What if there was the possibility of living (almost) eternally? It may seem pure fantasy, but, for now, life smiles at us in the form of longevity. We live better and life expectancy grows. In 2050, 16% of the population will be over 65, compared to the current 9%. By regions, Europe and North America will be well above this average with 25% of its population, according to the latest United Nations data. The European Commission (EC), for its part, predicts that the age group that will grow the most in the coming years will be that of those over 80. A panorama governed by the generation awaits us grayry.
This social mega-trend is very striking for very diverse fields. “It's happening around us. Companies are developing innovative solutions to capture the attention of older consumers. Older people also need a wide range of services and support to maintain their lifestyle, ”adds Damien Ng, Next Generation Research Analyst at Julius Baer. According to the Global Industry Analysts, the anti-aging industry generates more than 80 billion dollars per year. And this industry is also expanding the focus towards the desired immortality.
The elderly are an asset
“Aging is not just about reaching a particular number in old age. It is also to achieve a better personal well-being and happiness that allows us to even prosper. That's where longevity can become an opportunity for investors, ”says the expert of Julius Baer, Swiss entity specializing in private banking. For him, longevity can be a positive phenomenon rather than the vision of demographic bomb associated with this population group. The elderly are also an economic asset to consider.
But if we achieve immortality, we would not want to end up looking as pitiful as the immortal beings of Gulliver's travels. The goal is to achieve an ideal youth, taking advantage of all the advances that some brilliant minds are determined to promote. In that sense, Silicon Valley is a hotbed of ideas that seek to prolong human life and stand up to the effects of the passage of time on our health. Several biotechnology companies are dedicated to the "extension of life" or to solve the "problem of death."
There are many projects in Silicon Valley that seek to prolong human life and stand up to aging.
Dodge one's own death
This cause is defended by people like Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, who has come to affirm that thanks to the scientific advances in which he is investing he will live 120 years. The creator of Oracle is not far behind. Larry Ellison has come to donate more than 430 million dollars to investigate aging. His intention is to dodge his own death. In 2013, Google co-founder Larry Page created Calico, a company that investigates aging and its associated diseases. Also in the enterprising Californian valley is Human Longevity, founded by the genomics pioneer, Craig Venter.
Some scientific gurus like Aubrey de Gray argue that aging is simply a disease, and that it is curable. For the Cambridge researcher, we humans age in seven basic ways and all of them can be avoided. Technology has already begun to put at the service of science solutions that allow us to prolong our existence. This is the case of bioprinting, which produces artificial replicas of tissues and organs. But the road to that supposed immortality is coming long: many investigations and financing are still necessary.
Meanwhile, the economy of aging is consolidated. The call silver economy moved 3.7 billion euros in 2015 and could reach 5.7 billion in 2025. The analyst of Julius Baer, Damien Ng, highlights star sectors "such as health, elderly care, leisure and tourism, consumer goods and financial planning." In addition, medical care and costs for neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases will continue to grow, as “insurance companies will give us more solutions to our little habit of saving for retirement”. A scenario that would change completely from reaching a long-awaited and healthy eternal life.