Silicon Valley Is Trying to Make Humans Immortal—and Finding Some Success
“Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, plans to live to be 120. Compared with some other tech billionaires, he doesn’t seem particularly ambitious. Dmitry Itskov, the “godfather” of the Russian Internet, says his goal is to live to 10,000; Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, finds the notion of accepting mortality “incomprehensible,” and Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, hopes to someday cure death.” Newsweek 13 March 2015
Aubrey de Grey believes that the first human beings who will live to 1,000 years old have already been born, and challenges the most basic assumption underlying the human condition — that aging is inevitable. He argues instead that aging is a disease — one that can be cured if it’s approached as “an engineering problem.”
De Grey was born and raised in London. He attended the University of Cambridge and graduated with a BA in computer science in 1985. A self-taught biogerontologist and researcher, he has co-authored journal articles with some of the most respected scientists in the field. He received a PhD in biology from Cambridge in 2000 for his book The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging.
In March 2009, De Gray co-founded the SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) Research Foundation where he currently serves as Chief Science Officer. The foundation “works to develop, promote and ensure widespread access to regenerative medicine solutions to the disabilities and diseases of aging”.
For decades , my colleagues and I had been earnestly investigating aging in the same way that historians might investigate World War I: as an almost hopelessly complex historical tragedy about which everyone could theorize and argue, but about which nothing could be fundamentally done. -Aubrey de Grey
Thoughts & Questions
• Do we really want to live forever? If so, why?
• Just because we can, should we?
• How would the cure for aging affect population?
• Do you agree with his dismissal of overpopulation concerns?
• Would the cure create a world ‘resource’ war?
• How would the cure affect religion?
• How would the cure affect marriage?
• What would happen to retirement?
• Would we still be human?
Recommended Links & Reading
• Google Calico (Google’s $1.5 Billion Aging Research Center)
• Ending Aging (book by Aubrey de Grey & Michael Rae)
• A Cure for Ageing? (David Sinclair at TEDx Sydney)
• When I’m 164 (TED book by David Ewing Duncan)