Is ageing a problem that can be solved?

It appears that some fairly decent progress has already been made in the quest for rejuvenation.

It seriously sounds like something straight out of a science fiction novel, but billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel and the Russian-Israeli tech billionaire Yuri Milner, are all investing heavily in start-ups and new biotechnologies that promise to solve the problem of ageing and death.

I call it (ageing) 'a problem', because that is exactly how many economists and politicians tend to view human ageing these days.

The human population (at least in Western, developed nations) is ageing rapidly; putting huge strain on state pension funds and health systems. If there were a way to reduce the suffering and medical complications that are naturally associated with advanced ageing and keep people economically productive for longer, you would be solving many of the headaches suffered by global policymakers.

It appears that some fairly decent progress has already been made in the quest for rejuvenation.

'In 2016, a Silicon Valley startup called Unity Biotechnology raised $116m from investors including Thiel and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to create therapies that flush out senescent cells. Unity’s co-founder, Ned David, believes the drugs could “vaporise a third of human diseases in the developed world”. The evidence so far is encouraging. In 2018, James Kirkland, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, showed that “senolytic” drugs that destroy senescent cells not only improved the physical capabilities of aged mice, but also extended their lifespans. More than a dozen clinical trials are under way in humans, targeting osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s and frailty. '

Now some of the world leading scientists, researchers and billionaires are collaborating in ventures like Altos Labs - a research laboratory dedicated to understanding ageing and how to stop and eventually reverse it through the development of cutting-edge biotechnologies.

This is perhaps then just the start of the exploration of a new frontier in healthcare. It's almost certain that a lot more research labs will be popping up in the years to come, all searching for the fountain of youth and immortality.

What will productive 130-year olds mean for our society? 

If anything, hyper-aged billionaires will have a lot more time to apply their knowledge and considerable resources into even more new ideas and ventures that 'supposedly benefit society' ...and obviously themselves.

Instead of lower levels of global population growth (that we are currently experiencing), you'll find that with people living longer, human population growth will increase considerably - putting even more pressure on the environment.

This kind of cellular rejuvenation is also not going to be cheap to access, so the result could be a kind of future 'ageing-inequality' - where those that can afford it, age gracefully, while the rest of the world is left to face the inevitable defenceless.  

In our opinion, they should save all of their money being spent on research and just ask Cher what her secret is. At 76, she's looking and behaving as youthful as ever.

Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest wild bet on living forever
Funders of a deep-pocketed new “rejuvenation” startup are said to include Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.
If they could turn back time: how tech billionaires are trying to reverse the ageing process
Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel are pouring huge sums into startups aiming to keep us all young – or even cheat death. And the science isn’t as far-fetched as you might think