Blog | Thursday, December 3, 2009

The WALL-E report

This week's New England Journal of Medicine includes a forecast of the effects of smoking and obesity on life expectancy in the U.S.

The good news is that if current trends continue, life expectancy will probably continue to rise and that "if all U.S. adults became nonsmokers of normal weight by 2020, we forecast that the life expectancy of an 18-year-old would increase by 3.76 life-years or 5.16 quality-adjusted years."

The bad news is that ain't going to happen. Instead, the researchers predict that "almost half the U.S. adult population will meet the WHO criteria for obesity by 2020." With robots becoming more capable of doing humans' work, how long will it be until we live in a WALL-E world?