Author: Olivera Z. Mijuskovic, philosopher and bioethicist
Philosophy and economics together? Not at all, but...
This year's World Economic Forum in Davos will inter alia address the bioethical issues of radical life extension, more precisely, its possible implications. That science is advancing rapidly and topics in the field of bioethics and biomedicine are no longer science fiction witnesses and panel discussions on the possible, plausible and probable impacts of significantly extended lifespans at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos (Wednesday, January 20th at 10:15 EST / 16:15 CET).
What's radical life extension?
The general definition is:
Life extension science, also known as anti-aging medicine, indefinite life extension, experimental gerontology, and biomedical gerontology, is the study of slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend both the maximum and average lifespan.
Radical life extension has its roots in the period of the philosophical concept of Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Benjamin Franklin, etc. In modern times there are different councils, government and scientific institutions that have their own views on this issue.For example, John Harris, famous world bioethicist from England, argues that as long as life is worth living, according to the person himself, we have a powerful moral imperative to save the life and thus to develop and offer life extension therapies to those who want them. Nick Bostrom has argued that any technological advances in life extension must be equitably distributed and not restricted to a privileged few. The human life span significantly improves not only the beauty but also the quality. Stem cell therapies, nanotehnologies, gene-editing, new products as a pharmaceutical and surgical interventions have greatly contributed to prolong the human lifespan. If we continue to be resistant to everything our ancestors centuries before us have not been immune, how will our future look like? If recourse to cognitive or moral enhancement of all this stuff, whether we live in abundance and this will be only the privileged life?
The issues that are specially engaged in Davos are as follows:
Would people still want to marry if they were faced with over a century of life together? What age would people want to have children? How many generations could expect to be alive at the same time?
From the actualization of these issues and official data issued by the UN, the consequences of such a scenario are actually very close in front of us. It will be interesting to hear what different profession think on this issue.
What is your opinion on this issue?