May 14, 2007

Life Extension Scenarios

Here are the results from the "Paths to life-extension" scenario planning project we did this sunday:

The results of the brainstorming (Download file) as a mindmap and the scenarios (Download file). See also the bibliography.

The four scenarios are driven by the degree the public believes life extension is possible and how rapid progress is compared to this. In the boring scenario people don't believe in life extension, and the area also shows little progress - maybe because of lack of funding, maybe because it is too hard. In the surprise scenario the gradual accumulation of results lead to a rapid leap, shocking public opinion into action. In the nice scenario there is a great deal of interest in the progress of life extension, leading to a virtuous circle of investment and adaptation. And in the hype scenario life extension has been oversold and people are investing in a life extension bubble.

I think the main lesson from this small scenario exercise is that it matters how we promote life extension. It must not be oversold, and it must track real results - as well as anticipate near future progress. That is hard to do, both because future progress is hard to estimate (the paper gives some ideas for indicators) and because belief in that it matters and will come reasonably soon biases estimation, as well as the attention rewards for making extreme claims.

(this week's CNE Health blog is about a related matter, financial instruments for reducing uncertainties of life extension)

Posted by Anders3 at May 14, 2007 04:21 PM