Today all over the world we hear the voices of indignation and irritation about the European Union’s Nobel Peace Prize. These voices belong to ingramuses.
European Union is the greatest political achievement of people of the Earth. For thousands of years the European nations were ruthlessly exterminating each other. Just 70 years ago dozens of millions of people were dying at war, the factories were burning people alive non-stop, day and night. People hated outlanders. Today were are witnessing a completely different situation: the boundaries are erazed, we feel absolutely safe in another country, we can get a job, there is one save currency in the European Union, which is very convenient.
The Eropean Union is an example for other countries in the policy of benevolence, humanitarism, protection of civil rights and providing opportunities. Of course, not everything goes smoothly and thing are quite complicated now. And it’s not only about the economical crisis, but about the general setback of panhuman, liberal, democratic values all over the world. Namely the EU is the island of liberty, ideals of good and justice, that stands against the waves of religious fundamentalists and autocratic regimes, that are willing to submerge the whole world into the sea of blood, pain and suffering.
The European Union deserved the Nobel Prize, because it’s heard work of many people in favor of peace and friendship among the nations. From my part, I wish human life becamee more and more valuable and the efforts of the European governments were dedicated to radical life extension. To do that more attention to studying the fundamental mechanisms of aging, development of regenerative medicine and allying Artificial Intelligence to biological tasks are needed.
I think you’ve all read the news that Google is to fund radical life extension, cryogenics and nanotechnology. My thoughts about it:
1. I love the sound of it, obviously “We look for entrepreneurs with a healthy disregard for the impossible.” Ah, it’s it beautiful? However, I don’t want to be too happy too prematurely. Even though Google Ventures invests in 23andme and Foundation Medicine, which is not a bad start in the right direction, but we’ll see how it goes and what companies they will choose to support in the future.
2. How do they make sure they won’t invest in the swindlers that crowded the anti-aging field? I wonder how the choosing and verification process is organized and who the experts in radical life extension field are.
3. Why cryogenics, but not cryonics or cryopreservation? Or do they seriously mean freezing metals and other materials? How is that going to save billions of lives?
4. And my major concern – what about basic science? I do realize I writing about a venture fund. However, I believe without investing in the fundamental science behind radical life extension, there will be no radical life extension, but only the frauds who offer snaik oil and claim that it heals all diseases including aging. Investors love simple solutions. There can be no simple solution in radical life extension. We know quite a few examples when investors got severely disappointed when they fell under the spell of simplicity and gave money for a pill to stop aging. Obviously, there can be no single pill, so the investors fell like fools and shut the door of opportunity for good projects. I am very concerned that something similar might happen to Google Ventures. In order to prevent this situation Google Ventures should pay a lot of attention to basic research into the mechanisms of aging and have a well educated and experienced team of experts who can distinguish bad projects from the good ones.
5. Google Ventures has a great potential to improve the attitude to radical life extension and cryonics. By choosing these fields Google sets a terrific example for other companies and agencies, as well as for the public, to pay attention to these topics. This can very quite helpful in creating the positive image of life extension, because everyone knows that Google is no fool and won’t invest in useless things.
It was an honor for me to get invited to talk at the Nuclear Magnet Resonance conference in the framework of the Estonian Magnet Week in Tallinn on September, 30. I am very thankful to Ago Samoson who provided me with the opportunity to share our ideas about transhumanism as the ideology that can be used as the basis for uniting researchers and increasing the amount of funding. Researchers all over the world are struggling with the lack of money for experiments. Regardless of the way this money is distributed among the labs within a given field, it is still not enough. And it won’t be enough unless there’s a social mandate formed in the society and the politicians react to it appropriately. Landing on the Moon was only possible because there was a strong idea behind it and a lot of people were backing up this idea. Transhumanism can offer the powerful ideology of defending life, increasing the human abilities with the help of technologies. It can serve as a point of crystallization. The government interest in scientific research, relies upon the interest of the general public. It’s the goal of the scientists to unite, to abandon their fears and explicitly state their goals – longevity and good health for everyone. This way we have a chance to be alive at the time when the life extension therapies are created and people no longer have to suffer from diseases and die.
A picture from Estonian coast and a video of the first half of my talk shot with the iPhone in a dark room)
Here’s a talk by Dr. Thomas Perls at the 2nd Genetics of Aging and Longevity Conference. Dr. Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Boston University Medical Center, is the founder and director of the New England Centenarian Study, the largest study of centenarians in the world. A significant portion of the study is devoted to understanding why centenarians delay or escape Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.