SOONER OR LATER IT ALL ADDS UP

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is worth $70 billion.

If he spent $3,000,000 every single day, not taking a single day off, he’d start running low on cash in the year 2100, depending on the vagaries of the stock market and how conservative his investment strategy.

Today, Mr. Zuckerberg announced he is donating $45 million, about a fortnight’s worth of spending, toward two social causes, helping provide more affordable housing to more poor people, and combatting America’s (alleged) incarceration problem. Oh, and last week, Mr. Zuckerberg donated an unknown amount to the “Human Cell Atlas” project (emphasis added):

Today the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is announcing 38 science projects we’re funding towards our goal of curing all disease in our children’s lifetime.

They’re all part of a larger effort called the Human Cell Atlas to map out every type of cell in the human body. You can think of this like the periodic table of elements, but for the thousands of cell types in our bodies. Or you can think of it like the Human Genome Project, except on a much larger scale since we’re each made up of about 37 trillion cells. Once complete, it will help us understand all the states our cells can be in, and how to move cells from one state to another. That will help scientists everywhere make faster progress towards curing diseases

Curing, preventing and managing all diseases is a huge challenge, but it’s the right long term goal to focus on to improve healthcare for our children. I’m looking forward to following the progress of these projects.

I am skeptical.

Not of the effort, which I believe will help move humanity closer toward preventing what ought to be in the 21st century highly preventable diseases, nor am I skeptical that the knowledge gleaned through the work funded by Mr. Zuckerberg will be limited to only a few. I am relatively certain many children from around the world will live much longer, healthier lives in part due to the effort to map all types of cells.

My skepticism is that I think this is only one goal, a smaller goal at that, of Mr. Zuckerberg’s intent, which is: to live a radically longer life than has ever been lived before.

(Zuckerberg’s funded) project will not just produce a pile of inert data, the resource created will have endless applications. For example, a more detailed understanding of cell development could help stem cell research. Producing mature cells has proved difficult, and could be key to bringing cell therapies, such as TiGenix’s approach to repairing the heart following a heart attack, into the clinic.

You don’t have $70 billion and then spend a few million on mapping cells and call it a day. You spend at least one billion, five billion, twenty billion, thirty-five billion, maybe more, to live forever — or damn close.

Maybe our tech multi-billionaires are too afraid to state this publicly?

I wonder when they can state this publicly and rather than being mercilessly mocked, their efforts help push us over some tipping point, a point where we pivot from spending trillions fighting war, poverty, disease, and instead focus on ending aging or even death.


Imagine it were possible — even commonplace — to live to 1,000.

What would years 888-995 be like? A blur?

You’ll often hear older people comment how fast the years go by, which is true, because time is relative — more so, the older you get.

“For an average 30-year-old, a single year is just 3.33 percent of their life. By the time you’re 60, the years have shrunk even more, to just 1.67 percent of your life.”

And for your mother, who is now 783?


Dr. Alan S. Green is a leading promoter of rapamycin to combat aging. His site is interesting.