A short interview by Attila Csordas with Methuselah Foundation cofounder Aubrey de Grey was featured at Boing Boing recently – it’s always good to see the ideas spreading, and with them the boundaries of the healthy life extension community.
What is the most probable technological draft of maximum life extension, which technology or discipline has the biggest chance to reach it earliest? When?
SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, my own anti-aging plan) is a huge plan incorporating many different therapies to be applied simultaneously to people, thereby rejuvenating all organs at the cellular and molecular level. SENS is divided into seven main categories. It will need very good stem cell therapy and gene therapy technology, as well as probably big advances in tissue engineering. It will also need some very radical new technologies like finding bacterial enzymes that can degrade unusual compounds. Therefore, I think it will definitely not be available for humans for 20 years at least, and probably 25-30 years – and if we’re unlucky and discover new problems, it could be 100 years. But I think a good chance of doing it in 20-30 years is worth trying for! Moreover, we will be able to improve the SENS therapies thereafter, so that they give the same people (beneficiaries of the 30 extra years) another 30, and another, indefinitely – that’s what I call “longevity escape velocity”. I don’t think any other approach that has been suggested so far has any chance at all of doing that. CR mimetics, for example, rely absolutely on the genetic machinery that we already have – they just make the body try its hardest against aging – so they can’t be made better and better, there is an inherent best possible. But I’m all in favour of developing them, because they’ll be here much sooner than SENS and will help some people live long enough for SENS even if they only delay aging by a year.