The Longevity Industry is set to become the biggest industry in human history. Besides having immense opportunities for ethical profit, it will also deliver an entirely new and kind of ROI.A guest article by Dmitry Kaminskiy, General Partner of Longevity.Capital and Deep Knowledge Group.
- Longevity will deliver an entirely new and kind of ROI more valuable than money: health as wealth, and additional years of healthy, functional, productive life for both citizens and national economies
- Developed nations now face the oncoming collision of two opposed Longevity MegaTrends: aging population and advancing biomedicine. Whether they stagnate or prosper when this collision hits depends entirely on how proactively and progressively they act today.
- The Longevity industry has the potential to transform the challenge and deficit of aging into the opportunity and asset of Healthy Longevity, turning a source of stagnation into a thriving wellspring of growth, prosperity and stability.
- However, being located at the intersection of the most advanced domains of science, technology, medicine, finance and governance in human history, it possesses unprecedented levels of complexity and multidimensionality, necessitating entirely new methods of industry analytics, benchmarking, forecasting and investing in order to leverage and manifest its opportunities and neutralize its risks.
Longevity Industrialization: Unprecedented Challenge and Revolutionary Opportunity
The demographic challenge of an aging population, though unavoidable, is not insurmountable. And, more importantly, if addressed in a strategic and proactive manner, this challenge can be transformed into the greatest opportunity humanity has ever faced. Governments, health services, businesses, technology, medicine and financial institutions can and must adapt in order to create an opportunity for growth and prosperity (Healthy Longevity) out of the possibility of stagnation and loss (aging population). And there are already signs that this is happening.
In medicine, for example, partly in response to the growing gap between life expectancy and HALE, a paradigm shift is slowly occurring, from a treatment-based system to a personalized, precise, patient-participatory, and prevention-based system (known as “P4”). Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a major role in obtaining this degree of precision.
In medicine partly in response to the growing gap between life expectancy and Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy, a paradigm shift is slowly occurring, from a treatment-focused system to a personalized, precise, patient-participatory, and prevention-based system (known as “P4”). Artificial intelligence will play a major role in obtaining this degree of precision.
Then there is the development of the AgeTech market: personal devices designed to help the elderly to improve their health and quality of life; the various possible innovations in finance to make life easier and more financially secure for the elderly; and various government initiatives around the world, ranging from investment in biotechnologies to continued education for the elderly and WHO-certified ‘AgeFriendly Cities’.
But what is required is coordinated action. Governments, health services, businesses and financial institutions must respond in a coordinated manner to the silver tsunami. Furthermore, the nation that coordinates this response will be capable of bringing more benefit to humanity than any other industry in history.
Ultimately it is we who will decide whether population growth and increases in life expectancy impact the world in a positive or negative manner. This series of articles aims to offer a brief overview of the technological, political and financial means of taking control of this situation, on an industrial scale.
The Collision of Two Opposed MegaTrends: Aging Population and Advanced Biomedicine
This series of articles, “Defining the Longevity Industry” explores the current state and prospects of the highly complex, multidimensional, nascent but rapidly expanding industry that has the power to transform a source of stagnation and economic loss into a source of new health, wealth and prosperity. It will explain how and why the Longevity industry will be the biggest and most complex industry of all time, as well as the most ethical, with more potential to benefit society in all of human history.
At its core, this paradigm shift is about the looming opposition of two opposed MegaTrends: population aging and advanced biomedicine.
It is no secret that, for some time, the median age of populations of many countries in the world are rising, in some cases slowly, in many cases rapidly. This phenomenon has been taking place over the past century or so, to varying degrees, in nearly every country in the developed world – including Western and Eastern Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, and Japan and South Korea – and some in the developing world, including China, India, and most countries in South America.
The Silver Tsunami brings with it many serious societal and economic challenges, but, as this series of articles argues, human will and ingenuity can refashion these challenges into opportunities. The social and economic ill consequences of an aging population can only be remedied in the long term by ensuring that while the numbers of elderly people increase, there is a corresponding increase in the age at which people remain healthy and productive.
In other words, the increase in Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE), the age up to which people are able to live relatively healthy lives, has to keep pace with the increase in life expectancy, to avoid the widening of the age bracket in which people are alive but unable to work productively, relying on the taxes and economic output of others in order to maintain their health and livelihood.
Developed nations are set to either sink or swim in the face of the oncoming Silver Tsunami, and their success depends on how proactively they deploy broad, well-funded national plans to extend Healthy Longevity and financial reform to neutralize the economic pressures of their aging populations. They have the opportunity to transform the deficit-model of aging into the opportunity and asset-model of Healthy Longevity.
Most developed nations already have the technological means to increase HealthAdjusted Life Expectancy through preventive medicine, advanced biomedicine, socioeconomic policy and lifestyle changes.
There is no great need for the further development of many experimental new technologies or therapies any time soon. What governments really need to do at this stage is simply perform the necessary initial diagnostic analysis via the use of panels of biomarkers of aging, executed on a scale at least in the millions.
The missing element is not biomedicine or biotechnology, but the aggregation and analysis of huge amounts of health data. It is not a medical or biotech problem, but a big data analytics problem. Such government-led projects, if properly implemented, would be the greatest source of developed nation’s health and wealth, and should be considered as a matter of the highest national importance, implemented with the urgency and rigour of the Manhattan Project (the 1939 American nuclear weapons program completed in 6 years) or Apollo Program (program for the world’s first lunar landing completed in 8 years). With the current pace of development of science and technology, these projects could be completed in 5-7 years.
90% of digitized data globally was collected during just the last 2 years, and this rate is only going to increase, and increasing HALE can be largely considered as a data collection.
In Switzerland for example, the state of research into precision medicine procedures is very advanced and yet the fragmented healthcare system makes nationwide coordination and harmonisation of biobanks, electronic clinical information systems and clinical data management infrastructures difficult.
Yet government initiatives are appearing all over the globe that will not only better coordinate technological progress and overcome such barriers to progress, but also directly influence Healthy Longevity, and the probability of living long enough to benefit from advances P4 and regenerative medicine.
These range from the industrial strategies of Britain and Japan, to the elderly care banks of Switzerland, to the places of continued learning for the elderly in China, to the WHO-certified ‘Age-Friendly Cities’ cropping up on every continent.
This situation will only be turned around when Longevity can safely be regarded as an asset again, just as it was historically, back when innovations such as the ability to make it through middle age in good health (with one’s job, health and teeth all intact) was regarded as a self-evident good, socially, economically, and ethically.
Achieving this case of affairs will require serious advances and paradigm shifts in medicine and technology. In fact, it requires a whole new industry, remarkably different than any sector in the history of humanity - the rising Longevity Industry.
***The next several parts of this article will deliver a deeper understanding of the driving forces behind Longevity, and provide a broader overview of the specific industry segments and sectors that comprise the ever-expanding, diversifying and complexifying Global Longevity Industry.
General Partner of Longevity.Capital and Deep Knowledge Group; Co-Author of Longevity Industry 1.0: Defining the Biggest and Most Complex Industry in Human History, Co-Founder of Longevity Swiss Foundation
Head of International Collaboration for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity Secretariat Longevity International UK, Senior Advisor to the Longevity AI Consortium at King’s College London, Managing Trustee of the Biogerontology Research Foundation, Co-Founder of Aging Analytics Agency.