International Futures: impact of decelerated or abolished aging on human demographic change - Randall Kuhn

Video Overview

In spite of rapid and even accelerating progress in extending longevity and delaying the effects of aging, few existing forecasts have explored the potential consequences of dramatic reductions in mortality on demographic and socioeconomic outcomes. This presentation describes the early results from a forecast of extreme longevity scenarios using an integrated, country-level, long-range International Futures (IFs) forecasting system. We describe the extensions we have made to the IFs, the scenario-building process, and preliminary findings.

We compare three longevity scenarios: i) a base-case conforming to typical UN/OECD expectations of a maximum population-level life expectancy in 2100 of about 94 with a persistent burden of morbidity; ii) a delayed senescence scenario in which the existing mortality curves are pushed back by 20 years, yielding a maximum life expectancy of about 110 and an accumulating burden of morbidity at oldest ages; and iii) a regenerative scenario in which age-specific mortality and morbidity rates approach zero for all ages. We also explore uncertainty in the pace of cross-country diffusion of longevity interventions. Finally, we address the potential consequences of regenerative medicine for restored fecundity; we develop hypothetical fertility functions and model their impacts.

We will explore each scenario in two steps. We first describe the world that might emerge if the first-order “mechanical” effects of declining mortality, declining morbidity, and rising fecundity were not met with policy change. We next explore some of the policy changes that might be needed to accommodate a new human physiological regime.