Human lifespans are extending at a startling rate, which is a good news / bad news story. It's good if we can all live longer, fuller lives, but it's bad if our societies aren't structured to cope with -- or possibly benefit from -- the rapidly increasing numbers of elderly persons.
Stanford researcher Laura Carstensen says "We can build any kind of society we want", but she readily admits it won't be easy. The figures cited in this article about her work are both troubling and promising, but when you realize they do not take into account the potential effects of nanomedicine, it's easy to see that we are entering tumultuous times.
Radical life extension is one of many changes that may accrue from advanced nanotechnology, but that CRN has not yet specifically addressed. As we've stated before, our primary mission is to do the research and policy work that may allow the human race to survive entry into the nano era.
After that -- well, it's still anybody's guess what the world might look like then, so for the time being we will leave those policy discussions to others. First we want to get through the next decade or two and avoid catastrophic arms races, rogue attacks, environmental collapse, economic/social meltdown, and other threats that nanotechnology can either exacerbate or ameliorate.