Oxford Baby Boom Longevity Initiative

Happy 150th birthday? New Era Looms For Aging
OXFORD (Reuters) March 15, 2006 – Modern medicine is redefining old age and may soon allow people to live regularly beyond the current upper limit of 120 years, experts said on Wednesday. It used to be thought there was some inbuilt limit on lifespan, but a group of scientists meeting at Oxford University for a conference on life extension and enhancement consigned that idea to the dustbin.

Paul Hodge, director of the Harvard Generations Policy Program, said governments around the world — struggling with pension crises, graying workforces and rising healthcare costs — had to face up to the challenge now. “Life expectancy is going to grow significantly, and current policies are going to be proven totally inadequate,” he predicted.

Complete article located HERE.

The Global Generations Policy Institute’s (GGPI) Baby Boomer Longevity Initiative is a “first-of-its-kind”, multi-dimensional venture which creatively challenges the boundaries of current thought and examines the impact extended human longevity will have on our country and the world.

Paul Hodge, director of the Harvard Generations Policy Program, said governments around the world — struggling with pension crises, graying workforces and rising healthcare costs — had to face up to the challenge now. “Life expectancy is going to grow significantly, and current policies are going to be proven totally inadequate,” he predicted.

To stimulate and encourage informed policy development, think tank GGPI conceived and initiated through its Chair & Founder Paul Hodge a unique collaboration with Oxford University’s internationally renowned scientist, science policy expert and futurist Baroness Susan Greenfield. As a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Oxford, Mr. Hodge raised the awareness of both the United States’ and the international scientific/policy communities as to the transformational changes which will be wrought by increased human longevity.

Through GGPI’s proactive initiative and co-sponsorship, on March 14 – 17, 2006, Oxford’s James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization hosted its inaugural World Forum: Tomorrow’s People: The Challenges of Technologies for Life Extension and Enhancement. The Forum examined the range of technologies offering lives that will be longer, stronger, smarter and happier. Many critical questions were examined such as: what is radical evolution and what does it mean for humanity, what are the realistic prospects for radical life extension, how will humans re-engineer the human body, how are the prospects of radical human evolution viewed around the world, what are the implications of cognitive enhancement, what is the meaning of human nature and does it matter and will we be able to shape and chose alternative futures. Leading scientists, scholars, business executives, policy makers, religious leaders and citizens came together to explore the promises and implications of technologies for life enhancement and extension.

As a recognized visionary, Paul has observed in his publications and his presentations to, among others, the White House, the Aspen Institute and the World Economic Forum:

“Current demographic projections are based on ‘increasingly challenged’ assumptions about human longevity. In contrast to current established medical and scientific opinion, there is a growing group of experts who feel that within the next two or three decades, with advances in medical and related sciences, human lifespan will increase to an unprecedented length. Not only will it be relatively normal for people to live to 100, but also, they may live to reach the “natural cap” of about 120 years and up! Generally, in the United States and in other industrialized societies, people will enjoy better health as they age and their aging process may be notably slowed. Developing and new, accelerating research, discoveries and breakthroughs in such areas as the mapping of the human genome, cloning technology, nanotechnology, stem cell, biogenetic engineering, medicine, nutritional sciences, public health, robotics, pharmaceuticals and a host of other presently unknown interrelated fields will be greatly responsible for these revolutionary changes.

There is a clear indication that with continuing advances in the social and physical sciences, significant segments of all the generations will be living a lot longer than currently projected. Given this fact, many age-related public policies involving diverse areas may be inadequate to address future needs because of the unreliable underlying science assessments and longevity data projections. Indeed, if aging US baby boomers and the other younger aging cohorts live significantly longer than currently projected and in better health, then many national policies dealing with practically every area of our society will have to be revisited, researched and refined to address these revolutionary demographic changes.

To address this challenge, it is recommended that our nation institute a critically needed, creative, “out-of-the-box” program which will bring together on a periodic basis, national and international experts from the multidisciplinary social and physical sciences, demographers, accomplished innovators, independent thinkers, private/social entrepreneurs and policy leaders to make National Science & Longevity Assessments. In arriving at their Assessments, the participants will evaluate the existing medical, scientific and social landscape affecting longevity, estimate the effect of new or anticipated scientific and other breakthroughs, identify the interrelated aspects of these breakthroughs which are all too often overlooked and establish creative, uniform standards and procedures for determining longevity and mortality data. The Assessments will be made available to the US public and the international community so that credible and relevant public policies can be developed in preparation for the aging of our baby boomers and global populations.”