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Ed Hudgins

Google, Entrepreneurs, and Living 500 Years

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Google, Entrepreneurs, and Living 500 Years
By Edward Hudgins

“Is it possible to live to be 500?”

“Yes,” answers Bill Maris of Google, without qualifications.

A Bloomberg Markets piece on “Google Ventures and the Search for Immortality” documents how the billions of dollars Maris invests each year is transforming life itself. But the piece also makes clear that the most valuable asset he possesses —and that, in others, makes those billions work—is entrepreneurship.

Google's Bio-Frontiers

Maris, who heads a venture capital fund set up by Google, studied neuroscience in college. So perhaps it is no surprise that he has invested over one-third of the fund's billions in health and life sciences. Maris has been influenced by futurist and serial inventor Ray Kurzweil who predicts that by 2045 humans and machines will merge, radically transforming and extending human life, perhaps indefinitely. Google has hired Kurzweil to carry on his work towards what he calls this “singularity.”

Maris was instrumental in creating Calico, a Google company that seeks nothing less than to cure aging, that is, to defeat death itself. This and other companies in which Maris directs funds have specific projects to bring about this goal, from genetic research to analyzing cancer data.

Maris observes that “There are a lot of billionaires in Silicon Valley, but in the end, we are all heading for the same place. If given the choice between making a lot of money or finding a way to live longer, what do you choose?”

Google Ventures does not restrict its investments to life sciences. For example, it helped with the Uber car service and has put money into data management and home automation tech companies.

“Entrepreneuring” tomorrow

Perhaps the most important take-away from the Bloomberg article is the “why” behind Maris’s efforts. The piece states that “A company with $66 billion in annual revenue isn’t doing this for the money. What Google needs is entrepreneurs.” And that is what Maris and Google Ventures are looking for.

They seek innovators with new, transformative and, ultimately, profitable ideas and visions. Most important, they seek those who have the strategies and the individual qualities that will allow them to build their companies and make real their visions.

Entrepreneurial life

But entrepreneurship is not just a formula for successful start-ups. It is a concept that is crucial for the kind of future that Google and Maris want to bring about, beyond the crucial projects of any given entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs love their work. They aim at productive achievement. They are individualists who act on the judgments of their own minds. And they take full responsibility for all aspects of their enterprises.

On this model, all individuals should treat their own lives as their own entrepreneurial opportunities. They should love their lives. They should aim at happiness and flourishing—their big profit!—through productive achievement. They should act on the judgments of their own minds. And they should take full responsibility for every aspect of their lives.

And this entrepreneurial morality must define the culture of America and the world if the future is to be the bright one at which Google and Maris aim. An enterprise worthy of a Google investment would seek to promote this morality throughout the culture. It would seek strategies to replace cynicism and a sense of personal impotence and social decline with optimism and a recognition of personal efficacy and the possibility of social progress.

So let’s be inspired by Google’s efforts to change the world, and let's help promote the entrepreneurial morality that is necessary for bringing it about.
----
Hudgins is a senior scholar and the director of advocacy at The Atlas Society.

For further information:

*David Kelley, “Life: Your Adventure In Entrepreneurship.” Summer 2008.

*Edward Hudgins, “Transhumanism vs. a Conservative Death Ethos.” August 20, 2014.

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Google, Entrepreneurs, and Living 500 Years

By Edward Hudgins

“Is it possible to live to be 500?”

“Yes,” answers Bill Maris of Google, without qualifications.

A Bloomberg Markets piece on “Google Ventures and the Search for Immortality” documents how the billions of dollars Maris invests each year is transforming life itself. But the piece also makes clear that the most valuable asset he possesses —and that, in others, makes those billions work—is entrepreneurship.

Google's Bio-Frontiers

Maris, who heads a venture capital fund set up by Google, studied neuroscience in college. So perhaps it is no surprise that he has invested over one-third of the fund's billions in health and life sciences. Maris has been influenced by futurist and serial inventor Ray Kurzweil who predicts that by 2045 humans and machines will merge, radically transforming and extending human life, perhaps indefinitely. Google has hired Kurzweil to carry on his work towards what he calls this “singularity.”

Maris was instrumental in creating Calico, a Google company that seeks nothing less than to cure aging, that is, to defeat death itself. This and other companies in which Maris directs funds have specific projects to bring about this goal, from genetic research to analyzing cancer data.

Maris observes that “There are a lot of billionaires in Silicon Valley, but in the end, we are all heading for the same place. If given the choice between making a lot of money or finding a way to live longer, what do you choose?”

Google Ventures does not restrict its investments to life sciences. For example, it helped with the Uber car service and has put money into data management and home automation tech companies.

“Entrepreneuring” tomorrow

Perhaps the most important take-away from the Bloomberg article is the “why” behind Maris’s efforts. The piece states that “A company with $66 billion in annual revenue isn’t doing this for the money. What Google needs is entrepreneurs.” And that is what Maris and Google Ventures are looking for.

They seek innovators with new, transformative and, ultimately, profitable ideas and visions. Most important, they seek those who have the strategies and the individual qualities that will allow them to build their companies and make real their visions.

Entrepreneurial life

But entrepreneurship is not just a formula for successful start-ups. It is a concept that is crucial for the kind of future that Google and Maris want to bring about, beyond the crucial projects of any given entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs love their work. They aim at productive achievement. They are individualists who act on the judgments of their own minds. And they take full responsibility for all aspects of their enterprises.

On this model, all individuals should treat their own lives as their own entrepreneurial opportunities. They should love their lives. They should aim at happiness and flourishing—their big profit!—through productive achievement. They should act on the judgments of their own minds. And they should take full responsibility for every aspect of their lives.

And this entrepreneurial morality must define the culture of America and the world if the future is to be the bright one at which Google and Maris aim. An enterprise worthy of a Google investment would seek to promote this morality throughout the culture. It would seek strategies to replace cynicism and a sense of personal impotence and social decline with optimism and a recognition of personal efficacy and the possibility of social progress.

So let’s be inspired by Google’s efforts to change the world, and let's help promote the entrepreneurial morality that is necessary for bringing it about.

----

Hudgins is a senior scholar and the director of advocacy at The Atlas Society.

For further information:

*David Kelley, “Life: Your Adventure In Entrepreneurship.” Summer 2008.

*Edward Hudgins, “Transhumanism vs. a Conservative Death Ethos.” August 20, 2014.

There is no cure for aging. A human cell can undergo up to 50 divisions then it either dies or becomes cancerous.

On each division the chromosomes are shortened until they can no long divide.

Kurzweil is a very talented engineer and inventor but his futuristic notions are pure fruitcake.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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There is no cure for aging. A human cell can undergo up to 50 divisions then it either dies or becomes cancerous.

On each division the chromosomes are shortened until they can no long divide.

Kurzweil is a very talented engineer and inventor but his futuristic notions are pure fruitcake.

Ba'al Chatzaf

1. What if the rate of cell division can be slowed? Then it would take longer to undergo 50 divisions.

2. What if the telomere ends can be lengthened? Wiki has this statement:

"Over time, due to each cell division, the telomere ends become shorter.[2] They are replenished by an enzyme, telomerase reverse transcriptase."

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telomere#Lengthening

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Ba'al is such an optimistic, can-do guy! Make sure you share with the thousands of scientists, researchers, engineers, and investors of your All-Knowledge so they stop wasting their time and billions of dollars on their futile quest!

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Ba'al is such an optimistic, can-do guy! Make sure you share with the thousands of scientists, researchers, engineers, and investors of your All-Knowledge so they stop wasting their time and billions of dollars on their futile quest!

If I live long enough I will believe it when I see it.

By the way, if human life is extended two fold, the birth rate had better be halved or we will be 50 deep on the planet.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Thanks for the article, Ed.

In the absolute sense, I think Bob is right. There can be no literally immortal organisms or machines. That is of course no reason to not push for greater longevity as long as people continue to exist (or our intelligent descendents of one sort or another continue to exist). (Cf.)

On the economics of such endeavors, I’d underscore that the capitalist-savings function is a necessity to make the entrepreneurial function possible. That has been my understanding so far anyway. There have to be individuals or organized collectives such as corporations making the decision to save money for investment to make such research investment possible. That such savings and research decisions be taken freely by individuals and private corporations, rather than forced by government, I think the best in broadest view.

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Stephen - I'm skeptical about Kurzweil's timetable but, like you, am glad so many are devoting time, intelligence, and money to life enhancement and life extension. For other efforts along these lines, see my review of Abundance by Peter Diamandis, who co-founded Singularity U. with Kurzweil.

And yes, entrepreneurship can only operate in a free market system. Otherwise its object become creative ways to secure government favors rather than create new goods and services to satisfy paying customers.

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There is no cure for aging. A human cell can undergo up to 50 divisions then it either dies or becomes cancerous.

On each division the chromosomes are shortened until they can no long divide.

Kurzweil is a very talented engineer and inventor but his futuristic notions are pure fruitcake.

Ba'al Chatzaf

1. What if the rate of cell division can be slowed? Then it would take longer to undergo 50 divisions.

2. What if the telomere ends can be lengthened? Wiki has this statement:

"Over time, due to each cell division, the telomere ends become shorter.[2] They are replenished by an enzyme, telomerase reverse transcriptase."

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telomere#Lengthening

I have heard these very optimistic predictions for the last 50 years. I have yet to see the technology in hand and ready to go. So you will understand why I am skeptical. It is like controlled nuclear fusion power. It has been 30 years in the future for the last 60 years. I am not holding my breath until that happens.

I believe what I can see with my own two eyes and what I can use NOW.

Tell me what is out there NOW or is likely to be out their next year. For me 50 years in the future is NEVER. 20 years in the future is almost certainly NEVER. If these biological extension are made my great grandchildren (I have not as yet) will benefit. All the flesh and blood I know and cherish will not.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I'm genetically programmed to live into my middle nineties. Maybe I will. The question then is quality of life until I croak.

The absolute length of achievable human life is 119. But most of the long-lived hit a brick wall in their 90s. That's the nature of humanity. No one has yet to come up with a technology to make the mid-hundreds the new mid-nineties much less much beyond.

I think only as Aspie would want to outlive all his loved ones or could tolerate living, say, 200 years. The young need room to roam anyway.

--Brant

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Ba'al is such an optimistic, can-do guy! Make sure you share with the thousands of scientists, researchers, engineers, and investors of your All-Knowledge so they stop wasting their time and billions of dollars on their futile quest!

Ed,

LOL...

Now you know what we have to put up with around here.

:)

But we love him.

I am optimistic about the Google guys. I have all of Kurzweil's books, but I won't comment because I haven't read them yet. I have heard him speak a lot and I like what he says. I certainly wish him luck on his own path. And I love Singularity University. I want to go there when I grow up. :)

Seriously, I intend to visit there before too long. Those are some of the sharpest people on the planet. And they don't scoff at normal everyday marketing. On the contrary, they embrace it.

Michael

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Read the linked-to piece. The billions are Google's. But Maris also attracts other capital to promising ventures.

MLK, I have my doubts about Kurzweil's timetable and will be writing a longer piece on transhumanism in the future. But I too love the work of the Singlularity folks. Talk about life-affirming! Here's a link to my review of Peter Diamandis's book book Abundance. Inspirational!

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Thanks. Shouldn't have missed that. I don't think there will be a singularity as imagined except through biology. Humanity is going to self evolve.

--Brant

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Read the linked-to piece. The billions are Google's. But Maris also attracts other capital to promising ventures.

MLK, I have my doubts about Kurzweil's timetable and will be writing a longer piece on transhumanism in the future. But I too love the work of the Singlularity folks. Talk about life-affirming! Here's a link to my review of Peter Diamandis's book book Abundance. Inspirational!

Ed,

MLK?

Is Martin Luther King posting on OL all of a sudden?

:smile:

Michael

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Thanks for the article, Ed.

In the absolute sense, I think Bob is right. There can be no literally immortal organisms or machines. That is of course no reason to not push for greater longevity as long as people continue to exist (or our intelligent descendents of one sort or another continue to exist). (Cf.)

Life expectancy has nearly doubled since the mid-19 th century. The main reasons are not medical but hygienic. We have developed clean public water supplies, we get rid of our bodily wastes and put them in a place other than in the water from which we drink and cheap soap is available to almost everyone. Also the items we eat and drink are Pasteurized. That has probably done more to keep people from dying young than any advances in medical technology. There result: We do not catch killer infectious diseases as readily as we once did. We live long enough to die from degenerative diseases and cancer.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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It's inspirational alright, 'Abundance'. Incisive and detailed review, Ed. I'll be the wet blanket though, to point out that technology does and will give man much more and much faster - of the good and the bad. An "abundance" of stupidity, envy and hatred of the good still plagues us. I ask the question, can men and their consciousnesses keep abreast of this technology?

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MSK, of course! I just wrote a piece referring to the guy with the "L" in the middle of his name and, without enough caffeine in my brain, it simple failed to sub the appropriate "S!"

Interesting timing for this discussion. The headline on Drudge today is SCIENTISTS TRY TO MODIFY HUMAN EGGS GENETICALLY . The story is about eliminating genetic tendencies in eggs to certain diseases. The idea of the Google/Singularity/Transhumanist folks is to discover and modify the genetic mechanisms that produce aging. But eliminating a propensity for dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and a list of others would be a great start!

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Ba'al is such an optimistic, can-do guy! Make sure you share …. your All-Knowledge…

Ba'al is smart, but who is not? I enjoy most of his comments and actually learn from some of them. I only wish that he could reply without quoting the entire original post. I mean, if he is so smart, why has he not figured that out?

Thanks, Ed. As you can see from the other comments here, many of us are interested in life extension. The old Libertarian Connection would tag articles as LE. Most of them were written by "Natalee Hall" but others contributed as well, of course. Skye & Natalee got into the vitamin business by buying out Erwin S. "Filthy Pierre" Strauss who was raising capital for a venture. (Part of that involved working in Alaska, so he got rid of his mail order vitamin business.) In the old LC, one of the contrarians to LE was Murray N. Rothbard. He advocated revolution and said that taking vitamins does nothing to change society. Perhaps he was right, but he is nonetheless dead. Skye and Natalee pointed out that if libertarians are advocates of choice, and if death is absence of choice, then, clearly, life extension should be important to libertarians.

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Life expectancy has nearly doubled since the mid-19 th century. The main reasons are not medical but hygienic. …. There result: … We live long enough to die from degenerative diseases and cancer.

Allow me to tie together two threads: Entrepreneurship and Public Health. As I pointed out in an article on my blog, Austrian economists argue what entrepreneurship "is". They have to because there is no "is" in the sense that if you do these things or have these circumstances then you have "entrepreneurship." We can talk about equivalent qualities such as initiative, risk-taking, profit-seeking, removing inefficiencies, creating new ideas, objects, or processes, and so on. All of those are part of entrepreneurship, just as your hand is part of your body. But some people have no hands from birth or injury, and they remain people. So, too, do many entrepreneurs not create new products, but are better at marketing existing products. Some entrepreneurs are risk-averse. Many (perhaps most) make no profit because their ventures fail: ships sink; the public is unimpressed; etc.

And so, too, with our health. As an individual, my needs are not yours. Ba'al is 100% right about the value in soap and hot water. Wilbur Wright died young (1867 - 1912) from typhoid fever, apparently contracted in Boston, but not his first bout with the disease. Typhoid comes from commingling waste water and well water: outhouses. People here on OL have gloried in their childhood days of open pit potty rooms, as if they were noble savages. But it raises a significant point about individualism.

Wilbur got it; Orville lived to be 77 (1871-1948). The great influenza epidemics (pandemic) killed 3% of the world's population in 1918-1920. In the USA between 188,000 and 337,00 died (Wikipedia). Even though 100,000 died along the East Coast, millions did not; millions did not get sick. Worldwide 97% of the population survived. Health is highly individualized.

That is why I object to Baal's claim that medical technology has had little affect. True, globally, perhaps, but individually, I would not be here but for two operations, the first on my heart when I was six years old in 1956. In 2010, it was discovered that I was in the process of dodging bullets like Neo, so I had the agent removed… or half the agent, actually. I kept the left lobe of my thyroid. I figured that I might need it someday.

For that last surgery, I had to sign a consent form stating that I understood that medicine is an art, not a science, and that outcomes are not predictable. At least, that is how they feel about it at the University of Michigan Hospitals.

Last point: Do you wash your hands after you goto the bathroom? Of course! What about before you go? I mean your tracts have been in your pants, but where have your hands been? What did you touch -- and who touched it before you?

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Ba'al is such an optimistic, can-do guy! Make sure you share …. your All-Knowledge…

Ba'al is smart, but who is not? I enjoy most of his comments and actually learn from some of them. I only wish that he could reply without quoting the entire original post. I mean, if he is so smart, why has he not figured that out?

Thanks, Ed. As you can see from the other comments here, many of us are interested in life extension. The old Libertarian Connection would tag articles as LE. Most of them were written by "Natalee Hall" but others contributed as well, of course. Skye & Natalee got into the vitamin business by buying out Erwin S. "Filthy Pierre" Strauss who was raising capital for a venture. (Part of that involved working in Alaska, so he got rid of his mail order vitamin business.) In the old LC, one of the contrarians to LE was Murray N. Rothbard. He advocated revolution and said that taking vitamins does nothing to change society. Perhaps he was right, but he is nonetheless dead. Skye and Natalee pointed out that if libertarians are advocates of choice, and if death is absence of choice, then, clearly, life extension should be important to libertarians.

I think these two are Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw. One or both of them occasionally post comments--or even less frequently articles--on their friend Jack Wheeler's "To the Point" ($) conservative Web site under "Skye" and their products are sold through Life Enhancement Products, Inc. of Minden, NV. They publish their current research and LF knowledge electronically on its Internet site. I suspect, like me, they are not completely simpatico with Jack's neo-con attitude toward the world, being of a more libertarian bent, but their friendship goes back many decades. Jack got Durk on his friend's Merv Griffin's national TV show by bribing him with the 400 bucks guests were paid for going on, probably in the late 1970s. Durk and Sandy are natural reclusives, but once they got going with Merv they became the famous life-extensioneers who mostly started the whole thing going in a big, public way. Durk, an Aspie, has an IQ so high MIT couldn't measure it when he undergraduated through the place in the 1960s with multiple majors and minors including a physics major--he had more than one major but I don't remember if it was two or three total and two or three total minors.

--Brant

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. Durk and Sandy are natural reclusives, but once they got going with Merv they became the famous life-extensioneers who mostly started the whole thing going in a big, public way. Durk, an Aspie, has an IQ so high MIT couldn't measure it when he undergraduated through the place in the 1960s with multiple majors and minors including a physics major--he had more than one major but I don't remember if it was two or three total and two or three total minors.

--Brant

So, have they extended life? A simple yes or no would suffice.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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. Durk and Sandy are natural reclusives, but once they got going with Merv they became the famous life-extensioneers who mostly started the whole thing going in a big, public way. Durk, an Aspie, has an IQ so high MIT couldn't measure it when he undergraduated through the place in the 1960s with multiple majors and minors including a physics major--he had more than one major but I don't remember if it was two or three total and two or three total minors.

--Brant

So, have they extended life? A simple yes or no would suffice.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Your requested answer has turned your question stupid. My answer would also therefore be stupid. Why you want that kind of answer I haven't a clue, unless you want to take it to win an argument stuck in your head which you want to dump on me along with its conclusion so you can crow about it.

--Brant

please stop trying to pull my teeth

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