Our Ever Increasing Longevity, and The Technologies that Made It Happen

Posted on 28 May 2020

For most of recorded human history, life expectancy has hovered in the 30-40 year range, in large part due to infant mortality rates – in many historical societies, only 50% reached adulthood. Over the last century in particular, we have seen a massive increase in life expectancy – the average person today can expect to live over twice as long as their ancestors 100 years ago.

Worldwide Life Expectancy Growth, Created by Peter Diamandis

How did we achieve this unprecedented increase in lifespan? Most will be aware of some of the major breakthroughs such as improved sanitation, vaccination and antibiotics. However, it is interesting to see the relative contributions of these advances. The graphic below estimates how many lives have been saved by fifty different innovations since 1850. These technologies include blood transfusion, the process of pasteurization, antibiotics, the green revolution, synthetic fertilizers, and a lot more.

The 50 Most Important Life-Saving Breakthroughs in History
Desjardins, J. (2018). The 50 Most Important Life-Saving Breakthroughs in History. Retrieved 28 May 2020, from https://www.visualcapitalist.com/50-important-life-saving-breakthroughs-history/

With the aid of next generation biotechnology, genetics, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence we hope to further improve human health and longevity beyond 150-years.


Mortality in the past – around half died as children: https://ourworldindata.org/child-mortality-in-the-past

The 50 Most Important Life-Saving Breakthroughs in History: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/50-important-life-saving-breakthroughs-history/

One day, humans could live to 150 years or beyond, according to new study: https://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/humans-could-live-150-years-or-beyond-one-day-according-new-study

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