By 2050 there will be over 2 billion persons over the age of 60. Colin Farrelly is a political philosopher who has published 2 books and over 30 academic journal articles on the ethical and social significance of the “genetic revolution”. Farrelly characterizes the story of the aging of the human species as the story of the 3 “S’s”- (1) Success, (2) Significant Challenge and (3) Science. First, global aging is a SUCCESS story. Historically, life expectancy at birth for humanity did not exceed age 30, due to high rates of early and mid-life mortality. Life really was, as Thomas Hobbes eloquently phrased things, “nasty, brutish and short”. Today life expectancy is age 72, and will rise to 81 by the year 2100. The second story of global aging is the SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE of promoting health in a world where the chronic diseases of late life are prevalent. As we get older our risks for multi-morbidity increase. Never before in our history has the inborn aging process itself posed a significant health threat to human populations. The third, and final, chapter in the story of global aging is the story of the SCIENCE and innovation needed to ensure we increase the human healthspan and compress the period of frailty, disability and disease at the end of life. This is most likely to come from an applied gerontological intervention that targets the most significant risk factor for all chronic diseases- aging itself.
Continue the conversation with Colin and TEDxQueensU @ Colin Farrelly is Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University. He has also held academic appointments at UCLA, Oxford University, Waterloo University, Manchester University, Birmingham University and the University of Waterloo. In the fall of 2018 Colin was the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in the Social Sciences at the University of Hawaii.
Colin is the author and editor of 6 books and approximately 50 journal articles in political science, philosophy, law, science and medicine. Most of his research focuses on the ethical and social implications of the genetic revolution (especially altering human aging). His recent books include Biologically Modified Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and Genetic Ethics: An Introduction (Polity Books in 2018).
Colin is also involved in volunteer initiatives to teach political philosophy and ethics to both inmates and children. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at x