Aging is a problem that ought to be solved, and most Less Wrongers recognize
this. However, few members of the community seem to be aware of the current
state of the anti-aging field, and how close we are to developing effective
anti-aging therapies. As a result, there is a much greater (and in my opinion,
irrational) overemphasis on the Plan B of cryonics for life extension, rather
than Plan A of solving aging. Both are important, but the latter is
under-emphasised despite being a potentially more feasible strategy for life
extension given the potentially high probability that cryonics will not work.
Today, there are over 130 longevity biotechnology companies and over 50
anti-aging drugs in clinical trials in humans. The evidence is promising that in
the next 5-10 years, we will start seeing robust evidence that aging can be
therapeutically slowed or reversed in humans. Whether we live to see anti-aging
therapies to keep us alive indefinitely (i.e. whether we make it to longevity
escape velocity) depends on how much traction and funding the field gets in
In this post, I summarise the state of the art of the anti-aging field (also
known as longevity biotechnology, rejuvenation biotechnology, translational
biogerontology or geroscience). If you feel you already possess the necessary
background on aging, feel free to skip to Part V.
Part I: Why is Aging a problem?
Aging is the biggest killer worldwide, and also the largest source of morbidity.
Aging kills 100,000 people per day; more than twice the sum of all other causes
of death. This equates to 37 million people - a population the size of Canada -
dying per day of aging. In developed countries, 9 out of 10 deaths are due to
Aging also accounts for more than 30% of all disability-adjusted life years lost
(DALYs); more than any other single cause. Deaths due to aging are not usually
quick and painless, but preceded by 10-15 years of chronic illnesses such as
cancer, type 2 diabetes and A