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Biogerontechnology impact in 2025

In 'U.S. sees six disruptive technologies by 2025,' Computerworld reports that the National Intelligence Council (NIC) is preparing a report about disruptive technologies expected to have a major impact on the world. The NIC defines as disruptive 'a technology with the potential to cause a noticeable -- even if temporary -- degradation or enhancement in one of the elements of US national power (geopolitical, military, economic, or social cohesion).' According to a preliminary version of this report, the list of these disruptive technologies should include biogerontechnology, energy storage materials, biofuels and bio-based chemicals or service robotics. But read more for additional details about biogerontechnology...
Written by Roland Piquepaille, Inactive on

In 'U.S. sees six disruptive technologies by 2025,' Computerworld reports that the National Intelligence Council (NIC) is preparing a report about disruptive technologies expected to have a major impact on the world. The NIC defines as disruptive 'a technology with the potential to cause a noticeable -- even if temporary -- degradation or enhancement in one of the elements of US national power (geopolitical, military, economic, or social cohesion).' According to a preliminary version of this report, the list of these disruptive technologies should include biogerontechnology, energy storage materials, biofuels and bio-based chemicals or service robotics. But read more for more details about biogerontechnology...

Process for selection of disruptive technologies

This 'Global Trends 2025' report will be delivered to the next U.S. president in December 2008. It has been prepared by SRI Consulting Business Intelligence (SRIC-BI) for the National Intelligence Council (NIC). You can see above the process used by SRIC-BI to select these potentially disruptive technologies. (Credit: SRIC-BI/NIC)

The Computerworld article contains several comments made by Thomas Fingar, deputy director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during a speech given this month in Orlando, Florida. Here is what he says about climate change. "By 2025, 'it is not a good time to live in the Southwest because it runs out of water and looks like the Dust Bowl. It is not a good time to be along the Atlantic Seaboard, particularly in the South because of the projected increase and intensity and severity and frequency of severe weather -- more hurricanes, more serious storms, and so forth,' Fingar said."

Now, let's look at a preliminary version of the 'Global Trends 2025' report released online by the NIC in April 2008 under the title "Disruptive Civil Technologies." Here are two links to an a text version and a PDF one (48 pages, 602 KB) of this preliminary report. The illustration above has been extracted from this report.

Of course, this report is very interesting to read -- and some of you will read it in its entirety. But let's focus here on this relatively new concept of biogerontechnology (only 42 references by Google as I'm writing this post). But what is it? "Biogerontechnology offers the means to accomplish control over and improvement in the human condition, and promises improvements in lifespan. The advancement of the science and technology underlying the biological aging process has the potential to not only extend the average natural lifespan, but also to simultaneously postpone many if not all of the costly and disabling conditions that humans experience in later life, thereby creating a longevity dividend that will be economic, social and medical in nature."

Why is this a potential disruptive technology? Here are some answers from the report.

  • The disruptive potential comes in the form of new treatment modalities, shifts in the cost, and resulting allocation and use of health care resources.
  • Nations will be challenged as a result of changing demographic structures, new psychologies, activity patterns of aging yet healthy citizens, and the resulting requirement to formulate new national economic and social policies.

This report -- which is quite long -- gives more details about why biogerontechnology is potentially disruptive. "Since the start the twentieth century, when the average natural lifespan in the United States was 47 years of age, gains in life expectancy have been impressive thanks to a combination of medical interventions, lifestyle choices, and behavior modifications. In 2005, the average human life expectancy in the United States was 78 years, with life expectancy for women approximately five years longer than for men. The US Census Bureau estimates that life expectancy will increase by another six years by 2050. Biogerontechnology, which offers the means to accomplish control over and improvement in the human condition, promises even greater longevity gains. The advancement of the science and technology underlying the biological aging process has the potential to not only extend the average natural lifespan forecasts but also to simultaneously postpone many if not all of the costly and disabling conditions that humans experience in later life, thereby creating a longevity dividend that will be economic, social and medical in nature. The disruptive potential will also come in the form of new treatment modalities, and shifts in the cost, allocation and use of health care resources. Nations will be challenged as a result of the changing demographic structures and new psychologies, behaviors and activity patterns of aging yet healthy citizens and the concomitant need to formulate new national economic and social policies."

For much more information, please read this very instructive report before the final version is delivered to the next U.S. president.

Sources: Patrick Thibodeau, Computerworld, September 10, 2008; and various websites

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