Didier Coeurnelle is co-chair of Heales (Healthy Life Extension Society), which publishes a monthly newsletter of information: “La mort de la mort” (The Death of the Death) and organizes international conferences. He is spokesman of the French association Technoprog, which aims to “spread the themes and questions related to technologies that could extend and enhance the lives of individuals and of humankind”. He is also a member of the board of the International Longevity Alliance, an active member of the social and environmental movement and a jurist.
He published two books :
Et si on arrêtait de vieillir ! : Réalité, enjeux et perspectives d’une vie en bonne santé beaucoup plus longue (2013)
Technoprog. Le transhumanisme au service du progrès social. With Marc Roux (2016)
More information +32 489 43 55 94, heales.org, technoprg.org and longevityalliance.org
Making Longevity Scientifically and Ethically Mainstream or Die Trying
Background: Diseases related to old age are responsible for 90% of deaths in Western countries and 70 % of deaths worldwide. Heales raises awareness of new developments in the area of biogerontolgy. We also promote and support anti-aging research. Every day 100,000 people die of the effects of old age. Aging doesn’t just cause innumerable deaths, it is also the source of many debilitating illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, muscle wasting, decline of vision and hearing, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, …
Objectives The only way to prevent these illnesses linked to aging is to attack the root cause – that is aging itself. It is time to start working towards solutions to this universal human tragedy.
Methods: A longer and healthier life is enjoyed by the citizens who can benefit from it. Longevity is one of the most important scientific questions of the next decades. It is potentially useful for a sustainable environment, for a peaceful society, for the level of well-being in the society.
How to inform scientists and stakeholders about longevity prospects? It has to be done with an optimistic, but realistic description of the current scientific research and explaining the long-term prospective. It is necessary to compare common aspects of the ideas of the mainstream stakeholders and the general public to the objectives of “longevists”.
The potential policy implications in a world where people can live a much longer and healthier life thanks to medical progress are:
Environmental aspects. In a world where people know that they have the possibility to live a much longer life, they will tend to be more careful with their environment. A sustainable world is easier to establish when people do have more sustainable bodies.
Questions related to non-violence. When people live longer (and die less), human life in general becomes more precious. People advancing in age have more experience and can more easily use non-violence to solve their conflicts.
Objectives of equality and equity. On the long-term, most societies favor more equality. We have nowadays more equality between social groups, between genders, between cultural groups. One of the biggest subsisting differences is related to sensecence. With medical progress towards longevity, and maybe some day towards “amortality”, we work for a policy with much more equality whatever the age.
Priority for the weakest/oldest/frailest. The first goal of politics could be and should be to protect the weakest. Without medical progress, many efforts to protect the oldest people are in vain. A policy who cares for old people without a goal to slow down or reverse aging is costly and not useful enough. The best policy to improve the weakest people of the society is to fight senescence through medical research.
Other ethical questions:The implications of the links between powerful IT companies, artificial intelligence and research in the field of health care for people advancing in age will be also approached.
The last part of the presentation is related to the difficulty of proposing long term goals to ethicists and to public institutions. Should the State subsidize life extension? Can we consider scientific research for a longer life as a moral obligation or a duty to rescue
Results and Conclusions: Come up with long term ethical and scientific visions for longevity and propose a “Moonshot longevist vision”.