London Friends of LSE

How Soon Will We Be Living Forever? [PODCAST] – Aubrey de Grey

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In 2008 Aubrey de Grey claimed that the first human to live 1,000 years was probably already alive, and might even be between 50 and 60 years old already.

In this podcast, we talk to Aubrey De Grey the chief science officer of the SENS Research Foundation, an organisation that develops and promotes rejuvenation biotechnology that could one day indefinitely extend human lifespans.

De Grey’s research focuses on whether regenerative medicine can prevent the aging process. He works on the development of what he calls “Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence” (SENS), a collection of proposed techniques to rejuvenate the human body and stop aging. To this end, he has identified seven types of molecular and cellular damage caused by essential metabolic processes. SENS is a proposed panel of therapies designed to repair this damage.

Aubrey tells us about the work the team at SENS are undertaking to prevent aging, the challenges of securing funding for high risk high reward work and the broad ecosystem around extending human life spans beyond its current biological limits.

Podcast Time Map – Aubrey de Grey

1:10 Introduction and issues with the term “Transhumanism”.

3:20Organic v. Synthetic Augmentation.

3:50 – The word “Human”.

5:00Bodily augmentation v. uploading consciousness.

9:34 Does death give life meaning and purpose?

11:29The first person to live to a thousand is probably only about 10 years younger than the first person to live to 150”.

12:55Meaning in life – “Take yourself to first time you had sex”.

13:37 Which technologies hold the most promise?

15:25Example of underfunded areas of research.

19:06How do you overcome funding issues?

20:06 Governmental Funding and issues of research ranking.

21:37Peer review, high risk/high reward research and the Pioneer Awards.

23:40The XPrize Foundation and Peter Diamandis.

24:40How would increased funding positively impact your research.

26:00Failures down to commercial reasons v. research itself?

27:00 – How does the regulatory climate affect your funding?

29:50Looking back at progress made.

31:50 Funding strategy over next 5 -10 years.

32:30Funding sources internationally.

33:40The gap in funding from Asia.

34:30Other organisations in the space.

36:00Issues with Google’s Calico and understanding Basic Science vs. Technology.

38:49Countries focusing on anti-aging better than the United States.

41:49What other areas would you have focused on if you weren’t working on anti-aging?

44:35Do you think you will be able to extend your own life span?

45:30“My work is not about defeating aging. It is about defeating aging sooner than it would otherwise be defeated.”

46:52How do people react when you tell them what you do?

48:35Do you feel frustrated by luddites?

Listen and learn more below…


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