People are living longer. How far can we push back death?

What's to come?
Nov. 15 2010 7:11 AM

The Retreat of the Grim Reaper

People are living longer. How far can we push back death?

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This piece arises from Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, the New America Foundation, and Slate. A Future Tense conference on life extension will be held at the New America Foundation on Tuesday, Nov. 16. (For more information and to sign up for the event, please visit the NAF Web site.) Read more of Slate's coverage on longevity.

William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

Click here to launch a slideshow on human longevity.

Like everybody before you, you're going to die. But thanks to modern medicine and health practices, you'll probably live much longer than your ancestors did. On average, at age 50, you have more years of life ahead of you than your great-grandparents had at age 40. Not just more years of decline, but more years of health. And these changes in life and health expectancy aren't just happening in rich countries. They're transforming the world.

This week, Slate, the New American Foundation, and Arizona State University are sponsoring a conference on the future of life extension and its global ramifications: economic, social, and political. To convey the magnitude of past and projected changes in human longevity, we've compiled data from the United States, Europe, and the developing world. For a look at the trends and where they're taking us, click the launch module above.

Click here to view a slide show on the "New Old World."

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