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The Critical Path #123: Salubrious

Steve Jobs said death is the best thing in life. And yet we seek immortality, or at least life-extending technologies. What are the possibilities and implications of a salubrious app? Is life extension the next killer app[1]

 

5by5 | The Critical Path #123: Salubrious.

 

Notes:
  1. No pun intended []
  • santoscork

    To be honest, I believe the proposed technology is far from any reality. To entertain the idea however, I think we could only seriously look at the question once we have single celled organisms enjoying longevity beyond their innate clocks.

    To be pragmatic yet, I think it would be highly immature for such a challenge to be considered while the inhabitants of this planet face an exestential threat, aka climate change. Even if we had the issue of climate change behind us, human population is spiraling out of control. The latest results (http://www.livingplanetindex.org/home/index) show that global trends in biodiversity and humanity’s pressure on the earth’s natural resources are claerly presenting massive risks.

    So although the platform is of interest from a technoligcal and theoretical point of view, the human race is not even remotely prepared to contend with what that offers.

    To be frank, I would rather see the singularity become a reality before immortality or extended life solutions for the reasons stated above.

    Thanks for the opportunity and I always enjoy listening to your take on tech and all those things Apple. On that last note, although not related, I will offer this opinion. Apple has been taking its first steps in doing what is responsible with green technologies, something not covered enough by tech pundits. I hope the stage of focus will change a little more from bent phones to real impactful strategies that Apple is clearly a leader in. I think the next big step will be socializing the hoardes of cash that companies like Apple posses.

  • Karun R

    I had the opportunity to train with a defibrillator at a CPR class. Most of the ones you see in public places are AED – Automated External Defibrillators. They are designed to be used by anyone, not just trained professional and will not trigger unless it determine that conditions are right for operation. I see that as another example of medical technology being increasing usable by anyone.

  • Fran_Kostella

    Overall, there is a lot of good content in this episode, but I do have difficulty accepting the arguments about how massive data gathering will have so many positive outcomes simply because of Moore’s Law. Overlooking any privacy concerns about government and corporate use of health data, and the existing HIPAA regulations, I have problems with this idea.

    The notion that health professionals are suffering from a lack of data is a bit off the mark. My observations, from working at a few health care startups over the last decade, have been that most health professionals are overworked and do not have the luxury of deep data dives. Nor that they are seeking a massive increase in data to help solve their main problems. Additionally, the only way to get a seat at the health care table is to push someone out of an existing seat and provide a better ROI. Some kind of massive disruption may do the trick, but just adding exponential increases in data won’t do it if it doesn’t provide measurable improvements on deployment.

    Biology is complicated and I believe that adopting the “body as machine” metaphor can lead one to believe that analyzing biological systems is akin to analyzing mechanical systems. But just consider how mechanical systems are built of components that typically do one job and which can be understood in isolation. Compare that to biological “parts” which may have multiple job and which may participate in functions we do not (yet) understand. It took a century to understand how aspirin worked and gathering data for a century would not have likely sped up the outcome when the models that provided a basis for the understanding were not in place. Biology and health is deep and complicated and the complexity of the business is no less trivial.

    I’m pro-data and have worked with large data sets for decades and find great value there, but I don’t believe that more data is simply better. From my perspective our ability to gather and store data far exceeds our ability to use that data in useful and helpful ways. The first is ruled my Moore’s Law, the second by the human ability to invent ways to draw utility out of data–and that is certainly not doubling every 18 months. The utility of such systems depend on the second rate matching the first at some level. Since I was a child I’ve been hearing about how computers will solve these problems “in ten or twenty years” but that time never seems to arrive. Maybe we will get there, but I don’t see it happening soon. Hell, I’d settle for getting a solution of the simpler problem of voice recognition in noisy environments as a start.