Why I Started Long Life
I’m very curious to see if we can lead longer healthy lives. I believe that this is one of the most interesting fields out there and one where I might contribute to. Longevity research might have a disproportionately large impact on the world. This blog is my first investigation into this field. Below I spell out my reasons in more depth.
Real Solutions to a Hard Problem
As far back as our history goes, people have been searching for the Fountain of Youth. We don’t want to become old (but see the next part) and so we’ve been searching for tools to tackle diseases (symptoms) and the whole ageing process itself (causes). Now that we’ve started to understand a part of our metabolism a bit better, we might stand a chance to tackle this.
Research in the lab and in animals is promising. Some mouses live twice as long before, some genes are identified in the ageing process (by deactivating them), and some prominent scientists (notably Aubrey de Grey) predict that we have a good shot at finding robust solutions to the causes of ageing in 20 years.
I Want to Live Forever
I can’t imagine myself wanting to grow old. To have pain everywhere, to battle cancer, to be in the hospital more than outside of it. Growing old has been romanticised and many people believe that it’s even good to have an expiry date. That motivates you to live a full life, right?
Well, I think that the opposite also is true. If we were to live to 150, 600, or forever, wouldn’t we take more care of the planet? Make better life decisions? Save more for the future?
And imagine the wisdom that we might accumulate. Think of the professors that don’t need to retire, the scientists that can keep on theorising, the chess grandmasters that can keep on learning. Think of the full life you can live, the countries you can visit, the love you might experience.
One of the inspirations for this blog has been this article: The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant by Nick Bostrom. It uses the analogy of a dragon (for death) and how the people living under the dragon are used to sacrificing their family and friends to it. But what if we were able to stop the sacrifice, to keep your loved ones alive. Also, see this video by CGP Grey that summarised the article:
Longevity is Multidisciplinary
Another reason for my interest in longevity is the reason that it brings together many different disciplines. And I think that interesting research happens at the intersection of multiple areas.
For me, it brings together artificial intelligence (e.g. DeepMind doing protein folding, learning algorithms helping with drug discovery), biology (e.g. CRISPR), entrepreneurship (the many companies that have sprung up, and a chance for me to have an impact in this field), and ethics (e.g. who will get to live forever, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed” – William Gibson) . Of course, it brings together many other fields, people, and ideas.
Now is the Time for Me
At Queal (where I’m the co-founder and CEO), we’re at a very good point and I’ve freed up some time to think about other ideas (about a day or so as of writing this). I will use this time to start an inquiry into what we (collectively) know about ageing and what we can do. At the start, I will first try and deduce what different areas/subtopics (e.g. molecular damage, dietary influences) there are, and what the latest knowledge is there. I will also focus on finding the right sources (news/scientific) to keep up with the latest discoveries.
I hope I’ve been able to give a good overview of my reasons for starting this blog. With that being said, I will leave you with this final note: