All posts tagged prizes

Social Security was created based on the premise that people of certain ages are unable to support themselves due to poor and declining health. Yet Aubrey de Grey has made a fairly strong argument that this bad health can be cured (see Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence), so that the elderly will be as healthy as the young.
Since it’s probably inevitable that the government will end up paying for the initial round of anti-aging treatments, why not make government payments for such treatments conditional on the beneficiary leaving the Social Security system? This would probably save the government enough that it would be worthwhile for it to speed the research up by offering a few billion dollars in prizes for people who complete milestones such as extending the lifespans of lab animals.
There’s a good deal of doubt as to how many decades it will take to produce a good enough cure (and some ambiguity as to how good a cure would need to be to qualify). But the a combination of Aubrey de Grey’s arguments and those of Rob Freitas and Eric Drexler suggest that there’s a very good chance that it can be done before Social Security is expected to collapse. And anyone who thinks Congress might turn Social Security into a system that is certain to remain solvent is drastically overestimating the reliability of demographic forecasts and/or the far-sightedness of Congress.