Never Say Die - And Fund the Winners

Investment in longevity science is examined in Portfolio: "The longevity field is splintered between people like De Grey, who think a cure for aging is a realistic goal, and those like the researchers at Ellison, who argue that medical science will indeed be able to extend life, but not eternally. (Since 1970, the average U.S. life span has crept up by four years, to 77.9, not the kind of increment that the immortalists have in mind.) "We're all going to croak," says Richard Sprott, the Ellison Medical Foundation's director, who expects that humans may eventually live as much as 30 years longer, but only in the distant future. As for the rest of it, including cryonics, Sprott says, "I don't know how anybody takes some of this stuff seriously." Such skepticism explains why Peter Thiel, now head of Clarium Capital Management, a $2.7 billion hedge fund, has raised some eyebrows with his very public funding of De Grey's immortality work. ... In Thiel's view, "Aubrey is the rare combination of a first-rate scientist with an out-of-the-box thinker. In just the past five years, the notion of radical life extension has moved from the fringes to the mainstream, and he's been one of the central figures in bringing about that shift. Every myth on this planet tells people that the purpose of life is death. It's time for us to move beyond mythology and try to find a real cure for this universal disease." From where I stand, you fund the guys who are going to get the damn job done - which won't be the folk who say it's impossible before the attempt has been made.


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