The average life expectancy (LE) in 1900 was 47 years of age. In 2008, the average LE in the US was 80 years, and in 2021, the average LE is 79 years. Life expectancy in the US differs by sex and race. Women live about 5 years longer than men, and whites live about 4 years longer than African-Americans.
At the population level, increased life expectancy has been attributed to two major factors related to technology. Public health measures such as vaccinations and water treatment have added 25-30 years to our life expectancy while medical advances have added about 5 years. These measures have significantly reduced the incidence of infant mortality and allowed people to be healthier well into their 70’s, 80’s and beyond. In fact, some researchers, like biogerontologist Aubrey de Gray, are actively seeking ways to extend life indefinitely.
After reviewing this week’s learning resources, respond to the following questions:
- How has health technology contributed to longevity?
- What are the economic, sociological, psychological, and healthcare implications of an aging population that could live indefinitely?
- What is the cautionary tale about technology and aging that is told by Vonnegut’s short story, “The Big Trip Up Yonder?”
- How long do you think we should live? Should we live indefinitely or should there be limits? Justify your response.
Remember to use your own words, using your best writing skills, cite your sources, and provide a reference list.