Life extension

Life extension, broadly defined, is the cause that works to further advances in biomedical treatments, specifically those related to aging. Below, we outline the importance, tractability, and neglectedness of life extension, in line with our general questions for causes.

Anti-aging may be more relevant, as it incorporates the decrease in healthspan seen in age that’s relevant for reasons beyond life/longevity extension (e.g. fluid intelligence decline with age)


Do we want to lose someone like Elon Musk or Edward O. Wilson?

For raw estimates of impact, see the importance of life extension.

Objections and counter-objections

Main article: Arguments against life extension

Given that a variety of criticisms have been put forth against life extension, it is important consider whether life extension is even a cause with positive outcomes. A variety of counter-objections, also known as Keyhole solutions, are also explored; this is especially important because preventing life extension may be impossible. These issues are explored in the following:

  • Life extension and overpopulation considers the argument that if people stop dying, the world will become overpopulated, leading to some sort of disaster.
  • Life extension and stagnation considers the argument that if old people don’t die, they will stay in power, be a majority, stop human evolution, etc., so that society will become stagnant.
  • Distribution of life extension treatments considers the argument that when life extension treatments become available, they will only be affordable for the rich, leading to e.g. ethical problems.


Main article: Tractability of life extension


Main article: Neglectedness of life extension

Potential actions



Sean Parker donated $600 million to launch the Parker Foundation, which focuses on three areas: Life Sciences, Global Public Health, and Civic Engagement and donated $250 million to create the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

The Open Philanthropy Project also made some donations in this space.

Jim Mellon




Discussion group

Popular opinion

Aubrey de Grey says that very few people think aging is feasible and undesirable, and so someone that think it’s undesirable and unfeasible updates on the feasibility of it, they would also be likely to update on the desirability of it (source: 5:45 Longevity Myth Busting - Aubrey de Grey).


External links