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Vaccine Against Aging

Stanford University Professor and pioneer in Computer Science and Technology Turns Attention to Longevity

Artificial intelligence can help us live longer, healthier and happier lives. So says Ronjon Nag, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor in Genetics, Stanford University. He explains what he is doing with his venture capital fund and institute that he has named R42:

“Aging is not a disease classified by the FDA, but there are many diseases correlated with aging: heart disease, cancer, dementia. So, if we think we can solve aging as a root cause we can actually get three, four, five, six diseases solved all at once for the price of one.”

Dr. Nag is president of R42, a venture capital firm as well as an institute where they teach A.I. and are now focusing on longevity, research into living longer.

“We teach longevity but we also invest in A.I. and longevity companies. The holy grail of aging is, can we actually extend life. There are a couple of dimensions there. We can get to 100, a 120, maybe by good behavior, diet, exercise, to get more than that you’re going to need therapeutics. The thing is can we actually do these things can we get to those ages without intense or extreme activity in monitoring.”

Advances in Artificial Intelligence Hold Great Promise

“Can the ordinary person have an average diet, an average exercise regime, can we get there to a healthy life, a longer healthy life. Could be something that can extend the life of cells, something that stops the cells from getting older. Or it could be something like predicting disease before you get the disease.”

“We have gene editing. Somebody has a gene that’s miscoded and that one gene can result in a catastrophic disease or a high probability of a catastrophic disease like breast cancer. Can we actually change that gene once we know what that gene is.”

“Because we have more data available, more medical data available, can we throw that into A.I. machines to analyze it. It’s too difficult for humans to analyze. There’s a million medical publications published every year. A single human cannot read all of them. Can we have a machine read them instead. 03:31 Can we look at every heartbeat because we have these wearables now. Instead of getting your blood pressure and heart rate measured once a year, you get every heartbeat every five years and as you go on, the last 10 years, the last 20 years. This will give us more data to give personalized treatment.”

Dr. Nag promises that “we will all look back 20 years from now and look at these people and say that’s what they were working on and that’s why I can live to 100 with a higher probability. Maybe I can live to 120 with a higher probability. 100 is the new 80. 120 is the new 100.”

“We really want to expand ‘health span,’ which means a healthy life. Living a long lifespan, I mean, that’ll be a personal decision. I’m extremely excited. I’ve worked in fields ten or twenty years beforehand. I was working in A.I. in 1983. I did the first speech recognition phones in the 90s. The first writing recognition phones in the 2000s, all of those 10 or 20 years ahead. I feel like this is kind of like around the same time that in ten or 15 years it’s going to be such a different dynamic in this kind of space.”

The Ah! Channel aims to enlighten and inform, bringing together elements of solid journalism with the latest developments in the technology field to explore issues important in the 21st Century.

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