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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday January 13 2015, @04:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the ought-to-be-enough-for-anybody dept.

The Guardian has an interesting article on the current quest sweeping Silicon Valley to disrupt death and the $1m prize challenging scientists to “hack the code of life” and push human lifespan past its apparent maximum of about 120 years. Hedge Fund Manager Joon Yun's Palo Alto Longevity Prize, which 15 scientific teams have so far entered, will be awarded in the first instance for restoring vitality and extending lifespan in mice by 50%:

Billionaires and companies are bullish about what they can achieve. In September 2013 Google announced the creation of Calico, short for the California Life Company. Its mission is to reverse engineer the biology that controls lifespan and “devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives”. Though much mystery surrounds the new biotech company, it seems to be looking in part to develop age-defying drugs. In April 2014 it recruited Cynthia Kenyon, a scientist acclaimed for work that included genetically engineering roundworms to live up to six times longer than normal, and who has spoken of dreaming of applying her discoveries to people. “Calico has the money to do almost anything it wants,” says Tom Johnson, an earlier pioneer of the field now at the University of Colorado who was the first to find a genetic effect on longevity in a worm.

Why might tech zillionaires choose to fund life extension research? Three reasons reckons Patrick McCray, a historian of modern technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. First, if you had that much money wouldn’t you want to live longer to enjoy it? Then there is money to be made in them there hills. But last, and what he thinks is the heart of the matter, is ideology. If your business and social world is oriented around the premise of “disruptive technologies”, what could be more disruptive than slowing down or “defeating” ageing? “Coupled to this is the idea that if you have made your billions in an industrial sector that is based on precise careful control of 0s and 1s, why not imagine you could extend this to the control of atoms and molecules?,” he says.

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  • (Score: 1) by fritsd on Tuesday January 13 2015, @08:29PM

    by fritsd (4586) on Tuesday January 13 2015, @08:29PM (#134522) Journal


    You see: you, the scientist, get $ 1 million.

    The billionaire "struldbrug" (sp?) hedge fund manager gets to live to 120 and squeeze more rent from your comfortably retired husk, your children's exhausted husks, your grandchildren's exhausted husks, and gets his porridge spoon-fed by your great-grandchildren's exhausted husks (if they find a job in the booming geriatric business).

    I have to re-read "Gulliver's travels" one day ... still funny after almost 300 years.

  • (Score: 2) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Tuesday January 13 2015, @08:31PM

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Tuesday January 13 2015, @08:31PM (#134524) Journal

    Just as soon as I'm done devouring this infant, I shall re-read the same....

    You're betting on the pantomime horse...