Silicon Valley immortality obsession revealed: these are the tech tycoons who refuse to die: We all come into the world with one certainty: at some point we will die.
However, it seems that the most important figures in Silicon Valley are not content with this fate and have decided to devote part of their efforts to finding the key to immortality.
"There are all those people who say that death is natural, that it's part of life, and I think nothing can be further from the truth," Paypal co-founder and investor Peter Thiel told Business Insider in 2012. For him, " death is a problem that can be solved."
Thiel is part of a group of Silicon Valley billionaire investors who have spoken on numerous occasions about the possibility that science, with the help of technology, will end up delaying aging indefinitely.
Recently, English biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Gray said at the South Summit that the reality that humans can live to 1,000 years each day is closer.
In recent years, the longevity industry has exploded and there has been a boom of startups focused on the science of aging, especially in understanding their biology to discover the biomarkers on which to focus to delay the process.
Interest is not in vain: the number of people aged 80 or over is estimated to triple, from 143 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2050.
Silicon Valley immortality obsession revealed
However, startups seem to somewhat lower the expectations of Silicon Valley's great tech gurus. For now, rather than seeking immortality, companies focus on treating diseases associated with aging and increasing quality of life.
"From around 40 years, the decline of our body begins," explains Marc Ramis, CEO of Senolytic, a Spanish startup that seeks to combat aging by creating molecules that target senescent cells. The idea of understanding the biology of these processes allows us to manipulate them in order to achieve "that you are in your 30s to your 80s, and then the decline is faster".
The same points out Steve Matlin, CEO of Life Length, the first startup capable of reading telomeres. ” Nobody wants to grow old, " Matlin says. The CEO rejects the possibility (at least in the short term) of living 200 years, but says that “it is feasible to reach 70 years as healthy as 30"”
” Now there is a lot of life expectancy, but from an age you live without health, " Matlin reflects, who says that people are not so afraid of death as to suffer or lose autonomy at the end of life.
However, the CEO of Life Length does not rule out that the future brings realities that now sound like science fiction and recalls that the human being has sought the source of eternal youth since Ponce de Leon.
And right now that search is in the hands of the wealthiest people in Silicon Valley who, if only for an economic reason, they could make a living longer than the rest.
"The wealth disparity in the United States will create a 'kind of immortal Lords,'" former Facebook president Sean Parker said at a cancer innovation event. "Because I'm a billionaire, I'm going to have access to better medical care, so... I will be able to become 160 years old and be part of this kind of immortal Lords."
Who aspires to be on that list? These are the leading figures leading the Silicon Valley crusade against death.
Maybe being the richest man in the world will make you more attached to life. The reality is that Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, began a few years ago to diversify their investments and deviate from traditional technology companies to invest in biotech companies that want to solve the big health problems of humanity, increase life expectancy and even circumvent aging.
Among all startups, stands out the support given to Unity, a startup that develops drugs that seek eradication of accumulated senescent cells, under the theory is that these therapies can cut these senescent cells to slow down or even reverse the disease associated with age and restore tissue.
The biotech company, which also received support from Peter Thiel, has established itself as the flagship of anti-aging biotech companies and has recently taken a hard hit in the stock market by reporting that the first results in human trials for its drug did not yield positive results.
Ramis warns that this case should show that perhaps some companies in the sector had received an excessively high valuation.
For his part, Peter Thiel has also made numerous investments in such companies through the Founders Fund that began in 2010 with the investment of half a million dollars in Halcyon Molecular, a biotech company, which sought to create a world "free of cancer and aging". The majority of investments in the sector have been made through the non-profit organization Thiel Foundation.
Halcyon Molecular also received $ 10 million from another face known in Silicon Valley: Elon Musk. However, the big bet of the CEO of Tesla in this area is his company Neuralink, through which he wants to create a brain-machine interface through which the human being merges with technology.
Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, has also defined death as something "incomprehensible" and has donated more than $ 370 million to research to combat aging.
Google leads secret Anti-Aging Project
"Less than five years ago there was no longevity industry," Aubrey de Gray said at the South Summit. Now, Silicon Valley hosts a multitude of startups and even funds and initiatives aimed exclusively at finding the formula of immortality.
Ramis says that interest in Silicon Valley has driven a boom in such companies, which find financing easily.
Three years ago the great challenge of the National Academy of Medicine in Healthy Longevity was launched, which will award at least $ 25 million for advances in this field at an event that was picked up by The New Yorker.
That day, Joon Yun, a doctor who runs a specialized health fund, announced that he and his wife had given the first $ 2 million to fund the challenge. "I have the idea that aging is plastic, which is coded," he said. "If something is encoded, you can decipher the code," he said.
At the same event, Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, said that dying was not in his plans and pointed out that death would become optional.
Brin is trying to make sure that his words are reality and today Google is the technology that has a more developed (and secret) battle against aging.
In 2013, Google founded Calico, a biology company with the stated goal of"solving Death." Although the company's spokesmen have always been evasive about the projects the company was carrying out, a look at the company's website shows that researchers are trying to extend the lives of the animals they are testing.
"If you ask me today, is it possible to live to 500 years? The answer is yes.", said in 2015 Bloomberg Bill Maris, president of Google Ventures at the time.
In fact, one of the first Silicon Valley gurus to ensure that living forever is possible was Raymond Kurzweil, an engineer who argues that by 2045, AI and biotechnology will have made humanity effectively immortal. The co-founder of Singularity University was signed by Google and is currently the engineering director of the AI team.
Silicon Valley immortality obsession revealed