy Fire.

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Has anybody read Holy Fire?

Has anybody read Holy Fire? The description of it sounds very good.

That interview with Aubrey de Grey is excellent. One has to wonder what group will pop up to oppose such a technology though. He doesn't think anyone will, but it seems as if there is always some group that is against seemingly beneficial technology.

Ben, I didn't particularly

I didn't particularly enjoy Holy Fire, but I don't remember exactly why.