X-Message-Number: 1039
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 92 18:38:48 EDT
Subject: CRYONICS maximum life expectancy

A comment on 0016 - "Misadventure as a Cause of Death in an Immortal
Population" by Hugh Hixon

>     Death rate varies with age.  The two major factors seem to be
>experience and infirmity.  The older we get, the more experienced we are
>at avoiding accidents; and the older we get, the slower we get at
>avoiding accidents.  The curve bottoms out at the 40-44 year age group.
>I will also use that age group for the homicide figures, even though the
>minimum is in the 70-74 year age group, on the grounds that at that age,
>who's *doing* anything that would make it worthwhile to kill them.  I
>also ignore the lower death rates for children and teenagers.  They're
>not out in the real world, yet, and besides which, we're only *that*
>young once.  And the number is, . . . 41.9 deaths per 100,000 in the
>white population (64.9 for males, 19.5 for females.  I do not wish to
>predict the future distribution of women into more hazardous
>occupations, or the appearance or disappearance of more or less
>hazardous occupations).  Which gives us a *half-life* for our population
>of 1654 years.

Agreed.  I think that this is a good way to get a lower bound on a
life expectancy given near perfect medicine.

>     Estimating the rate on this kind of homicide is very difficult.  I
>do not believe that, in any society with competitive forces, homicide
>will disappear.  It certainly will get less common.  So I will grab a
>figure out of the air, more or less, and say that the sum of truly
>permanent fatal accidents and homicides will be *one* per 100,000
>population per year (the aggregate figure (male and female) for white
>homicides is 8.9 in the 40-44 year age block.).  This gives a population
>half-life of *69,315* years.  However, anyone who quotes this figure
>without including a statement of its very speculative nature is on their

I agree that it is very difficult to estimate the future rate of
homicide.  I disagree with the prediction that the rate will drop.  Is
there a specific consequence of improved technology or medicine that
implies that the rate should drop?  Admittedly improved medicine would
permit reviving more victims of current homicides, but I would just
expect that in a future homicide the perpetrator would be motivated to
ensure that their victim was dead in the information-theoretic sense,
rather than just in the clinical sense.

I look at the rate of successful homicide as something like an arms race
problem.  Does improved technology, particularly nanotechnology, favor
the offense or the defense?  I see this as an open issue (it has sparked
a good deal on discussion in sci.nanotech).  If I take a naive point of
view and assume that the rate of successful homicide stays at about what
it is today, we get a half life of about 10,000 years (from U.S. average
homicide rate, if you live elsewhere your half-life is probably longer).

                                   -Jeffrey Soreff

standard disclaimer: I do not speak for my employer.

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