Musings on aging in the digital age

Was reading the great op-ed on turning 80 that Oliver Sacks wrote in the New York Times recently, on the joys of aging, which got me thinking about what aging will be like for my generation and the generations to come. Judging from Mr Sacks’ experience, 80 is clearly the new 50 – healthy enough and with enough wisdom compiled over the years to feel content.

Hopefully, in the decade in which I’ll turn 80, the 2050’s (it sounds fascinatingly futuristic to assign to decades yet to come the -ies endings we are so used to seeing for past decades filled with a personality of their own like the roaring 20’s, or the neon 80’s), enough of today’s trends (the beneficial ones) will have come to pass that our lives will be quite different than those of 80-year old today, and yesterday.

I remember the generation of my grandparents sitting in their 80’s and 90’s and being incapable of doing much at all. As for me on the other hand, in the 2050’s, I’m hoping that the wearables and computer miniaturization trend will have come so far that I will have Internet not only on my glasses (which is so 2010’s), but directly linked into my brain. Content will be ubiquitous, as it almost is already, and neuroscience will have progressed to the point where I can search my brain like a Google Drive, which means I can relive any memory in full HD (10800 by then, at least) just thinking about it.

Organs will be 3D-printed in one’s house, with robots that can perform simple surgery, which means that our life quality should be much improved. Digestible computers should be able to alarm our doctor in case any of our critical values change, and can release medicine appropriately automatically.

Well. It’s either that, or some of the less positive trends come to pass and we’ll end up regressing. With or without the technology, we’ll always have the wisdom.


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