Nanotechnology for life extension goes mainstream

Nanotechnology for life extension goes mainstream

Foresight president Pearl Chin brings our attention to an interview of Sanjay Gupta in Life Extension magazine. It sounds as though his new book Chasing Life includes coverage of nanotechnology. Excerpts from the interview:

Turn on any television in the world—Beijing, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Rome, Los Angeles, or Tokyo—and you will find Dr. Sanjay Gupta reporting on the latest breaking medical and health news.

As Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, Dr. Gupta is currently the most famous and listened to doctor on the planet. Millions of viewers learn daily about advances in medicine that can change their lives…

SG: “I think in the next couple of decades, we’re going to get to a point of practical immortality. It’s not true immortality, but practical immortality, meaning that we’re going to live much longer without getting sick, and as a result we’ll have many more functional years. It seems that we are going to get to the point where some people will be able to decide how long they want to live by doing some of the things that Kurzweil talks about. There is a lot of interest and activity around promising technologies such as exchanging body organs, rejuvenating cells, and even nanotechnology which will eliminate even a single cancer cell in the body before it can ever start replicating.

“For a lot of people these ideas are on the fringe, but frankly now that I have researched it and spoken to the scientists in the field, I believe that we are getting very close to realizing some of these fantastic ideas. I think that we’re going to be much further along in the next twenty years than ever before.”

Here at Foresight we avoid the “i” word (immortality), but Dr. Gupta seems to be getting away with it. —Christine

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  1. John M August 7, 2007 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    I’m surprised to hear of him saying that, if he said that on-air he would be looking for a new job though.. oh well, it won’t be “fringe” when CNN is reporting the birth of a child with an estimated 150 year lifespan in the not too distant future..

  2. Koofoo August 7, 2007 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    oh no!!! We must not build self replicating nanomachines or life extension devices! The race of man will overpopulate the aerth and we shall all perish in a flood of flesh and technomachinery! nanomachines will eat and eat and eat their way through everyone and gobble the world up in a mass of pure covalent carbon networks! oh no! oh no! transhumanists will consider themselves superior to the rest of us bio humans and want to exterminate us or use us as their pets! oh no! oh no!

    but I would sure love a good solid nano replicator machine Christine Peterson and Foresight!

  3. Brian Wang August 8, 2007 at 9:55 am - Reply

    I believe that Dr. Gupta shifted to highlighted the more optimistic aspects of his view. In his book which I skimmed he indicated that Kurzweil and nanomedicine had inspired him to look at new tech, he ended up believing that there was a long way to go there. In the book, he focused on more mainstream behaviors and technology for improving health.
    I think he is open to the idea that the more powerful technology and research could work. The Life Extension magazine was an article for a particular audience where it was safe for him to speculate.
    He may have talked to some people between the writing of the book and the writing of the article.

    Gupta is not leading the charge for more agressive funding and work on life extension tech. Perhaps his next book or appearances in CNN will see such a shift, but not yet.

  4. mark harrington August 8, 2007 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    I’m very sceptical of anyone who alludes to immortality via technology or pharamceuticals. It smacks of “Snake Oil”, and get rich quick schemes.

    As a nation we leap on to new technologies without careful consideration of the environmental health costs. Remember in the 60’s when atom bombs were tested without reasonable precautions and engineers planned to use the bombs to make harbors etc… Newer, bigger, faster…. is not always better. In the 60’s we were also promised that we would have lives of leisure through technological innovation. This has also proved to be untrue. We have much more stress, and less leisure time in our lives then we did in the 60’s and 70’s.

  5. Jim Craig August 11, 2007 at 3:29 am - Reply

    It’s inevitable really. The human imagination is very capable of tackling the complexity of biology to a point where it is fully reverse engineered from genome to disease endpoint. The tools to do so are evolving at this very moment and they are getting faster and better by the day. Supercomputing technology, high-throughput lab devices and more sophisticated parallel software algorithms will lead to near perfect simulations of biological networks and allow us to engineer targeted therapies that are very cost effective.

    This isn’t the flying car or floating cities hype of the past. Universities around the world are working on stem cells, gene therapy, informatics technology, protein folding, nanotechnology and numerous lab-automation techniques are advancing so rapidly that it’s likely that by 2050 just about every disease will be wiped from populations that can afford general health care. This includes all of the aging diseases and damage that plague the elderly. The results will be significantly longer lifespans. Technology will not stops it’s march either so the trend will endlessly continue towards longer lifespans.

    I don’t buy into the doom and gloom scenarios associated with longer lifespans. We have doubled lifespans in the past 100 years and nobody blinked an eye. I believe that with longer lifespans we will choose to be better shepherds of our planet and take care to manage the environment, population and strive to use resources more efficiently.

  6. eric August 11, 2007 at 6:46 am - Reply

    What a great article. Its too bad that its most likely that people that already have a bent toward indefinite life spans are probably the only ones reading this but, whatever. Hopefully at least 50 people stumble upon this. Life, healthy life, I cant beleive we have to argue for it.

  7. Dan Pop December 30, 2007 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    All Immortalists may contact me at e-mail

  8. Dan Pop December 30, 2007 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    All Immortalists may contact me at e-mail

  9. Dan Pop December 30, 2007 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    All Immortalists may contact me at e-mail

  10. Dan Pop December 30, 2007 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    All Immortalists may contact me at e-mail

  11. Dan Pop December 30, 2007 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    All Immortalists may contact me at e-mail

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