Monday, August 31, 2015
Did you know living longer may be bad for society?
This is interesting, living longer should be good for us, but evidently there is a problem with a whole bunch of us living longer. The following is part of an on-line interview with a catastrophist. A catastrophist is a person who specializes in studying the risk to society as people live longer. The entire interview is here
Dr. Woo, a Cambridge-trained mathematician and MIT-trained theoretical physicist who now works for the London-based consultancy RMS, spends his days thinking about catastrophic risks. Woo is one of the world’s best-respected “catastrophists,” and RMS—short for Risk Management Solutions—helps insurers and reinsurers calculate the likelihood of disastrous earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, terrorist attacks, financial crises, and other hazards. Lately, Woo has been thinking a lot about the risks posed by climate change, which could have a huge impact on the catastrophes of the future, altering sea levels, weather patterns, migration patterns, and much more. But Woo’s other major preoccupation these days is the risks posed by people living longer.
In his closing statement, Dr. Woo says:
Well, cancer does not make that much difference, either; if an ageing person does not die of cancer, they will die of heart disease. The real issue is that the ageing process can be arrested. The biggest cause of death is not cancer or heart disease. The biggest cause of death is ageing. If you can slow down the process of ageing, you are slowing down all causes of death.
This is new territory for mankind. There is an interesting book called “Positively Ninety.” It is a series of interviews with nonagenarians who are all very lively. My favourite is the cover woman, who actually plays competitive Scrabble at the age of 90. She is very sharp, has a very positive attitude towards life, and a very good network of friends and family. If you read these interviews with positive nonagenarians, you will get a glimpse into the future, because a high proportion of people will be just like that. The 90s will be like the 80s today. In addition, it will become commonplace to reach 100. In fact, for a baby born today, the expectation is already that they will live to 100.