Americans are living longer, what if that’s a disaster?

August 4, 2015

Gordon Woo, PhD is a Cambridge mathematician and MIT theoretical physicist who now works for the consultancy Risk Management Solutions, analyzing catastrophic risks.

Journalist Michael Grunwald talked to Woo about what he’s learned about old age — its consequences, what kinds of people are most likely to achieve it, what kinds of medical advances are likely to prolong it.

And what it means for public and private finances when living into our 90s is the norm.

Michael Grunwald | When you’re talking about regenerative medicine, you mean people picking up spare parts as they get older?

Gordon Woo, PhD | The basic paradigm is automobiles. You can have an automobile which was built  70 years ago, and if you keep repairing or replacing broken or used parts, that automobile can keep going. Right now, if you have some disease or failed organ or system, you might have to resort to some kind of transplant.

But in the future there is the possibility of replacing or regrowing these organs. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief engineer, is advocating a whole new world of 3D printing, where you can print out an organ in the same way you can print out a sheet of paper.

That’s a future where you can maintain an individual for a very long time. Of course, the brain is something else but the rest of the body in principle could be replaced. […]

related reading:
Risk Management Solutions | main
Wikipedia | regenerative medicine