On Nov 9th, AgeLab founder/director Joseph Coughlin spoke at Berlin's Falling Walls conference, an annual gathering devoted to determining "Which are the next walls to fall?" This year, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Coughlin raised the issue of our lengthening livespans, and what they will mean for societies around the world. Video of Coughlin's talk is below.
Talk Summary: Since 1900, the industrialised world has gained nearly 30 extra years of longevity. Ageing has become a disruptive force in many countries and economies, not only because there are more walkers and wheelchairs than baby buggies in some parts of Europe, or because people over 60 in China are more numerous than the entire population of Russia. There are also fewer young people to support the ageing societies around them; and citizens in Japan, North America, and Europe have growing expectations to not only live longer and better than previous generations but also remain engaged in rather than “retired” from society. These disruptive demographics will challenge government, business, and societal assumptions of what ageing is and requires from everyone. In 1999, Joseph Coughlin, who has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications and reports on the topic, began the AgeLab at MIT – a multi-disciplinary group gathering researchers, business partners, universities, and the ageing community in order to design, develop, and deploy products, services, and policies to invent how we all will live, work, and play tomorrow. At Falling Walls, he explains how technology, business, and policy will redefine old age as a new opportunity.