Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Life expectancy for my age cohort

I have just been doing some calculations on my age cohort based on the observed improvements in life expectancy for Australians over the last 20 years. If those improvements are replicated every 20 years over the next century, the median life expectancy of all those aged 40 becomes 127.5, with those people living most of the last 40 years of their lives with a health approximating those in their early 70s today. They would have reached statistical immortality (see a previous post on this) at around age 90. Some of that cohort should live much longer than that, and there is a slim possibility that some of them could be alive hundreds of years from now.

That gives me reason to hope that I might be alive - doddering, perhaps, and dreaming of the past but alive - in the year 2100, an interesting milestone to me because (a) I am human and love nice round numbers and (b) it is a year about which there is much speculation in science fiction novels and roleplaying games (see (a)).

While I am a pessimist regarding climate change, I am also an optimist: while I believe that humans are going to cause a lot of suffering for ourselves and other species over the next century, I think that we as a species will pull through it and have an amazing history to write on our planet, on other locations in the solar system and among the stars. I would like to see more of that history. :)

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