Deep Knowledge Group General Partner's New Article in MIT Technology Review Arab Edition
As technology continues to advance exponentially, scientists and technologists are beginning to increasingly explore the possibility of transcending human mortality—a prospect that has long captivated thinkers and innovators since the dawn of humanity.
But this dream is not without its risks. With every potential technological advancement comes worrying implications for our collective security, with some even positing that a tech war could lie on the horizon as nations and individuals vie for control over longevity and immortality.
Before these possibilities have a chance to become realities, does humanity have what it takes to outsmart death? Is eternal life within our reach?
Jeff Bezos eyeing longevity
Reports have suggested that Jeff Bezos is turning his attention to longevity. The Financial Times has recently reported that Bezos has been investing heavily in longevity research and “anti-aging” projects.
Bezos is boldly accelerating the charge to crack the code of age-related decline, as this move also sends a clear signal to many other prominent figures. To lead his audacious venture, Altos Labs, he has tapped into Hal Barron from GlaxoSmithKline for his expertise in what could be a gamechanger–an understanding and ultimate defeat of ageing. Is this possible? What does science tell us about our future prospects? One thing is certain: in the next several years we will see potentially revolutionary developments in fighting off time’s relentless march forward.
While it is too early to tell exactly what Jeff Bezos' plans might be, or if they will lead to any real breakthroughs in the field of life extension, his interest shows that we may be entering an age where the wealthy elite use their resources to try and prolong life indefinitely. With such powerful people pushing the boundaries of current technology, it may soon be possible for humans to live far longer than previously thought.
Big tech moves
The collective healthcare investments of big tech firms such as Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Apple surged in 2020 to a staggering $3.7 billion. These companies are increasingly taking an active role in the healthcare industry by investing heavily in various areas such as telemedicine, health data analytics and AI-driven medical devices. This shift towards greater involvement is seen as a move to capitalise on the growing demand for improved patient care while also creating new revenue streams.
The increased focus on healthcare by these major players has been driven primarily by two factors. Firstly, their ability to leverage existing strengths like cloud computing capabilities and data science expertise. Secondly, their desire to diversify beyond digital services into more high-value sectors such as healthcare. For example, Microsoft has launched several initiatives such as HealthVault that allows patients to store medical records securely online while leveraging its Azure cloud platform for advanced analytics capabilities within the sector.
Google is focusing on developing diagnostic tools that utilise machine learning and AI to help diagnose diseases. Meanwhile, Apple has been steadily making headway in the healthcare market with its HealthKit platform, which allows users to track their health data and manage medical records from multiple sources. Facebook is actively exploring new opportunities in the healthcare industry such as developing a portal for patient-doctor interactions and partnering with research laboratories to understand more about social dynamics that affect our wellbeing.
Tech giants are gradually morphing into HealthTech Titans, with their combination of cutting-edge technology and financial muscle proving to be a powerful force in the healthcare realm. In years ahead, we can expect to see a rise in subscription-based Health-as-a-Service, as well as further down the line perhaps something even more ambitious; Longevity-as-a Service.
The current state of human longevity
In recent years, the average life expectancy has greatly increased across the globe and is now estimated to be around 72 years for men and 79 years for women. This is due to a variety of factors, including improved nutrition, hygiene practices, immunizations, and better access to medical care.
In addition to these long-term advances in life expectancy, there are also many other ways that humans are extending their lifespans. Advances in medical technology have enabled us to produce personalised gene therapies for rare diseases which can significantly extend a person's expected lifespan. Other treatments such as cancer vaccines also demonstrate incredible potential for adding years to a person's life. In some cases, even more advanced experimental treatments can provide incredibly promising results for those suffering from diseases that may otherwise prove fatal.
What's causing the increase in life expectancy rates around the world
The increase in life expectancy rates around the world can be attributed to a number of factors, including advancements in medical technology and improved healthcare accessibility. With affordable access to preventive care, people can take better care of their health and enjoy a longer life.
How technology is being used to battle aging and extend life
One example is the growing field of regenerative medicine. By using autologous cells, researchers are able to repair and replace aged tissue with new healthy cells, potentially slowing down or even reversing the effects of aging. Another promising development is gene therapy, which involves changing a person’s DNA to prevent disease or slow the aging process.
The future of human longevity and the impact of AI on our lives
Perhaps one of the most important developments in the field of human longevity is the growth of AI-driven preventive medicine with the focus on the early stage deep diagnostic. With public health initiatives and education on nutrition and lifestyle habits such as increasing daily physical activity and maintaining healthy diets, people can make choices that can significantly increase their chances of living longer. Additionally, advances in data science analytics empowered by AI allow us to track our health trends over time more accurately in personalized precision predictive preventive way (P4 longevity medicine) so that we can identify any issues or changes early on. And at that stage the patient can actually proactively take the role of ‘CEO of their own health and longevity’.
The future of human longevity is a hotly contested debate among scientists, and the impact that artificial intelligence (AI) will have on our lives is equally important. By using AI, scientists are hoping to create advances that can help extend human lifespans, extend periods of healthy and active life, as well as improve the overall quality of life. Using AI, scientists can better understand how our bodies age and break down over time, as well as develop treatments that could potentially even reverse aging.
With AI, medical professionals can more effectively diagnose diseases, ultimately leading to more accurate treatments and improved health outcomes. Additionally, AI can improve the overall efficiency of healthcare systems by streamlining processes such as patient care management and data analysis.