How would you spend 30 million dollars?


There’s a good song by Eminem – If I had a million dollars.  So, if I had a hypothetical task to give away $30 million to different foundations without having a right to influence the projects, I would distribute them as follows, $3 million for each organization:

1. Nanofactory collaboration, Robert Freitas, Ralph Merkle – developers of molecular nanotechnology and nanomedicine. Robert Freitas is the author of the monography Nanomedicine.
2. Singularity institute, Michael Vassar, Eliezer Yudkowsky – developers and ideologists of the friendly Artificial Intelligence
3. SENS Foundation, Aubrey de Grey – the most active engineering project in life extension, focused on the most promising underfunded areas
4. Cryonics Institute – one of the biggest cryonics firms in the US, they are able to use the additional funding more effectively as compared to Alcor
5. Advanced Neural Biosciences, Aschwin de Wolf – an independent cryonics research center created by ex-researchers from Suspended Animation
6. Brain observatory – brain scanning
7. University Hospital Careggi in Florence, Paolo Macchiarini – growing organs (not an American medical school, because this amount of money won’t make any difference to the leading American centers)
8. Immortality institute – advocating for immortalism, selected experiments
9. IEET – institute of ethics and emerging technologies – promotion of transhumanist ideas
10. Small research grants of $50-300 thousand

Now, if the task is to most effectively invest $30 million dollars, what projects would be chosen? (By effectiveness here I mean increasing the chances of radical life extension)

Well, off the top of my head:

1. The project: “Creation of technologies to grow a human liver” – $7 million. The project itself costs approximately $30-50 million, but $7 million is enough to achieve some significant intermediate results and will definitely attract more funds from potential investors.
2. Break the world record in sustaining viability of a mammalian head separate from the body – $0.7 million
3. Creation of an information system, which characterizes data on changes during aging in humans, integrates biomarkers of aging, and evaluates the role of pharmacological and other interventions in aging processes – $3 million
4. Research in increasing cryoprotectors efficacy – $3 million
5. Creation and realization of a program “Regulation of epigenome” – $5 million
6. Creation, promotion and lobbying of the program on research and fighting aging – $2 million
7. Educational programs in the fields of biogerontology, neuromodelling, regenerative medicine, engineered organs – $1.5 million
8. “Artificial blood” project – $2 million
9. Grants for authors, script writers, and art representatives for creation of pieces promoting transhumanism – $0.5 million
10. SENS Foundation project of removing senescent cells – $2 million
11. Creation of a US-based non-profit, which would protect and lobby the right to live and scientific research in life extension – $2 million
12. Participation of  “H+ managers” in conferences, forums  and social events – $1 million
13. Advocacy and creating content in social media – $0.3 million

14 Comments

Filed under Funding

14 responses to “How would you spend 30 million dollars?

  1. Martin O'Dea

    Maria,
    This is a superb piece, well done.
    There are always little preferences one can bring to such a list; however I would just highlight one possible omission from your list and from investment thus far – and that is for an organisation/movement to educate/inform/advertise these developments.
    Ideally, I would think, this should be international, contributed to by many and supported by leading educational facilities and other reputable bodies.
    To raise the money we need to raise awareness of the ever-growing possibilities for the masses

    • You’re absolutely right, Martin. All the things you listed are crucial. This can be either a separate organization or movement, or it can be the US-based non-profit, which I put under the number 11 in the second part of the post. Actually, the more organization there are, the better.

  2. Martin O'Dea

    I and some friends here in Ireland are beginning a website platform that I have been working on for year and more entitled Self Preservation that will look to act as a conduit between public and all those many endeavours that are advancing people’s potential to extend the concept of self-preservation beyond its normal final limit.
    We would hope to be one option to highlight all of those possibilities, intially by linking to many of the groups you refer to and with whom I have already chatted. I would be delighted if we could link with this site as well. It is pretty prolific and excellent stuff

  3. sr

    Why does the liver, in particular, get so much love? That’s almost 1/4 of your budget.

    • There’s no need to say that a lot of people need liver transplants. Once a tissue engineered liver is created, all those people who don’t get donor organs have a chance for having a liver created from their own cells. This is goiong to extend their lives dramatically.
      But most importantly, since liver is one of the most complicated organs in our body, being able to create it in a lab means that quite a lot of complex problems, like vascularization and growing nerves, will be solved and can be reproduced in creation of other engineered organs, like a kidney or a heart.

  4. Alex

    Do you know what the current record for sustaining viability of a mammalian head separate from the body is?

    • My quick answer would be several hours. The experiment was done in 1926 by a Russian scientist Sergey Bryukhonenko. Not only he managed to keep the head of a dog alive, but it reacted to light, made shewing movements and licked its nose. I haven’t heard of other experiments like this, and I’d love to know if there were any.

      • Alex

        I am not familiar with any more pure severed head experiments, but there have been some amazing experiments done by Robert J White in the 1970s where he transplanted monkey heads onto a host monkey body and kept them alive for an extended period of time. They were reported to have totally preserved function above the neck, but of course paralyzed below the neck. Same could even be done with humans using existing tech if you had a fatal condition below the neck like certain cancers. Its never been done due to the high demand for donor organs the need to spend at least a portion of your life quadriplegic and I imagine more than anything peoples discomfort with the mad science aspects of it. Of course you would also need immunosupression long term as well.

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