Dr Aubrey de Grey doesn’t just believe that ageing, and the suffering that comes with it, can be slowed down – he believes it can be undone altogether.
What’s more, he thinks we are merely a few years away from making the scientific breakthroughs that will enable the medical field to put an end to death related to ageing – for good.
His independently funded non-profit, the SENS Foundation, is at the forefront of radical research that combines the problem solving approaches of technology with geriatric medicine.
In this conversation he talks to Rob about his refusal to age gracefully, the biases of modern science, and why he won’t waste his time thinking about whether or not God exists.
Click on the video above to listen to the episode – and join the conversation, NOW!
00:00:00 Episode Teaser
00:01:42 Rob introduces Dr Aubrey de Grey, the researcher and author who plans to end ageing
00:02:40 Why are people so provoked by the idea that we could put an end to ageing?
00:05:06 A radical scientific proposal: turning back the clock of ageing
00:06:24 The medical standards of today totally miss the sweet spot between treatment and prevention
... read more....
00:08:10 The psychological gaps between medicine, biological research and technology
00:10:37 How Aubrey transitioned from AI to biomedical research in his spare time
00:13:09 How do you get people to invest in research so new that a future value proposition is impossible?
00:16:33 If you want to innovate you have to put your money where your mouth is
00:19:30 The reason ordinary people struggle to accept the idea that ageing doesn’t have to happen
00:20:58 Small gains for the science of ageing since 2007
00:22:43 The nett return on improving your lifestyle may not be as great as you think
00:24:24 Why Aubrey won’t waste his time trying to figure out if there’s a god or not
00:26:09 The internet gets personal: why criticisms of Aubrey’s work become personal attacks
00:28:44 How developments in genetic manipulation are going to lead to much faster evolution of the species
00:30:04 Three major breakthroughs for Aubrey’s foundation
00:32:13 Scientific funding is geared to support research with quick, predictable outcomes
00:35:43 The most important contribution people can make is to Aubrey’s research is to spread knowledge and debunk false beliefs
00:37:39 What can happen in the crossover between biohacking and machine learning
00:40:18 Others leading in the field of fighting ageing and radical technological transformation
00:43:36 We are in striking distance of having ageing under complete medical control
Listen as Podcast
Aubrey de Grey is an English author, biomedical geronotlogist, and speaker known for his controversial belief that the damage that causes ageing can be repaired to the point where medicine can completely overcome the ageing process.
He is the founder and Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation, and VP of New Technology Discovery AgeX Therapeutics, Inc. In addition to acting as editor-in-chief of the academic journal Rejuvenation Research, he is author of The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (1999) and co-author of Ending Aging (2007).
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1:42 Rob Konrad
Hey, Welcome this is Rob Konrad from Switzerland. I'm really excited to have a very special person with me on the line. He started his career in the field of artificial intelligence, until a few years back, he decided to change careers or change professions and started a war against the one thing that kills more people than car accidents and wars and terrorism and obesity and drugs and Teslas combined, which is aging! And he's become one of the leading experts in the field of Biomedical Research, not without criticism for his quite radical theories in the beginning, and he's the founder of the SENS Research Foundation. He has written a book on the subject called Ending Aging, which I really recommend you to read. And as you can see, he has a pretty magnificent beard, Welcome, and thank you, Dr. Aubrey de Grey.
2:30 Aubrey de Grey
Thank you for having me on the show!
2:32 Rob Konrad
Thank you very much. So, first question I have is why is it that, if you try to end starvation in the world or end hunger in the world or if you try to cure cancer or fight against HIV, you're almost a hero even if you just take tiny little steps. But if you talk about making people live 200 years or 500 years or 1000 years, then the public seems to be trying to look for the highest tree to hang you from because you're going to turn around the society and you're gonna ruin it all and you're going to be the leading cause of overpopulation and all these kinds of things. Why is it that people don't accept that?
3:12 Aubrey de Grey
It's a hard question, isn't it? I think I have come to understand it over the years. Fundamentally, it's because aging is really, really horrible but it is something that, for the whole history of civilization, we have been unable to do anything about. And also it happens reliably at reasonably predictable age, that's a number of years after you were born. So, this really distinguishes it from all of the other things that we're talking about. It doesn't really distinguish it from the so called “diseases of old age”, of course, not cancer or Alzheimer's or whatever because we know biologically that all of those things will also happen, unless one of the other does but people don't think about it that way. Intuitively, they feel some people got cancer, some people died in just the same way that some people get HIV and some people die and some people get starvation. So that kind of let non uniformity seem to be a requirement for people to be able to aim high and try to, actually, reduce the proportion of people who suffer from a particular thing in question. Where as in the case of aging, it is perceived in different categories and that really is the underpinning for all the irrationality that we come across whether it's saying that aging is fundamentally off limits for medicine because stopping aging would be equivalent to creating perpetual motion or whether it's saying that it will be a bad thing if we didn't have aging because of reasons like overpopulation or inability to pay the pensions or whatever. Some people would say that whole of religion is a part of this kind of arsenal of psychological tricks that the civilization has put together in order to, kind of, put anything out of our mind and get on with our miserable lives.
5:16 Rob Konrad
So, could you explain quickly to those people who are not familiar with you work, What SENS is doing and what's the quality of research?
5:23 Aubrey de Grey
Yeah, so SENS foundation is centered on the concept that I first put forward back in the year 2000 and have been promoting ever since. Which was, as you mentioned in your introduction, quite a radical departure from what people in the biology of aging were thinking previously. The departure was that I came to the conclusion that we might actually be able to turn back the clock of aging, in other words, make people biologically younger again, more easily than the thing that people were trying to do as well that which was to slow down the clock and just make them not age rapidly. But it was very counter intuitive and furthermore, it's a divide and conquer strategy because it involves repairing a variety of different types of damage. And people who studied the biology of aging for many years, decades and decades, they had really abandoned and formed a very low opinion of the whole idea of a divide and conquer strategy because what they had done was look at the failure of geriatric medicine.
6:31 Aubrey de Grey
Geriatric medicine is all about treating the ill health of old age, a collection of diseases that are individually no different than infections, trying to eliminate each of them and it became very obvious that this is the kind of thing that’s' just not going to happen. So, what I was trying to do was to demonstrate it to people that the idea of attacking the damage that accumulates throughout life, and eventually it results in the aspects of ill health and old age, that's different. It's kind of the sweet spot, between prevention and treatment. Yes, it's a divide and conquer strategy with multiple components to it but not nearly such a large multiple as the geriatric approach. While conversely, because we are repairing damage rather than trying to manipulate our metabolism to run more cleanly, we don't have to understand so much about biology, so we've got more chance of doing it. The whole concept has now become pretty widely appreciated and understood and people generally think what the damage repair approach has lacked. Like some people are still reluctant to say it’s the best approach but at least they found that has lacked.
7:43 Rob Konrad
I like the example that you made in your book, that it's comparable to fixing a car. If you want to fix a broken window or flat tyre, you don't need to understand what happened to the flat tire and the million ways that could cause a flat tyre, you just need to fix the damn tire and then you're good to go in 15 minutes.
8:01 Aubrey de Grey
And my critics in the field, basically were fine with that analogy up to a point, but they said quantitatively, it doesn't work. The human body is so much more complicated that we can ever imagine. In other words, they were failing to make a distinction between repairing damage and addressing the pathologies that eventually develop on the damage.
8:22 Rob Konrad
So, you like your approach, your way to engineering, it's more of an engineering approach. So why is it so hard for people from medical profession to use this approach? Because it seems for, me as non-medical guy, quite obvious go and fix the damage but there seems to be quite a resistance in that approach, why do you think?
8:48 Aubrey de Grey
Really, the answer to your question is that there is no medical community per say, in this respect. What we need to do is talk about two very different community, one of them is the actual medics and they think perfectly like engineers, their purpose is idea of doing what works and so on, but they are focused on doing the best with the tools that already exists, with the medicines and techniques that they have available to them already. They are not in the business of speculating about what might exist in the future, that's the biology researcher. And the researchers, they have the other community I am talking about, they are very much not technology. The way in which one does with is just psychologically, just in the mindset, very different from the way that one does technology. When you are trying to do basic researcher, you're trying to test the prophesy, you kind of understand the way that nature works. And in the way that you already know that, is essentially that you focus on the most direct evidence to figure out what experiments to do next, as they sub divide the hypothesis and the last thing you do is taking a leap of faith and say. Let's try and like put two and two together and make 70 where are the technology and pioneering technology when you call that a radically new way of achieving something does no good shape to manipulate nature as opposed to understanding it? Man, that's exactly what you do, you take a leap of faith and you have a bunch of components that you either already while working doing a particular job or at least you believe you can build them. And you look one step further, you start putting it together in this particular configuration which will exchange some new phenomenon, some new scale, some new ability that none of the individual components could actually do on its own. I had an incredibly hard time thinking that way, it took me a long time to understand actually. It was only, in the early 90s really, when it started interesting in it, we were amazed that biologists were not really working on it, that I began to understand this profound difference of mindset.
10:57 Rob Konrad
And how did you approach your switch from technology to into this field? You were not trained in this field in the beginning, you started from scratch, basically and how did you get on with this?
11:15 Aubrey de Grey
We have to remember that research is a very transferable skill and here I'm using research to cover both the basic research and the technological research. If you are good at working on really hard problems and you've done it a bit, you've already figured out how, then transferring it to a different domain involves, obviously, learning a bunch of new facts but it doesn't really involve much in terms of value of these things. So being trained up wasn't really hard. I was able do to just myself, by reading and going to other conferences, meeting people and talking to people. Now, on top pf that I got very lucky, I had been able, in the early 1990s, to get into a very undemanding job in the University of Cambridge, bioinformatics job that I only took because it gave me a huge amount of spare time. It wasn't an interesting job but the spare time was very useful because I had run out of money to do my artificial intelligence research and this was a way to be able to it in my spare time, with all the benefits of access to all the university facilities. So, it was rather good but what it meant was that a few years later, when I decided that I wanted to switch field, that it was just a matter of switching what I did in my spare time, which was a risk-free thing. So, everything was very much more straightforward than it would have been for most people. Now, in terms of why did it? One of the big reasons was that it's not just that you can move into another field, if you're already good at researching one field but it's also the fact that the number of people doing this and doing a lot more important work in their new field than they do in their old field. The best example is definitely the creation of molecular biology, that was done by a bunch of physicists in 1950. The whole of molecular biology research was done by physicists. So, this was kind of an inspiration for me to feel that I had a chance of making a contribution.
13:21 Rob Konrad
Okay, talking about running out of funding, SENS Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization. I know that you're always trying to get more funds in. Do you think, that the fact that it is a nonprofit organization, could prevent potential investors from giving money because they don't see the return today that they might see in random for profits company.
13:46 Aubrey de Grey
For sure, there are plenty of people with deep pockets out there who fundamentally get the idea of what we are doing but they really don’t like to give any money away but there is a countervailing influence on us, which is that, some of the work that needs to be done, is still at such an early stage that we just can't make a value proposition. You can't join the dots well enough to actually let people, even really visionary investors, see a way to make money in the long run. So, when we started out 10 years ago, our work was true for basically everything we wanted to do, so we had to be a nonprofit. And of course, we had to persuade some people to give us money and most people who did were not people with much money to give. So, they would give us 100 a month or whatever. Eventually, I was able to get one major donor on board, that was Peter Thiel, who started giving us a million dollars a year, starting in 2006. And he did it perfectly because he recognized the essential valley of death, where you've got to do it first in order to make things go far enough to be able to invest. And it has definitely worked out but what's happened is that five of our projects, we've been able to send them out into startup companies, all of which are doing fine in terms of getting investment and most of the investment that they're getting from people who are not giving us any money or who are giving us know way less money than they are getting the companies. We are now in the position of, essentially, sidestepping that problem. However, what we must also emphasize is that there are still some projects, which are at a too earlier stage and therefore the nonprofit remains essential. It remains the absolute vital engine run of the rejuvenation biotechnology industry. Very pleased to say that most of major investors at this point are buying that, the thing they may not have seen a few years ago, that it is worth at, least putting a small amount of money into the nonprofit, in order to create an opportunity.
16:04 Rob Konrad
What kind of funds you have available at this moment, per year ?I
16:07 Aubrey de Grey
I am running on around $5 million a year, it's definitely not nearly enough. If we could add another Zero the that, then I believe we could probably go about three times faster, not 10 times faster because obviously we're working on the things which are most productive but certainly three times faster. And that’s a lot of lives that are being unnecessarily wasted, so I'm not happy about that.
16:30 Rob Konrad
What can people do to support you ?
16:33 Aubrey de Grey
Of course write me a nice cheque. A lot of people can write those checks but I always point out that the poorer you are the, more people you know who are wealthier than. So, advocacy is what it’s all about, raising the quality of debate in this area, getting people to reject the pro-ageing trance that people have been in, that society has been in, that causes them to make up these crazy stupid excuses for why ageing is some kind of blessing in disguise.
17:04 Rob Konrad
Okay, you put your money where your mouth is and you invested a big chunk of your personal wealth into the foundation.
17:11 Aubrey de Grey
I inherited 16 and a half million dollars in 2011 when my mother died and I donated 13 million of that the foundation. It was complicated because my mother was British, and for the US charity, we had to get an intermediate charity in the UK. So, I only held on to enough to buy a really lovely house in the [centigradz?] mountain. The foundation budget back then in 2011-2012 was only about $2 million, so we were able to double that over a period of 5 years. We had spent all of that money over the five years, we ran out at the end of 2016 and it was looking very, very risky. We looked at even closing down because, what we had been trying unsuccessfully to do for that whole time was to bring in new money to replace my money when it went out. And in the nick of time, some people came along, a gentleman named Michael Graver first came along and was able to give us a million dollars per year, he'd also one of our investors. And then Peter Theil, who had actually been gradually winding down his donation, we were able to persuade him to come back for another whole million last year. So, we scraped through last year and then at the end of last year, we had a massive win, courtesy of cryptocurrencies which exploded and a number of people became much wealthier than they expected, we were able to garner a total of something like $6 million out of all of that. We are spending that money cautiously because we, of course, know that it's not necessarily going to happen again but yes, it's a little bit better than it was.
19:07 Rob Konrad
Okay and did you have any pattern set up for people to donate on a regular basis? People like me, who can’t give you 5 million dollars but would love to contribute on a monthly basis, for example.
19:19 Aubrey de Grey
Its simpler than that, you can do that with PayPal, you can set up a regular donation. Most of our donation are actually monthly donations.
19:34 Rob Konrad
And what are misconceptions about your work that annoy you? When people get you wrong on a daily basis?
19:42 Aubrey de Grey
Actually, not so much, I've got used to the fact that people start out from a position of being very cautious about accepting, either the feasibility or the desirability of defeating aging with the medicine. What I haven't really gotten used to is the fact that they don't listen to the answers because I've been getting basically the same answers on camera and onstage, time after time. I do probably 50 interviews towards the end of the year and it’s been more than the decade now, it's not that people rev up the answers I give and say your reassurance will be okay or this will actually be feasible, breaks down for this particular reason. Especially on the desirability side, not scientists, they will just listen quietly and I'll move on to the next question or whatever. And then the following day, it’s like we had a bad dream and wake up and they'll come back with the same question, it’s very frustrating. Again, psychologically I kind of understand that people have made a peace with aging and its incredibly difficult to get someone to reengage in an issue that they've made a peace with, it is frustrating.
21:11 Rob Konrad
Okay, has anything changed, fundamentally, since you've written a book in 2007, I believe ? And any major changes to your theories? I did some research, you mentioned Altion in your book and that company does no longer exists. It seems like something went wrong along the way. Are there things like that, you had it wrong way?
21:36 Aubrey de Grey
Nothing has changed to speak of, except good things that have happened like the development of crisper or the development of India's theory about stem cell. These are providing shortcuts that make our job easier.
21:48 Aubrey de Grey
No, Actually, the one you mentioned, the situation where cross links, is probably the best example of something that comes close to what you're suggesting but even that is not really the case because the overall idea that we had was to develop drugs or enzymes that could cleave various cross links to accumulate and cause tissues to get less elastic. And yes, it turned out, that at least in humans, the type of cross links that the LT on compounds are able to break seem not to be very important. But we already knew that cross links are important, accumulate at much higher abundance in humans and we were able to adopt the same approach to the breaking glass and that's going rather well. In fact, the next project that we are in the process of spinning out into another new company, number six, will be doing exactly that based on work at the Yale University. They were able to make some very important breakthrough including publication in Science Magazine, which is a high profile for us, that's very much ready to send out now.
23:01 Rob Konrad
Okay, I know from other interviews that you did, that you mentioned the difference between living a perfectly healthy lifestyle, just living on smoothies and exercising every day and whatnot and not doing anything is actually not that worthwhile.
23:21 Aubrey de Grey
I love to be a little bit more precise. Of course, there is a significant difference between living a good life style and a bad life style. But what I like to do is, to split lifestyle choices into three groups rather than two. In other words, there's living a genuinely bad lifestyle, smoking and being seriously overweight and so on, then there's living basically the way a mother told you to, in other words, not doing those things, having written down diet, but not doing anything special either. And then the third group is doing everything you can think of, taking 100 supplement a today, going on a particular diet and all that kind of stuff. So, my belief is that certainly, relative to the middle one, the standard lifestyle, the bad one can lead to a significantly shorter lifespan but the good one will only lead to an insignificant greater lifestyle. We did diminishing returns by the time you're doing what your mother told you to.
24:18 Rob Konrad
Couldn't that be one or two years, the time needed for the breakthrough and then?
24:23 Aubrey de Grey
Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not telling people not to do that, absolutely not. I'm just saying that don't put your faith in it, in other words, if people can have a mis-impression that they could get an extra 20 years of life that kind of way, then that correspondingly diminishes their urgency with regard to the date where our research getting done, so things do exist that actually can give you 20 years of extra life and that's very important not to let that happen.
24:53 Rob Konrad
Okay. Talking about faith, are you a religious person in any way?
24:57 Aubrey de Grey
24:59 Rob Konrad
So you really believe in science only ?!
25:02 Aubrey de Grey
When I was a teenager, I came to the conclusion that it would impossible to decide whether God exists and if God exists, then which one? But it didn't matter because, for me, I was choosing to do with my life, I already decided I wanted to make a difference in the world. Back then it was to work on artificial intelligence and I realized that every holy scripture tells you to do what I'm doing already, to improve people's quality of life and so on. Whether I believe the god or not, isn't going to change how I live, so I might as well not waste my time trying to make a decision whether God exists or not. So, I have maintained that.
25:42 Rob Konrad
Have you received a lot of criticism from religious people ?
25:46 Aubrey de Grey
Actually no, maybe that will happen when the testing will move forward but I'm kind of expecting not actually, because the conversations that I have had so far with religious people have started out in them being opposed to what we're doing, have gone wrong. Basically, taking the rather strong position I've said one thing that we can certainly say that aging causes suffering, it doesn't cause even a little bit of suffering, it causes far more suffering than anything else that we have in the world today. And if anything, the holy scriptures tell you it's that what we're supposed to do while we're down here is to minimize people's suffering. So, in a very strong sense, it would be a sin not to work on this. Now people don't exactly turn around and say that I haven't thought about it yet, here is the last check but they do kind of go very quiet, very quickly. This is an effective argument and certainly some of the people that have been working in this discipline, the major players are very religious people. For example, the person with whom I started the Methuselah foundation, they've been lifelong religious as witness.
26:59 Rob Konrad
Okay, so technically saving 100,000 people a day would give you a lot of karma points, which counts somewhere, whatever it is and why do you think there's so much personal criticism against your work? I've found a quote on a website which says Aubrey is a bearded, middle aged British hipster, who works in the field of bio gerontology and expresses himself through ponderous rumination started with mela-probiotic, literally flourishes, he's also a poly amorous, on and on. Why do people get a personal about your work? So I couldn't believe it and I've seen a few of those, why is that?
27:38 Aubrey de Grey
That kind of remark you get on the internet all the time. This is the nature of the internet, there's always people who seem to entertain themselves by expressing themselves in this way against anyone doing anything remotely interesting. So, I'm not worried about it, So what's more important is the more reasonable sounding criticism, which are the ones that are at doubt with, what we do with the problems that we will create if we didn't have anything anymore? And also, can we actually don't talk about it.
28:19 Rob Konrad
And what has been your biggest breakthrough Safari. Is there anything specifically when you said, hey, this really is something ! That we are onto something here !
28:33 Aubrey de Grey
Alright, we're back.
29:05 Rob Konrad
One thing I was thinking if we basically stop dying and just live longer. What I mean is, will the development of our species will come to a halt or is that not really a problem?
29:22 Aubrey de Grey
It’s like a problem I'd like to have but also no, it's not going to happen anyway because the point is that evolution has been limited to natural selection on the basis of reproduction and genetic variation occurring during meiosis, but it's not gonna be like that anymore. We're getting rather good at manipulating the genetic composition of people who are already alive. Evolution is actually gonna speed up enormously as a result of the ability to create new genetic variants without the whole consuming reproduction business.
30:02 Rob Konrad
Okay, evolution of species. I remember where we left off, your biggest breakthroughs so far?
30:12 Aubrey de Grey
I can't really give a straight answer to that question anymore because we make a lot of them. As I mentioned, we've done a lot of projects over the years. Many of them have lasted several years before they really had any significant progress. But nearly all of them have now got to the point where, I've had all of the long-standing ones, I've got to the point where they've been able to make big breakthrough, publish them in highly prominent journals and in most cases, spend them out to a company and this has always happened as a result of what happened in the last breakthrough. So the first one that we counted was in atherosclerosis, where the group that we were funding at Rice University, were able to incorporate a modified version of a bacterial gene into human cells, and thereby protected from the main toxic molecule that drives the progression of atherosclerosis, that was published in a journal in 2012 and it was actually the basis of our first in our company. Then we did more or less the same thing with macular generation. Actually, what happened there was that the company was formed really before we made significant breakthroughs, because the guy who went to create the company was working for us and believes that he knew how to solve the last piece of the jigsaw so that's also gone very nicely and the company's doing well. I could go, there's quite a few now. I just mentioned earlier the question of cross linking, which we were able to get published in the ledger publications and magazines.
31:51 Rob Konrad
Regarding publication, books you mentioned are kind of a in stranglehold or choke-hold between the government's and scientists and the public when we can progress, when someone's brave enough to break out and do something different, which you're trying to do, obviously. Has that change come, to easily publish radical theories?
32:15 Aubrey de Grey
Publishing is always easy, you don't have to publish in the top journals. So that's never been a problem but funding doesn't come from that necessarily. Public funding largely comes, pretty much entirely comes from applying for grants and having that grants reviewed by colleagues who are supposed to be experts in the field. And of course, those colleagues are experts but they don't understand what you want to do it live you do and they have their own vested interests in terms of making sure that they don't want to approve the funding of things that would turn out to be unwise. Furthermore, the progress that has to result, has to be quick, it has to happen before the grant cycle is over. So, this leads to a huge, huge bias in public funding across the world against high risk – high reward work, which may take a long time to come to fruition.
33:18 Aubrey de Grey
It is also hugely biased against multi of the plenary work, the brains filled together that have not had been combined. And everybody understand that we think the truth about the problem, but nobody does anything about it. Because each individual, constituency, whether it’s the government or whether it's the scientist applying or whether it's the scientists who are doing the evaluation, they all have their own vested interest. It’s a kind of classic dilemma thing when nothing actually happens. And it's terrible and that's really the reason why I went the nonprofit route to create an organization that doesn't have this kind of constituency that has to already agree before something you've attempted, that it's going to work, is going to work soon. Now, of course, the private sector is now going to blog, let's say, but again, that wasn't possible early on. Because private sector people, companies have shareholders and they need to worry, at least be short term when it’s for a different reason, we're only now in a position where that bridge has kind of been breached because we have been able to identify investors who are courageous enough to set these risks. But also, more importantly, that science have come far enough along that the risk is, within range.
34:46 Aubrey de Grey
You mentioned in one of the documentaries that you would be happy to disappear into oblivion and just be done with all the interviewing and all the public speaking and just focus on the things. Would you say something about that?
35:02 Aubrey de Grey
Tell me about it.
35:04 Rob Konrad
Would that be a risk for the foundation itself, because they need this kind of Prophet figure that you are to, to go up there relentlessly, and repeat over and over again, take the frustration and take the hits and just deal with it?
35:19 Aubrey de Grey
Sure, absolutely. The only time that I'm going to do this retreating into glorious obscurity is, when that seems to be true, one way when movements have momentum efficiently. Like I mentioned, we've learned that there are people involved in it, that are better than me, at all the things I'm good at including the advocacy side and the charisma side and all that. It's not gonna happen anytime soon but I'm still looking forward to it.
35:44 Rob Konrad
Okay, so besides donating money, what can people do to spread the word about you?
35:49 Aubrey de Grey
Well, really talk about it! Not about me, about science in general, about the general idea that defeating (A) aging is actually a desirable goal and (B) its live able a comprehensive Damage Repair prior to this. It’s about getting basic amount of knowledge about what the answers are to the invalid question about both sides of desirability and feasibility. And going out there and bloody giving those answers, making a nuisance of oneself, exactly the way I've always done. I have always felt that it was essential, as soon as possible to get some kind of diversity of outreach and advocacy out there because I'm very good at what I do but I only do what I do. I have a particular way of saying things, a particular way of saying things across. And some of the audience resonate with my particular style sometimes, and so we need other people to get the same kind of message in different words, different language, and that will reach more people.
37:02 Rob Konrad
Coming from the field of artificial intelligence, is that still something that you follow? Is a little bit of heart left for that?
37:10 Aubrey de Grey
Sure. I don't have enough time by any means to follow as much that I would like, but I still think it's extremely important that we should solve that problem, no problem with work, unless they were being paid for it. And it's going well, obviously and I keep in touch with somebody and we give an occasional touch. I believe it's going well, the people who are really leading the charge, have their head screwed on not just technically but also society wise, they know what the priorities are and should be. I think they live in good hands right now.
37:57 Rob Konrad
You see any crossover options between the work that you're doing and artificial intelligence?
38:05 Aubrey de Grey
There are a number of examples out there already. The company name silica medicine, which is headed by one of my longest standing in classes colleague, Alex, it’s working precisely on applying machine learning to the discovery of new treatments for aging and it's the only one, there are a number of groups looking at that kind of approach.
38:26 Rob Konrad
Okay but do we need to be afraid, that one day machines will rule over us before we get thousand years old? Even worse?
38:37 Aubrey de Grey
It's one of those things where it's reasonable to consider the possibility and to guard against it, the best we can but equally the possibility may turn out to be just misplaced, it may not just be even mathematically possible to create machines that recursively, self-improving with a degree of autonomy, that would be dangerous. We don't know yet to be honest but it's good that the idea has been raised and the people are genuinely thinking it seriously.
39:12 Rob Konrad
Do you think that if we get older and older, the society would change a lot ?
39:22 Aubrey de Grey
Yes, but not because of aging. The point is that society already changes increasingly rapidly as a result of the variety of different technologies, and indeed, number of some of the technologies that are coming through and are going to get to work quite dramatically before the end of aging. Those technologies will actually create and preempt the circle problems that the innovating mind otherwise have created. So artificial intelligence, of course, it's one of these things, people say, how would they provide pensions or people have to work forever? And of course, the answer was actually now, but if there's a way to talk, and similarly people say, where we are going to put all the people? But the problem is not the people, the problem is the pollution that the people create and the pollution in question is greenhouse gases. Those problems are being solved by technology right now, it didn't even require society to wake about it. It’s happening just because technology is making renewable energy treatment in battlefield.
40:42 Rob Konrad
Basically I have two last questions for you, one question I'm always asking is the series of interviews about extraordinary people like you and who would be someone extraordinary that you would like to see interviewed next?
40:56 Aubrey de Grey
Of course, it kind of depends how broadly you want your range of topics. So, Ray, if you want to talk to other people who are leading the crusade against aging, then people who are kind of doing things for the complementary to what I'm doing. Eric at the Buck Institute will be a great example. He's very much a believer that if there's a bad thing, we ought to fix. He's a lot more pessimistic than me about time frames but that's not allowed to agree to disagree about things like that. And, he's certainly got a great deal of prominence and influence, with regards to making things happens. So that will be great. Liz Parish, will be another great person to introduce. She is a relatively recent arrival on the stage, she really discovered this whole crusade about five years ago but she is an unbelievably powerful and charismatic advocates. She's risen to quite a lot of prominence recently after evaluation and self-experimentation to do with the ocean but the consequence of it, in terms of the exposure that it has given her is huge. That's what matters to me because she is extremely good at making the most of that exposure, outside of the prophetic engaging.
42:20 Aubrey de Grey
Certainly people in the artificial intelligence are well worth talking to, you can get to them. I have known [****] for 20 years but even I can only get to see him about once a year for about an hour a day. So maybe, how to get to those kinds of people. Of course, there are other areas that are equally fascinating in this space, people who are working on new forms of renewable energy or people are working on artificial meat or desalination, there are lots of technologies that there have been a really exciting thing. It would be nice to be able to identify people with that kind of vision, who are not on the technology side but rather on the policy side and so on. And there are a few people who are in a position to make a difference by supporting the technology rather than pioneering it. Guys like us, everything I've done, a lot of that but really what I'd like to be able to do it point it to people in government, people who are actually policy makers and unfortunately it's hard life being in government because you're only priority is to get reelected and that has to happen very soon, which means that visionary stuff tends to get rather slipped away and the rest is a reputation.
42:40 Rob Konrad
The final question to close the interview, what would be your main message, your core message to everyone who's watching this video ?
43:58 Aubrey de Grey
My core message is that aging is the number one problem for humanity. The things like, the fear of getting one's hopes up, etc. get in the way of rational thinking about it. The fact that we know enough now, that we are in striking distance of bringing aging under complete medical control, the same kind of medical control that we already have, today, over most infectious diseases. And it is a complete scandal that we are not doing our best to do something about that. Michael rose, professor of mine believes that we will able to bring anything under control and when we do, we will, as a species, be extremely ashamed that we didn't do it more quickly and I believe that's absolutely true.
44:48 Rob Konrad
All right. Thank you very much for your time. Really appreciate and I'll hope to talk to you very soon.
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