Fighting Aging as an Effective Altruism Cause: A Model of the Impact of the Clinical Trials of Simple Interventions
Abstract: The effective altruism movement aims to save lives in the most cost-effective ways. In the future, technology will allow radical life extension, and anyone who survives until that time will gain potentially indefinite life extension. Fighting aging now increases the number of people who will survive until radical life extension becomes possible. We suggest a simple model, where radical life extension is achieved in 2100, the human population is 10 billion, and life expectancy is increased by simple geroprotectors like metformin by three more years on average, so an additional 250 million people survive until “immortality”. The cost of clinical trials to prove that metformin is a real geroprotector is $60 million. In this simplified case, the price of a life saved is around 24 cents, 10 000 times cheaper than saving a life from malaria by providing bed nets. However, fighting aging should not be done in place of fighting existential risks, as they are complementary causes.
● Aging and death are the main causes of human suffering now.
● Simple interventions could extend human lives until aging is defeated.
● These interventions need to be clinically tested before FDA approval.
● A trial of the life extension drug metformin is delayed by lack of funds.
● Starting trials now will save 250 million people from death, at a cost of $0.24 for each life saved.
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