In the year 2000, for the first time in history, there were more people in the world aged 60 and over than there were children below the age of 5. Recent predictions on how this demographic shift will continue vary widely, but all agree on one fact:
Our world is ageing
The overall trend is obvious – we are all living longer. In less than 15 years (since 1990), the average global life expectancy for humans has increased by six years. While increasing average life expectancies is undoubtedly one of humanity’s greatest achievements, a steadily ageing global population brings with it a range of new challenges and opportunities.
We may live longer, but how has our quality of life changed? Can people’s ‘health span’ be more closely matched to their ‘lifespan’? How will changing demographics alter the burden of disease? What implications does increasing longevity have for economic growth and what will this mean for tomorrow’s workforce? How can technology help improve the lives of the older people? And, perhaps most importantly for our changing world, how are the elderly currently perceived, and how will this change as populations grow steadily older?
In short, population ageing is a major trend that has truly global implications.
This year’s Nobel Week Dialogue (NWD) aims to introduce new perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of ageing. On 9th December 2014, we will gather together a unique constellation of Nobel Laureates, world-leading scientists, experts and thought leaders. Together with the general public, they will take part in ‘NWD14’, a dialogue on the scientific and cultural implications of our ageing world.