' Joseph Maher | MTTLR

Methuselah’s Third Strike: How Advances in Anti-Aging Technology Could Present Novel Challenges to the Criminal Justice System

Anti-aging researchers and their investors are beginning to make bold claims about the future of their field. Bank of America predicted that the market for anti-aging products will grow to $610 billion by 2025, roughly six times what the market is today. Citigroup listed anti-aging medicines among its top ten “disruptive innovations.” Interest in the field extends beyond mere words as well. Notably, Google’s anti-aging company Calico, with a boost from the drug company AbbVie, amassed a stunning $2.5 billion in funding by 2018. Researchers are saying that this explosion in the market will bring with it a flood of products that work to slow or reverse aging at a deep level. Aubrey De Grey, a leading voice in the field of anti-aging, has made the claim that the first person to live to 1,000 years has already been born. Notable inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil is so optimistic about advances in the field that he began to take hundreds of pills per day to stay healthy long enough to reach “longevity escape velocity,” i.e., getting to the first “bridge” in the technology will continue to extend one’s life enough to allow them to get to the next big development, a process which could continue indefinitely. The prospect of such change brings up some puzzling legal questions. One particularly challenging issue that will likely arise as this technology begins to develop is the legal framework around criminal justice in an age of agelessness, especially around issues in sentencing, punishment, and access to the technology. The first question would be whether denying access to anti-aging treatments is cruel and unusual...