The interest in the suborbital trips (100 km above the surface of the Earth) have grown steadily since the launch 20 years ago, but the market has basically exploded this year since the official announcement of the Mars mission. More low cost spacelines have entered the market and you can now find suborbital flights for as low as US$ 3,495.
Space tourism is one of the markets that have developed the most during the last decade, with the opening of the Starbright Hotel on the moon, as well as the low orbital hotels that started accepting guests. However, accommodation in space is still expensive for the average household, so the suborbital flights with thirty minutes weightlessness during the three-hour flight, with four hours preparation, will for some time be the most popular trip.
The spacelines might however in the future face fierce competition from space elevators, like the one that are projected for construction start within a couple of years. Once it is fully functional it will start to ship cargo to space, but it will as soon as possible accept passengers to get back the giant investment. Even though the elevator become successful, it will take several years before there will be more elevators in the world, to get in the competition for the space traffic with the spacelines.
Argument: Apart from the few tourists that already have been out in space, commercial space flights will soon be available for a broader public. Several organizations plan to put the first man on Mars by year 2030 and the launch window in January/February 2031 is possible. This combined will generate a great interest in the suborbital flights, which will lower the price.
Questions: What current tourist destinations/attractions will suffer from the development of space tourism? What activities will there be at the accommodations in space, for people to stay longer? How will the future interest in space tourism affect education and common knowledge about space among people?
This date has been planned for about 5 years so it came as no surprise to the Icelanders that they can no longer fill their cars with gasoline. The governmental subventions for motorists to scrap their gasoline vehicles, combined with a mature used cars market of hydrogen vehicles due to their early adoption have made the transition possible. Another key factor has been the low price of hydrogen, Iceland has the cheapest hydrogen in the world since their domestic production meets demand.
Iceland is not only self-sufficient with hydrogen, all of it is produced through electrolysis based on hydro- and geothermal power. This means that 100% of the hydrogen consumed in Icelandic cars are produced from renewable sources, known to the consumer as Re-Hydro, compared to about 10% of the hydrogen in the US cars.
The transition has also resulted in that Iceland now has the most modern car fleet in the world. Half of the 233,000 vehicles are hydrogen-hybrids and half are fuel cell models, even though now three of four cars sold are fuel cell.
35 years ago the Icelandic car fleet consumed as much gasoline as the marine fleet, but due to the automotive subventions and the longer life length of boats, the marine fleet has not been able to keep pace. It will most likely take another 10 years before the last Icelandic fishing boat with a diesel engine is taken out of service. By then Iceland will have decreased their oil consumption with about 80% since year 2005.
For sentimental reasons some people had saved their gasoline vehicles to fill them up on the last day, so they can enjoy the smell of gasoline cruising around the island for the last time. The last man at the pump wasn’t there to be sentimental though: “I hope this tank will be enough to get me around to the car dealers today, cause I haven’t bought a hydrogen yet”.
Argument: The development of hydrogen-fueled cars is based on several different sources, with the optimistic scenarios for a fast introduction on the market, to the book The Hype about Hydrogen by Joseph J. Romm. The partly governmental initiative Icelandic New Energy is aiming for a total conversion to hydrogen in the transportation sector in Iceland to year 2050.
Questions: Is there any other country that has a better chance than Iceland to make a full transition away from the car gasoline society? What other positive effects will this have on the Icelandic economy, society and environment?
By Pontus Edenberg
The direct costs for treating diabetes will only for the US this year be about US$ 506 billion. Although the number of people dying directly from diabetes is approximately 1.5 million worldwide, the number of deaths every year attributable to complications of diabetes is more than 8 million.
Even though improvements have been made in the work for finding a permanent cure for diabetes, the best cure for type-2 diabetes (which results from the body's inability to respond properly to the action of insulin produced by the pancreas) which accounts for about 90% of the cases, is still to exercise and keep a healthy diet. A 30 minute walk each day reduces the incidence of diabetes.
Argument: WHO estimates that 370 million people worldwide will suffer from diabetes in 2030, compared to 177 million in 2000. The figure US$ 506 billion in direct costs for the US to treat diabetes is based on today's cost, the estimated inflation and increase in patients to treat. No eventual cure for diabetes until 2030 is considered. Today the most permanent method of treating diabetes is a pancreas transplant which gives the patient a chance to become independent of insulin injections.
Questions: The most promising cure for diabetes is based on stem cell research. How much of the estimated cost for diabetes in 2030 would be worth investing today to get closer to a cure and what would be the return on that investment? Since physical activity reduces the incidence of diabetes, how much is worth investing in people being more active, already from a young age and to keep them active on a regular basis?
The skirace started in 1922 and the arranger say that they are pleased that they have been able to keep the tradition alive for more than a century. More than 600,000 people have during the years been skiing from Sälen to Mora, the same route that the Swedish king-to-be, Gustav Vasa made in 1521 on his way escaping from Danish soldiers to Norway (although he went the other way, from Mora to Sälen).
Argument: According to Swedish meteorologist Pär Holmgren, the global warming will increase the temperature so it will be impossible to continue with Vasaloppet. The race was cancelled in 1990, and in 2005 the cost for providing the track with enough snow was US$ 1.6 million, or a loss of about US$ 40 per participant. It will not be possible to maintain the contest as it is today, so if there are no revolutionary inventions to provide that much snow, they will either have to quit, or move to a more northern location.
Questions: Apart from the general problem with global warming, will it affect any other similar events? When a city is chosen to host the Winter Olympics, will the availability of snow be an issue that narrows down the candidates? Will the demand for snow increase in the next 20 years due to all established events that will be affected?
Titi is purely a symbolic choice by the UN, since it is impossible to know where the exact nine billionth person is born, since several children are born every second around the world. The choice of a baby from the Republic of Congo coincides with their national holiday today as they celebrate 90 years of independence.
Argument: According to United Nations' World Population Prospects 2004 Revision, the world's population will reach 9.1 billion by 2050, with India as the most populous nation, with a projected decline in fertility to slightly over 2 children per woman in 2050 (from 2.6 children in 2004). Even though the administrative system will be more efficient in the developing parts of the world by then, it will still be difficult to determine the exact number of people in the world.
Questions: What affects on the world will the increase of the world?s population with almost 50% until 2050 have, which of course will be unprecedented in human history in number of people? Are there necessary steps that have to be taken to make sure that we for instance produce enough food for such a huge population?
The challenge for Frank Levin's attorney in this case is to make a multi voice recognition transcript valid as proof of evidence in itself, since the conversation was not recorded. Frank had his voice recognition software in "text mode only" on his cell phone, so during the conversation no talk was saved; only a text file was created. The case is assumed to mainly be about the reliance in this technology which in the long run could benefit the development of voice recognition software.
Multi voice recognition has become widely popular for the last years, especially within the business world, since it allows all meetings to be recorded and transcripted simultaneously, with every quote related to the correct person. When the meeting is over, everyone gets a transcript of the meeting, easily searchable for the correct information. More and more people are also creating official "talklogs" where they record everything they say and publish it as diaries.
Argument: Voice recognition software has developed from demanding hours of the person to use it to create a profile for the software to recognize a voice and put it in text while speaking, to just a few minutes. In 2010 there will be software that can generate text without making a personal profile first. This opens up the possibility for multi voice recognition simultaneously to be used at meetings etc. to create a transcript while talking.
Questions: In what other ways can more advanced voice recognition be used? If voice recognition software will be used to record speech in a cell phone with an instant transcript, basically any conversation can be available in text. Will there be a practical need for that? Will "talklogs" become readable reality shows?
The BCI consists of an internal sensor to detect brain cell activity and external processors that convert these brain signals into a computer-mediated output under the person's own control. The sensor is implanted on the surface of the area of the brain responsible for movement, the motor cortex, and is then wireless connected to a computer. The first successful implanted BMI was BrainGate for more than 30 years ago, which then gave the patient the ability to move a cursor on a screen and play a simple computer game.
BCI is mainly for people with severe motor impairments from spinal cord injury, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or other motor neuron diseases
Steve Nelson from Hoboken, New Jersey has had his BCI for 3 years: "It definitely changed my life, after being completely stuck in my chair for several years after the accident. We have connected everything in my apartment to the software that I control with my mind. I can even go out of my apartment, take the elevator down and go for a tour downtown, without anyone assisting me. With the robotic hand at my chair I can open the freezer, take out the food I want, and cook it myself." However, how well this work of course differs from individual to individual and some criticism has been heard that the BCI is given to people who could not benefit from it for different reasons.
The developing of the BCI software and the experience from the increasing number of users now gives hope that legs and arms can be activated by thought only. Tests are currently made on people with BCI and if the result is positive a solution can be on the market in the near future.
Even though improvements have been made towards cloning of human organs scientists agree that there are still some years left for them to successfully help a person with spinal cord damage to walk again.
Argument: Tests with the BrainGate Neural Interface System have been successful, proving the possibility for a quadriplegic to move a cursor on a screen by thought only.
Questions: In what other ways can quadriplegics control their environment with their mind? When will it be possible to help a person with spinal cord damage to walk again?
Not are they only the first hotel guests on the moon, they also set a new record for expensive accommodation since the price was US$ 3,7 million per night, per person. However, the exclusive transfer from earth to the hotel was included in the price.
The hotel itself will probably have a tough time just to try to gain one star at any hotel rating system, since there is no room service, the guests have to do the cleaning of the room themselves and there is no bathroom in them. However, they have more stars than they need just outside their window.
Rod and Susan will get married through link by their local minister in San Diego, California at 9.00pm EST tonight, and the wedding will be broadcasted live by several major TV networks in a 1-hour special including the preparations for the trip.
They were accompanied by six other astronauts that during the stay will set up further accommodations for the guests that have made reservations at the Starbright Hotel next year. The hotel has so far no employees, only temporary staff when guests.
Argument: Apart from the few tourists that already have been out in space, commercial space flights will be available in 2008 through companies like Space Adventures and Virgin Galactic, even though they will just be out in space for a short time. Since several organizations plan to put the first man on Mars by 2030, new trips to the moon will take place around 2015-2020. That combined with the increasing interest in space tourism in the next decade will open up to the possibility to make a reservation on the moon.
Questions: How will the first permanent accommodations on the moon look like? Will we be able to follow space flights live on TV, like today's reality shows? What will a vacation on the moon be like, what would the exclusive attractions be apart from the view?
Computer animation has developed a lot since the first full-length movie "Toy Story" in 1995, and the first attempt of a full-length movie with humans "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" in 2001. The challenge and difficulties to create humans in animation lies mainly in the eye of the beholder, since we are so trained to see human behavior, movements, facial expressions etc.
Many people state that this is the future of the movie industry, since you don't have to pay actors US$ 25 million to appear in a movie, you can just license his face as a trademark if you like and let the computers do the rest. However, there is still some time left before this type of movies will save money for the studios; the budget for "Tickle" was about US$ 190 million.
They have also taken the opportunity it gives to re-create actors that are no longer active. A lot of effort was made to give a supporting role to the like of James Dean, a successful movie star that was tragically killed in a car accident 65 years ago. However, all resemblance between the tall homosexual clerk with the high-pitched voice saying "I'll be back" and the former action hero of the 1990s Arnold Schwarzenegger, is purely coincidental according to the director.
So, to the big question, can you see that the movie is only made by computers with no real actors? Well, go and see for yourself tonight!
Argument: Since the speed for processing information is constantly increasing and the cost decreasing, it will be possible to make more advanced animated movies. Software development is also a key to develop more realistic-looking humans. Movie studios that are not depending on established actors will be able to act more flexible.
Questions: If you can't tell the difference between an animated and real footage, is there a risk that news can be fabricated, like a president giving a speech with a different meaning than the original? Will people be interested in movies that look like it has real actors, but are only computer generated? How will quantum computing affect the rendering of animated movies when it becomes available later on?
Authorities report that a lot of elderly and homeless have died of heat stroke. Another concern is water shortages in several parts of the country to come later on as a result of the heat, and it can seriously affect agriculture where 70-75% of the water is used.
30 years ago the temperature only average over 35 degrees for 40 days, but due to the global warming it will continue to increase during this century.
Argument: According to Professor Liu Chung-ming of National Taiwan University's Global Change Research Center two-thirds of Taiwan's summer will average over 35 degrees Celsius by 2035, due to global warming.
Questions: How can people prepare to cope with heat waves in the future since they will be more common because of the global warming?
The hurricane fighting fleet of airplanes was alerted five days ago and has since then been spraying the ocean surface around Pedro's eye with a mix based on biodegradable oil to slow down the evaporating that feeds the hurricane. Even though progress have been made calculating the development of a hurricane, it is still difficult to determine the exact effect of the spraying, but analysts believe it is the reason that the wind speed has not increased.
It is hard to tell exactly what kind of damages a category five hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale could do to the southern part of Florida. Estimations show that the difference between a category four and five hurricane could equal 10% of the damages, which if Pedro was in a bad mood, could be about US$ 17 billion. If these estimations are correct, the much debated investment in the hurricane fighting fleet was well worth it.
The taming of Pedro gives good hope for the future since the number of hurricanes has increased during the last 30 years, mainly because of the global warming. Hurricanes need a water temperature of at least 27 degrees Celsius which has become more common during this period.
Argument: According to Ross N. Hoffman, Vice President of Atmospheric and Environmental Research, it is possible to control hurricanes, by coating the ocean surface with a thin film of a biodegradable oil that slows evaporation. The estimated cost is based on the damage that the hurricane Andrew caused in Florida in 1992, in the value of year 2040.
Questions: Are there other ways to control hurricanes? How well will future computer power and software help us in calculating the weather in general and hurricanes in particular?
It has been debated for a long time, but with the blessing of major psychological associations, the developing of artificial intelligence, and automated speech (both to recognize to, and from), the government backed free automated therapist has opened her clinic. She has basically got all the knowledge there is about psychotherapy and the human mind, and can guide the patient through the same steps as a professional therapist. Everything the patient says gets calculated in a way to get the proper response, which she of course does as fast as any human.
The system is so advanced that in a blind test that involved 1,400 people no one could tell the difference between the automated therapist and a professional one after a 30 minute session. The therapist is not only prepared to handle basically all kind of questions, but can also tell if a person is lying in the way he talks, and can also ask the person to seek further help if necessary, and in what way.
To get in touch with your personal therapist, you just call the main number where she answers (you can choose if you want to talk to a woman or a man). Your therapist asks you how you are today and the session begins. Everything you say gets recorded so your therapist knows about you next time you call, and can then directly continue where you left off last time. All conversations are also anonymous recorded for the knowledge base of human behavior, for the therapist to develop.
Will this mean that traditional therapists should start looking for new jobs? Probably not. Humans do need humans, especially in times of need. Although the automated therapist has all the knowledge needed and the ability to adjust, she is not in three dimensions for real. In the future she might at least be in two dimensions since they are developing an animated version for a screen appearance.
Argument: Artificial intelligence will develop during year 2020-2030 and by then the computers are at the same level as the human brain. We can then communicate with automated people that understand what we say and can give a proper response. One way to use this could be for people who are in need of talking to someone, either as a friend or to guide in therapy.
Questions: Will it be possible to make a computer understand the human mind as a human does, or even better? What legal aspects would there be for a solution like the automated therapist? In what other way can artificial intelligence be used?
The opening is promised to present "the richness and flavors that Nigeria and Africa have to offer". The big happening during the opening will be the 16 meters high 3-D projected Nigerian dancers that will swing across the field, accompanied by thousands human ones. They also promise a couple of special surprises for the opening party.
As any major sports event this has also been preceded by the questions of doping and the way to fight it, but we can only hope that these games will be as clean as possible. No more sports have been added for these Olympics, so the newest ones are still climbing and windsurfing.
The closing of the games will be on September 30, the day before Nigeria celebrates 80 years as an independent nation.
Argument: Africa is still the only continent (except Antarctica) that hasn't hosted the Olympic Games but will most likely do so for the first time around year 2024 or 2028. The African countries that have the best chances in getting the Olympics are South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco and Kenya. If the first African Olympics become a success there will most likely follow another one on the continent soon after.
Questions: The most countries that have hosted the summer Olympics have already been established tourist destinations for people from Europe and the US. Will the Olympics in the African countries inspire to a wave of tourists? In what other way will hosting of major sports event, like the World Cup in Soccer year 2010 to be held in South Africa, affect Africa?
It consists of four 2-meter pillars, to set up so they form a square of about 4 square meters. Anything within the box (preferably you) is scanned in three dimensions, and can easily be projected in another box with the same setup. The great thing is that you can have someone else projected in the same box where you are, at the same time as you are projected in that person's box. In that way you can truly communicate with each other from different parts of the world.
In the pillars there are 3-D scanners as well as 3-D projectors. They are wireless connected to your computer where you have specific software that connects with the person that you would like, that have the same software and 3-D box as you. With the microphone and speakers that goes with the installation you can easily talk to the other person when he or she is projected in front of you.
In the future the manufacturer intends to provide a three-party connection, so people from three Telebeamers can meet. They are also developing game versions where you for instance can play table tennis together with a projected ping-pong ball. Even though an installation is a bit bulky they hope that a shuttle can bring a Telebeamer to Starbright Hotel on the moon, so the guests there can get a visit from home.
Even if it sounds cool, don't expect that this will be the Christmas present of the year. First you need two of them to have someone to communicate with, and secondly, they cost US$ 12,900 each, so they are mainly for businesses.
Argument: Even though videophone has not been interesting enough for the mass market so far, there is a great interest in interacting in people elsewhere. The developing in 3-D scanning and 3-D projection makes the Telebeamer possible, and by year 2035 Internet will be so fast that it can handle a well projected, well updated, 3-D experience.
Questions: Will a product like the Telebeamer be interesting for the home market? Will there be other ways to interact with each other from distant locations in the future?
Patrick has now two years of training ahead of him to get ready for the trip. Not only will he spend five months in getting to Mars, but another 600 days there before he can go back home. Patrick was of course very excited: "This has been my dream since I was four, and seeing the first man on Mars 20 years ago made me realize that it was possible."
To be able to pay the US$ 1.3 billion for his ticket for the trip Patrick sold his majority stake in the business empire his father had built. "I know that my father would have been proud of me if he had still been alive today, he knew what this means to me", says Patrick. There is no risk though that you will find Patrick begging in your street corner when he comes back, rumors says that he was paid twice as much for his part of the company.
So, how is he going to spend his 600 days on the red planet? "Well, since I don't have a job when I get back after selling the company, I have plenty of time to come up with a new business idea", he says and laughs. If he brings a shovel he can start building the first hotel there, but maybe he shouldn't expect too many guests until someone can offer a lower transfer fare.
Argument: Several organizations plan to put the first man on Mars by year 2030 and the developing of space tourism during the next decades will give the possibility of bringing "tourists" to Mars. According to Nasa the most likely way to go will be a "Long-Stay Mission (fast transit)" with 4-6 months to get there and a 600 days stay before returning.
Questions: What possibilities will occur due to the exploration of Mars this century? Will Mars become a tourist destination in the future although you have to stay for 600 days before you can return to earth?
Due to the lack of demand for cash and the development of smartcards, the decision was taken five years ago to remove all euro banknotes and coins from the market. The major information campaigns and exposure in the media has given a great result, collecting more than 99,96% of the cash in circulation.
The euro was established as a unit of exchange in 1999 by 12 European Union member states and entered circulation in 2002. After only 38 years on the market you will in the future only be able to see them in a museum.
Argument: Bank of England cut the number of banknotes issued by 25 per cent between year 2001 and 2005. Due to the increase of e-commerce and the development of smartcards, the need for cash will continue to decrease, and finally be removed in year 2040.
Questions: What complications might occur if you remove banknotes and coins from a market? What necessary steps have to be taken to make it possible to take them out of circulation?
This was Demeke's third victory in a major marathon of only five starts and he was of course very happy: "I knew I had the race with two kilometers left, but I wasn't sure to break the record, it's incredible!" The temperature was ideal, increasing from ten degrees Celsius at the start to 17 at the finish.
Demeke was helped by the tough pace set by South African Peter Radebe, who opened the first half in 60:12 minutes, but finished second on personal best 2:00:32. "I wasn't that worried since I felt very strong today and had decided to do my own race from the start", said Demeke and commended Peter for a great race.
Both Peter and Demeke beat the previous record set in Rotterdam Marathon three years ago of 2:00:54. The Marathon world record has progressed from the Australian Derek Clayton to be the first under 2:10 in 1969, and Paul Tergat from Kenya to go under 2:05 in 2003, to now be under two hours.
Argument: According to the study Mathematical analysis of running performance and world running records by Francois Peronnet and Guy Thibault, the Marathon world record will be under two hours in year 2030.
Questions: Humans can't improve world records indefinitely, and according to Peronnet and Thibault it is physical impossible for a man to run a marathon faster than 1:48:25. What will happen to world record sports when we get close to the ultimate limit?
Based on new development in microbiology the toothwash was seen as a revolution when introduced, preventing the dental caries from even getting established. Now people only wash their teeth once a day instead of the previous recommendation of brushing the teeth two times a day and flossing. The most popular kind of toothwash is the one including tooth whitening.
The result from the toothwash was stunning, when used as recommended reduced the prevalence of dental caries by up to 50% compared to tooth paste. Barry Fair, a practicing dentist from Lansdale, Pennsylvania gives an explanation of the slow transition to toothwash although the exceptional result: “We recommend people to use the toothwash instead, but people in general are used to brush their teeth with paste and as long as they don’t have any major problems they continue with that. Families with small children are the easiest one to convert to toothwash." The 20% higher price for toothwash for the daily use is most likely playing a role too.
Toothpaste was the king in the dental care shelf of the grocery stores for almost a century, after people gave up on tooth powder about the same time as fluoride was added to tooth paste. Even though suggested by dentists, floss never really made it through to the US public. Only about 50% of the population flossed regularly and 10-15% on daily basis according to surveys at the time.
As of year 2024 there were 185,600 professionally active dentists in the US, compared to 175,700 dentists 20 years ago. There has been a greater demand for dentists with a growing and aging population, but in the same time technological and biological developments have made dentistry more efficient. The need for a regrowth of dentists has been steady though since 50,000 dentists have gone in to retirement over the last two decades.
“Due to the praise of toothwash when introduced in the market, and the way it was marketed as doing wonders, I think people in general relied to much on it. The result was that in some cases people just washed their teeth once a week and that definitely gives you poor result”, Barry Fair says. “I’m not worried about looking for a new job in the future because at least when it come to caries, there will be enough to do as long as people don’t wash their teeth properly at least once a day, and don’t eat too many times between the regular meals.”
Argument: The development in microbiology will give more efficient products in dental care with better protection and easier maintenance. The numbers given of flossing and current dentists in the US comes from the American Dental Association.
Questions: Will it be possible to include the necessary preventing substances in the food that we eat, so we don’t have to think about dental care? What can other inventions in dental care result in?
If you haven’t seen the show yet, it takes place in an ancient castle where eight people should solve different tasks while constantly conversing with Arnold. The contestants should try to convince or fool Arnold to believe certain facts about them. The viewers can take part during the show to tell if a person is lying or not, and also find out how Arnold is reasoning.
The four worst liars spotted by Arnold from each show have to leave and is replaced by the four best lying-spotting viewers who are flown in to the show the following week, giving their best shot to fool Arnold. More than 32 million people was reported to watch the show live this Saturday and of them 5 million took part in figuring out the lying scheme.
The extraordinary prize amount is sponsored by the consortium of companies behind the Arnold technology. They are hoping that the publicity around the show will give them a good return on their investment, when aiming towards the media market to make different Arnolds host radio and TV shows.
But they are playing a somewhat dangerous game putting more than the money on the line. What happens if Arnold is not able to spot the liars? Then there wouldn’t be much of interest in Arnold. It is a bit to early to say after just one show, but hopefully they have done their homework testing Arnold before they went all in.
Arnold is of course analyzing the response from the public and with 5 million opinions of who is lying and when this Saturday, Arnold got a pretty good input for one day’s work. This regular weekly input and the evaluation of it is a guarantee for Arnold to not make a fool of himself in the show.
Several parent groups have protested in various media before the premiere of the show. They object to the connection between such a high reward and the fact that you win it by being the best liar. They are afraid that kids should start the game with each other and in a more extended way accept lying in their daily communication.
The producers behind the show defend it with that the task for Arnold, as well as the viewers, is to spot the liars. If people get better in spotting liars, there will be less room for lying, which would result in the opposite effect.
Argument: Artificial intelligence will develop rapidly during year 2020-2030 and by then the computers are at the same level as the human brain. The communication with that intelligence can then be used for entertainment to create new TV show formats. Even though all TV shows will be available whenever you would like to watch them in year 2035, there will still be live shows like “Fooling Arnold” where the viewers can participate in the show from home.
Questions: What other new TV formats can be considered based on artificial intelligence or new technologies? What other new entertainment channels can become available with this new technology?
The life expectancy rate at birth is currently about 82 years in the US, up from 78 years in 2005. But even though the life expectancy rate at birth has increased significantly, the life expectancy for seniors hasn’t improved that much. Basically, you have a greater chance to become senior, but you will not have a much longer lifespan, and this is where the anti-aging drugs intend to kick in.
Life extension came to public knowledge in the beginning of the 1980s and has mainly been based on a couple of different preventive methods. Calorie restriction combined with an in general healthy diet, and nutritional supplementation with for instance antioxidant supplements like vitamins.
Then there are a lot of other methods related to extending life, like replacing organs and repairing damaged tissues, and for instance the development in regeneration that makes parts of your body grow back. These methods though are still mainly available to people in general health care. A good bet to live longer is still to keep up a healthy lifestyle with less stress, plenty of physical exercise and proper diet.
I sat down with Stella Eggen from Sedalia, Missouri on her 103rd birthday last week. Stella is a virile woman with lively eyes and a crisp mind. She had to give up playing tennis at the age of 91 because her eight year younger tennis partner couldn’t keep up the pace.
Stella is born on the same day in 1932 as George Eastman, the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company and inventor of roll film, committed suicide at the age of 77. George ended his life to avoid a battle with spinal stenosis, a medical condition that occurs with aging (he left a suicide note that read: “My work is done. Why wait?”).
I asked Stella if she had heard about the life extension drugs. “Of course I’ve heard of them, people keep reminding me all the time, even though they know that the drugs will not have any effect on me. I am too old”, she says with a smile.
But if they had been available earlier would she have been interesting in taken them? “I don’t know. I’m pretty satisfied with the life I’ve had but of course I wouldn’t mind to stay around for another decade. But taking drugs regularly for half my life to make that extra decade, I probably could have spent my money on better things.”
“My grandson got one of these space trips for Christmas. He says he has become an entirely new person after he got out in space for thirty minutes, looking down on Earth. I think that prolonged his life more than any drugs could. If I only could pass the physics test I would have liked to join.”
Apart from the space trip, if she could live her life all over what would she then do differently? “You can always regret things that you didn’t do more, but one shouldn’t dig to deep into that. But I wish I had made more true friends, and taken more chances, not worrying about a lot of stupid things, and eaten more ice cream, I love ice cream.” Then she slowly leans towards me “...and had more sex of course”, she whispers giggling.
So, do the anti-aging drugs work? Well, it is way too early to tell. The sales so far clearly show that people at least are willing to give it a try, and with the annual cost of US$1,300 per person, the companies behind the dream are making good money.
It will take about 30 to 40 more years for the study groups to reach the age where the researchers can give some sort of definite answer about the final effect, if they ever will. During this time new drugs will hit the market and have the same time span to give a proper result. So if you should take the drugs or not, and which drug you should take, will during your lifetime (whether you succeed to extend it or not) be up to your own belief.
Until then you can enjoy your life more if you go on a space trip, don’t stress, stop worrying, take more chances and have more, yes you know what I mean...ice cream, of course.
Argument: The numbers of the current US life expectancy rate at birth comes from the National Center for Health Statistics. The future of anti-aging drugs are based on several sources, for instance the article “Resveratrol may slow aging” from Fortune Magazine. Information about George Eastman can be found at Wikipedia.
Questions: What other developments in the near future can prolong human life? Should there be any limits for what actions that could be taken to extend human life?