How To Live To 150: The Science & Tech Of Growing Young | Rich Roll Podcast
what would life be like if you could live to 150 healthily what about 200 what about beyond that well it's a very interesting question a question with profound philosophical moral ethical psychological environmental and economic implications but for today's guest a very interesting russian chemical engineer turned investment banker turned venture capitalist it's not merely an academic thought experiment because cutting edge breakthroughs are very much on the horizon his name is sergey young he's the founder of the 100 million dollar longevity vision fund he's an xprize foundation board member and a development sponsor of the age reversal xprize which is a global competition designed to find a cure for aging he's also the author of the brand new book the science and technology of growing young which is a really fascinating demystification of the longevity landscape it's a look in the near and less near future of advancements and possibilities that await us and the many practical things that we can and should all be doing now to live healthily to 100 and beyond why am i telling you all this because he is right here right now on this very podcast so please hit that subscribe button and let's do this this is me and sergey young heading down the longevity rabbit hole sergei nice to meet you thank you for doing this driving up here been looking forward to meeting you reach everyone it's uh it's good to have you i'm very excited excited to talk about all this kind of stuff but before we get into any of this i got to know i mean i can't believe your last name is young yeah as somebody of russian descent that can't be your real last name so you have a stage name yes i do uh so and when people ask me about that i'm really upfront so this is the truth i started to spend a lot of time in u.s in the last five years since i've developed a passion to change the world and and u.s is a biggest inefficiency that we have healthcare-wise it's like the most inefficient healthcare system in a world with 18 percent of gdp spent on on lifespan which is constantly declining in the last five years so and then i so i use my russian family name and then the whole conversation like every first 20 minutes of every conversation was what about your leader what about the country what about vodka what about uh bears on the street so can i have this conversation yes i can right so but then you start with almost like negative consideration and then you turn it to neutral and positive and it's like hard work on the first 30 minutes of every conversation and it was pretty detrimental for my mission right because what i want to concentrate on about bright future what we can do today what are the choices that we're facing today rather than explaining this whole russia story so what i thought uh and i i was just looking at tony robbins who said i've created this tony robbins guy so i google him so apparently his family name is not robbins oh i didn't know that okay that was the case for me and i thought well if tony can do it right what i've so i and i met a beautiful uh chinese lady when we were discussing age reversal x prize competition and her family name uh was young i am married man so i just bought the name for her and i'm like you have a beautiful family name and she said well come on sergey we all have like our different names here because i will if i will run on my link 1 4 it's just very difficult to integrate into the culture so i thought okay i can do it as well so what i've done and for russian men to change the family name it's it's like it's a big decision so what i've done just to uh i gotta make it comfortable for me i registered a trademark sergey young i'm 100 uh owner of this yeah and um and i just give myself an opportunity to use that so that's that's the story listen you're in you're in los angeles right now oh yeah this is like this is yeah ain't nothing but a thing here yeah yeah but again and it's it's not something that i hired from but it's it's really turned my conversation from explaining the past to create in the future and and this is what i wanted to do right so we're going to get into all things longevity the near future the crazy latter future that awaits us the current state of affairs and all of which is broken down beautifully in in your new book growing young which i'm really enjoying it's actually a much breezier read than i was expecting like that you have your scientific you know rabbit holes that you go down from time to time but overall um it's kind of a page turner for the subject matter that you're tackling with all of this it is the biggest challenge was to just to keep it simple and we we literally um took out the chapter on theories of aging because in the end of the of the day we don't have like the theory and it was 40 pages of hard science so in the end we just end up with explaining the hallmarks like what are the roots of aging and confirming that we still don't have an answer yeah well aging anti-aging longevity are themes that we've explored pretty extensively here on the show i've had your friend david sinclair a couple times and i've had dan buettner the blue zones guy here like we talk about this a lot but one area that we haven't really kind of cast our glance on is this future imagining that the book opens up with which is right out of a movie like walk me through like to me it feels quite pollyanna but i want to hear your perspective on on this sort of optimistic perspective that you have on how all of this could play out in the next 50 100 200 years yeah um okay so i call it fall horizon or like horizon 3. so well first of all i must say that i'm waiting for this with combination of excitement and fear as well there's so many things that we need to solve on this planet before we actually can enjoy living in a human body 2.0 version so but so that's one two is is is a bit far away it's 25 to 50 years from now it's we we don't need to decide you know everything on how it will look like but when i see the future it's a future when we will have an opportunity to redefine what human body and mind means and for me it's it's a very positive problem so we're gonna switch from biological view of human body into more engineering view like an all-car metaphor when you can extend resource of the old car just replacing like the parts so my future is about our ability to regenerate organs ability to alter our genes when we and we already know 3 000 genes in our dna which are responsible for aging processes which starts probably after age of 20 25. in our life
my future is about internet of body when we are full of sensors who are helping us to prevent diseases by identifying the very early stage of it like a cancer cancer or heart disease etc and we live in there so we we already have some wearables yeah you got a bunch on you yeah i have yeah yeah you're covered in yeah so purple technology that's a zeo patch right so that's um what does that mean so basically it's it's just doing electrocardiogram of your heart for seven days in a row and it's very reliable way to monitor your heart performance rather than one of akg that you can do it's um well it's just seven days and nights of your hard work uh so you just it's re recorded here on the ceo it's not it doesn't sync to an app on your phone well like that not yet potentially in a few years time there's there's no uh obstacles for this to integrate like you know have glucose monitor here and i'm not from levels do you have the levels uh yeah i'm actually i i order levels uh but right now i think it's a different producer i just had my annual checkup this tuesday i'm 49 everything is fine i can run another 151 years but then so coming back to your question rich so for me the future is also about internet of body about our ability to detect uh the disease before it's even manifest itself develops itself my future is about helping people who are suffering today from neurogenerative diseases by supplementing and helping their brain to work through brain computer ai integration so for me it's not a cyborg thing for me is uh is an opportunity to help people in their like 80s 90s to actually have a clear mind and enjoy their life not to be in a fragile stage and well the other piece of it is human avatars we are longevity vision fund in my font which supports affordable and accessible version of longevity and digital health we look at few human avatars projects but we still undecided whether it's going to be like robotic avatar route or virtual avatar because virtual it's just much easier to replicate ourselves in a virtual world i i just couldn't really accept that as a person as a human being so i would love us to stay in the real world but um well that's uh that might be there so there's there's plenty of things which gonna happen well i wanna walk through all of these technological advances um in in in a serial fashion but before we wade any deeper into this perhaps we should define our terms a little bit yeah you know how do you think about longevity because that means different things to different people yeah that's true well remember i'm really interested in developing a solution which are accessible for as many people as possible so my definition of longevity is intentionally broad whatever increase the average health span and lifespan on earth is longevity for me and there's a lot of reasons behind that partly because aging is not considered as disease in official terms so you couldn't really invest in aging and have your investments protected pay off your billions of dollars if you want to invest in that but partly because you need to be intentionally brought and work with a health span to make sure the ears that we add to someone's life are healthy and happy years and not necessarily like you just said in five to ten years in the end of that so that's my definition of longevity so in terms of kind of where we're at right now and what we're on the cusp of there's a variety of buckets here um and it's super interesting you know you're talking about your wearables you know i'm wearing a whoop strap i think you have an aura ring on yeah i don't know you would have four three or four well you also have an apple watch so that's doing whatever it's doing we're only going to see the expansion of these devices in the refinement of them until we reach some inflection point where all our biomarkers are not only getting tracked in real time they're getting uploaded to some cloud and they're being computed alongside these other massive data sets the numbers are getting crunched and some ai is getting a really refined glimpse or picture of what human health is and that of course leads us into this new field of not only early detection but early diagnosis and the ability to kind of catch things before they even get to a certain point where they become malignant or problematic for the human body when you have a less well pretty lower chances of recovery like stage four cancer is probably 20 to 30 recovery rates stage one like early detected cancer gives you 93 to 100 recovery chances so that's the case but i mean you're right this is the future that we aiming for we're working towards so with that i mean there's all sorts of there's a whole ethical you know sort of discussion that i want to have with you but we can kind of table that this is my favorite utopia yeah i love morality or immortality no this is yeah this is that i read that chapter twice because this is what i really want to talk about with you but um what is what are we looking at in the next you know five or so years in terms of where this wearable technology is because it's some of it's better than others um you can tell that this is in a you know to kind of extend the age metaphor in its embryonic state in terms of its maturity and its ability to really provide you with accurate information that's that's that's uh that has a practical application for the individual obviously the data is what's most important to the companies that are creating these but in terms of of how we use this data to improve our lives like where is that heading and kind of what's next in terms of what we can expect well let's that's just a lot of thoughts around this question so one is one third of the world data is health care related well that's a lot right and and this is great it's a great opportunity second is um well it's an uh it's almost like an anecdote i think it was uk health regulator who just prohibited the purchase of fax machines for hospitals and like when was the last time you i mean you've seen fax machine that's that's more of a glimpse into like where we're at in terms of yeah well let's start well that's again every risk is an opportunity so both in the us and uk up to in some of the cases up to 70 of the data transfer is happening through fax machine and it's i think it's ridiculous yeah it is so in the future data is an opportunity and i do believe that and i'm always saying that the largest health care companies on earth in 10 years time gonna be amazon apple sure uh microsoft or whatever the big tech uh who are interested and and engaging in the healthcare space so the change will come not from us or the old players doing new things the change will come from new players doing new things well and that's exactly the beauty of wearables and its ability to collect data and then store it in cloud and then artificial intelligence pre-analyze that so i i think about like wearables though that we have i do believe that in the next two to three years we'll add few um important features to measure like our glucose to measure our blood pressure and then if you add it to what what you can measure today well that's i do think it's 90 to 95 of the health data you need to measure on ongoing basis about your body uh there's this little human interaction needed in actually analyzing all of that even today early like liquid biopsy early cancer diagnostic companies just run exactly the same procedure data cloud ai and then feedback loop to you and well that's i i do think it's an opportunity and it's going to be much more kind of friendly um integrated version of wearables for all of us and again uh this will help us to fight uh as i call killer monster diseases like heart disease uh cancer diabetes and it's probably after age of 50 this uh these three diseases are responsible for about 70 75 percent of that so and they're all preventable moreover the cost of all of this gonna decrease exponentially so we at longevity vision fund when we invest in technologies like this the optimization gain is not 10 to 20 but 10 20 50 times against car and technology so it's much more efficient and cheaper version of the healthcare and the paradigm going to be like super preventive super personalized rather than one size fits all at ridiculous prices i feel like the pandemic uh really accelerated this process no like gasoline on this fire from telemedicine to obviously the introduction or the the the heightened interest of the tech giants getting into this of course amazon being you know the obvious oh yeah player who's going to move in here in a big way i just know from wearing a whoop strap like oh the you know you get emails like pay attention to your respiratory rate if you see a wild swing like that could be an early indicator of being sick and i think this is only going to be more ubiquitous i mean levels when you look at it they're predicting something like 30 of americans are going to be diabetic or prediabetic by 2050. so blood glucose monitoring is going to be just basically something that most people are going to be doing especially as the price point comes down yeah yeah well that's amazing and if you look at the whoops of this world this will transform itself from being like activity tracker to our very own personalized healthcare device so that's why you know i'm i was not a big fan of wearables even three to four years ago i really just forced myself to use it like ordering like whoop that you having just to make sure i i start to collect the data and form like a database of my own health indicators so this is just going to change our ability to uh control our health but also it gives us an opportunity to take responsibility back because think about this i do believe like 95 percent of our health choices today are delegated to other companies and other players and they're not necessarily doing this in our own interest from regulators to you know big food producers health care providers the overall health health care system it's a sticky wicket i mean it's a tangled knot of vested interests and cronyism and just a massive byzantine bureaucracy that you know well-intentioned politicians are always trying to you know make malleable and always come up short i mean i know that's a big part of your mission is like how do we revamp healthcare how do we create a system that that is compatible with this modern age and the power of these technologies that we have to revolutionize how we think about not just aging but preventing and and diagnosing and treating disease yeah i agree with you and what we have today is i call it the system of collective irresponsibility because no one is really responsible for making sure you have healthy choices along your life road and and it's partly because we don't feel that we can manage that and i do think the the arrival of wearables of more data-driven medicine give us this opportunity to feel in control to feel responsible for health choices yeah i mean so much of it is environmental though because those healthy choices are not as easily accessible as the vending machine or the drive-through oh this is my biggest pain right and and it's and i do think it's it's really unfair to the people specifically here in the u.s right when we spend 18 percent of gdp on healthcare again three at least three out of last five years lifespan was decreasing we're like the only developed country on earth which has its lifespan decreasing and what is happening like 70 of um antibiotics is consumed not by people but poor animals animals yeah and and so i just had a chat with uh with the ceo and head of science at human longevity center in san diego when i do my annual checkup and and i was just asking guys what what is your biggest worry about u.s nation and i kind of thought it's a sugar because we just consume enormous amount of sugar against our interest in the form of um well different foods but mostly sugar drinks and to my surprise they said you know what sergey the the biggest problem is actually antibiotics resistant developed by the fact that people just have still have this habit to consuming meat and fish which is made in very cruel uh industrial terms and has things which shouldn't be there like growth hormones antibiotics equally bacteria and and it's so caloric intensive it actually works against your longevity because there's a lot of disagreement in in the science world what actually today would actually give you an opportunity to extend your life uh but there's almost one agreement that that decreasing your calories intake uh is the best way to add at least two four five healthy and happy years and like just consuming this whole animal protein thing increase your calorie intake by what 50 to 100 so if you on a plant base well that's like the easiest way for you to manage this whole thing without torturing yourself with like everyday choices can i eat that or not i'm so for me default choice i'm like as plant-based as possible because even if i'll eat like a half of this table of vegetables i'm still going to be fine and there's it's just healthy on on so many fronts for your mind and your body so i run on vegetables all right you now you're speaking my language okay yeah you know let's do it i'm all about that so we're on the same page as far as that as far as that is concerned i'm interested in how i mean you have a you have a lens on the us healthcare system you know where we've gone awry how does that square with with how russia handles it like what the difference is there yeah so yeah i'm more knowledgeable in how it's done in uk because i'm part of um uk parliamentary group on national longevity strategy and singapore because i have a lot of friends i'm actually doing a presentation on on in july to singapore authorities to make the first countrywide longevity program for the whole country i'm actually my resolution for this year to find a country which i can change and so that's why i'm working with uk and singapore um well singapore spends five percent of its gdp on healthcare and this is together with japan this is the highest lifespan average lifespan you have in in the world so compare it with like 18 percent that we spend here so that's that's one two is we need to accept that um to stay on longevity breach and enjoy all these technologies that i have in a near horizon in horizon 2 which will be available to us widely in 5 10 15 years you need to make a change today right to be healthy and happy in 15 years time to enjoy all of this and a lot of these choices are about your your own lifestyle so what is your diet what is the level of physical activity how peaceful is your mind because every time we talk about our own health we tend to defer to physical health while mental is is equally important to that so that's why when when we do a change program for huge corporation and again it's all pro bono um everything i do in longevity is is me sharing the best of me with the world um so when we do a program like a corporate longevity program the largest i've done was three for 300 000 people in like 29 countries uh we just work through the five buckets one is uh like annual checkup and and any composition of this has changed dramatically in the last five years um bad habits like no smoking you know no alcohol a lot of this kind of stupid mistakes that we do in terms of the bad habits third is about diet changing everything in the vending machines in the canteen so people have uh more plant-based choices and i was also actually insisting that they have like uh vegetables fridays and mondays but uh i haven't find any big company who are just comfortable with with you know narrowing down the choice to vegetables only but i'm you know this is it's tough we can't get the fast food restaurants out of a lot of the hospitals oh yeah it's insane right yeah or schools right yeah so that's the third one fourth is physical activity leveraging variables even the current version of whoops or feed beats or apple watch um to measure uh the steps like 10 000 steps a day and it builds up like department by department business unit to business unit country competing with country who's done more steps that's exciting and thief is is um peace of mind which is a lot of things i call it think and grow young which is sleep and i know you have matthew walker on your podcast his book changed my whole approach to sleep i i was just crazy right it is like i was just looking at my sleep hours as like endless credit where i can borrow the hours and apparently i think this research came up like last month that if you sleep like five to six hours a day your chances to get alzheimer's like 40 percent higher so then it's meditation because we all have extremely high cortisol level our body and mind were never designed to handle amount of stress that we have here and like having access to constantly negative news that we have around us um is pretty bad and then it's a lot of different things like act of kindness sense of purpose that you that you have it's it's very important as well so it's it's a little bit longer answer but you know all of these five buckets are important as well because human body and mind um are probably the most complex thing on this planet and yet the uh sorry that steppenwolf was there but but of the protocols you just mentioned they're all very rudimentary elementary simple things that we can do now we can talk about all the crazy future devices and wearables and the you know genetic engineering that we're going to get into but fundamentally right now do these things take care of yourself in the best way that you know how to and most people are already aware on some level of all of these things it's a matter of implementing them into your life but the one piece the one the one bucket there that you mentioned that i'm not sure we've talked enough about at least on this podcast is this idea of of um of getting these you know consistently getting checkups so that if you have a problem you're in an early detection phase and i think that's in part informed by on some level a distrust of the medical establishment i mean your own personal story of going to the doctor and just being prescribed like you take this and you're good the inquiry doesn't really extend beyond that right hopefully as scanning and you know testing diagnostics improve we'll be better at that early detection phase but i just know for myself i'm like when i go to the doctor he's going to take my blood he's going to say whatever i'm like what am i really gonna get out of that am i really gonna uh you know put myself in a position where if i do have some latent condition and it's early phase that it will even be detected yeah so things have changed dramatically in in this field like right now i mean you can do like full body mri and the current version of these devices is like as precise as possible they actually upgrade the the software there every six months so just a few years ago when i started to do my checkups um it was radiologists looking through my scans and human being without support from computer uh is successful in terms of detecting probably yeah as far as i recall 38 of early stage cancer cases just based on the review of the scans but if you empower this radiologist with artificial intelligence and it's not i it's not either or it's not mutually exclusive like people think it's actually a combination of human and artificial intelligence success rate is 98 to 99 well that's that's amazing and it's also it's becoming less invasive right just a few years to check colon cancer it's like a few thousand dollars procedure it's invasive you do it under sedation right now we have cola guard 19 and that's it and it's it's as precise as um as the procedure you do a few years ago and uh it's just amazing how you know like for 19 dollars how you can avoid like one of the largest risk of your life get any colon cancer because usually it's manifest itself at a very late stage so a lot of discoveries is actually stage four cancer when uh recovery rates are uh very low and or this thing like you know zeo patch which will kind of measure uh the work of your heart so i do think it's time for us to change our view on on what is actually um almost any healthcare provider has to offer to us because of this speed of technological development and scientific development is just accelerating right it is crazy how humans i mean once you if you were to get cancer you would spend any amount of money that you have in order to eradicate it but we won't spend the nineteen dollars for the test yeah it's yeah i i actually find it really counterintuitive and uh every proactive treatment is at least 10 to 20 times cheaper than treating like post factum treating disease at the late stage one and then recovery rates like in terms of impact on on the quality of your life it's just amazing so my father had lung cancer back in 2005. and he survived but a guy just shrunk in size by one-third and his quality of life never recovered and and this isn't not the type of longevity that we all you know want to have so we just influence our um health uh in an advanced manner well this well that's one when it's this separate issue and separate aspect of that i don't want to if you want to go to that the version of medicine that you will find in the hospital next door is 17 years old well that's that's the time between approval of something until it gets kind of distributed and available in the healthcare system so think about you just you go there and like what is offered to you is dated what in year 2000 well that's another problem i'm still kind of thinking how to solve it but again it is about different players disrupting this whole thing it's not about making efficient current systems yeah sure so you can't you can't just focus on the technological innovation without tackling the regulatory landscape i mean that is those things go hand in hand because uh you'll never get out of the gate with anything in terms of you know implementation if you can't deal with the regulatory and that's perhaps the bigger hurdle here you do have all these startup companies who are coming on board i presume a lot of them will end up getting absorbed by the larger tech companies as they consolidate here um but the governmental piece is is really the the mount everest of enacting positive change yeah that's true well the biggest change that we can do is just accept in in regulatory terms accepting aging is disease because this will give you like a framework for investment because i'm always saying that that longevity and age reversal is like a next cancer case we're right in the middle of winning the war against cancer you think about 20 years ago people were deferring the deferring the date of their uh cancer screening because if they had a cancer it's almost like piece of that yeah that that's there's a psychological piece there yeah yeah most people are just like i don't want to know you know or i'm too afraid to find out because then suddenly my life's going to change it's not the case anymore uh so we again early stage cancer diagnosis gives you 93 to 100 chances to recover and we still have this kind of old 20 years old mentality to face that well you're talking about classifying aging as a disease that's something i talked about with david on the show about i mean there's a hurdle in just getting people's minds around that right which is i would suspect one reason why you want to go to a smaller country like singapore or what have you where you can run kind of a pilot program um easier to you know sort of test the waters and enact change in a smaller situation rather than just you know trying to combat the powers that be in washington yeah that's true right kind of like how is it el salvador or ecuador where bitcoin just became like legal tender yeah like it's just you know do it in a smaller country and then you know the dominoes begin to fall from there yeah but on that idea of aging as a disease like where are we in terms like if you go to capitol hill and you're you know testifying before congress on these issues like getting those people to wrap their heads around that i mean good luck oh yeah it was probably the most difficult challenge that i've a challenge i've ever faced and and we we all longevity related uh scientific and technological community are struggling with that and um again i still don't know the answer uh but what i do know that with the age your chances to get heart disease cancer diabetes are exponentially higher look at the recent covet example unfortunately covet were detrimental for the old part of population so this there's a clear case behind it because if you go to walgreens or cvs today and you ask for drug against aging they would think you're crazy or they would send you to cosmetics or supplements and and this is counterintuitive so i do think we would need to change it good news i think it was back in 2018 world health organization actually uh had a special code for for aging and like age-related diseases risk in its global uh like a territory of uh diseases and i do think with just consistent work in terms of establishing dialogue with with washington dc uh and what fda or uh any other government bodies uh has to offer and has to listen it's just it's gonna be there so i don't really know when will happen if you ask me i do think there's just some few smaller countries in the world will accept this i will create the viable economic model for investments in longevity and this will happen because cancer today is 100 billion dollars of research and development money funded every year to fight cancer and that's why 6 out of 10 u.s
biggest revenue drugs are oncology drugs back in 2008 it was statins remember my story viagra and only one on culture drug right now it's six out of ten so the same should happen in in fighting aging and age-related disease right now longevity is one or two billion uh dollar investments every year so when i set up longevity vision fund with hundred million dollars this is not my money this is money of investors um people thought you know we just crazy we became imagine largest longevity focused fund in the world with 100 million in financial industry terms this is the most insignificant amount of money they can have and again people thought we just uh we're doing a lot of stupid things but things have changed in the last two to three years and again i agree with your reach that kovit has accelerated a lot of the mind shift and basically created a showcase of so many different technologies which can help us from various genome sequencing that we've done in couple of days yeah right and that was the next thing i wanted to talk about the other piece you know in this near horizon in this effort to kind of normalize the idea of of of growing to 150 years old in addition to the wearables and the big data sets and the early um the diagno the diagnostics and the early detection is this genetic engineering piece yeah so before we go into like technological and and scientific aspect of that this there's a huge ethical debate and trade-offs that we need to sort out before we actually embrace uh that in fact my belief that in 10 20 years time when the science and technology will be there ethics and regulation will not be there to embrace and accept that that's that's going to be our biggest obstacles and that's why morality of immortality discussion is so important how do we need to change the world for us to embrace the idea of living longer again separate topic so think about what has happened in in gene editing and gene therapy front in the last 10 to 20 years we've been able to sequence our genome we right now we know 3 000 genes which are responsible for the aging processes in our body and just uh probably decades ago chin therapy was a tool to help people with the rare genetic diseases some of them it was group of hundred or 200 people all around the world suffering from this extremely rare genetic disease so this is where we were uh 10 plus years from now so then probably five years uh ago we the the portfolio of gene therapies against rare genetic disease really expanded again against rare disease so right now we can help 400 million people who suffer from rare diseases all around the world it's called rare but it's not rare at all it's 400 million people on this planet that's a lot and then we just see in the cases of gene therapy addressing much broader issues like vaccines that we that we have against covet are typical example of gene therapy we just don't recognize that this is the move which can help us to happen uh to and to address covet or the there's the other drug i don't want to gonna mention its name which lows your cholesterol level not statin you just do this every six months and uh it's the addressable market for that is 40 of people on this planet who has elevated cholesterol level um so we just in the course of 10 plus years we've moved from something very niche risky uh to the tool and any technology which can help half of the planet and this is how fast uh the pace of of the progress uh is but again uh when i think about gene editing and gene therapy i'm more focused on helping people who suffer rather than going into in a sci-fi territory yeah yeah yeah when people think you know i mean this is a part of it we might have to have the morality discussion sooner rather than yeah because it it it really does impact everything that we're talking about i mean when you're talking about genetic engineering it wasn't that long ago where it cost billions of dollars to do this mapping and now it's very cheap and fast and affordable but it continues to you know grow and expand and and evolve and now we're into this prime editing phase of it right which is kind of the the evolution of explain what that is because it's pretty wild yeah so this there's a number of um okay so we can when we talk about gene editing we have um uh the technology which is uh in use is like a crispr so that's like uh um almost like genetic scissors which cut the part of your dna which is not working and replace it with the with the other while it's it's it's it's been basically a revolution in terms of uh our ability to uh change our genetic code there's so many different technologies which has been developed since that right for example like speak to david sinclair he is a big fan of epigenetic reprogramming and and the fact is that you don't really need to change the composition of dna you can just silence or in opposite uh give an opportunity to certain genes to express itself and that's that's a nicer and more safe way to address your genetic uh problem or well the way genes are like at influencing what is happening in our body is just uh you know proteins right the creation of different proteins with the different functions so you can have like a viral vector well that's the actual term which just goes into the cell with uh with with the different genetic materials which produce the protein which you're missing in your body which can be which which basically the trigger for disease or your dysfunction or your shorter life etc so and it's and there's so many things happening in gene editing and gene therapy uh world like you can take take your immune cells like t cells and reprogram them outside human body it will be yours so and then you just uh you know make sure it it uh they come back to you um and uh and they fight cancer this is like the definition of uh immune oncology and i know quite a few of people who actually weren't really untreatable 10 years ago but right now with this personalized version of genetic and when you're on t cells fighting your own cancer cells it's it's just really mind-blowing yeah i mean there it's this weird stew of miraculous and terrifying because the idea that we're going in and we're snipping dna or we're you know muting or silencing certain sequences and activating others it just makes me there's a part of me that cringes inside because behind it all there is a certain you know uh human spirit to be celebrated but also a hubris that i'm not sure is as checked as maybe it should be you know what i mean we always go into these things thinking well it's it's a binary thing we turn this gene off or whatever it is and it'll have this a to b kind of impact but we're not very good at looking at at these things from a more holistic perspective and realizing all the downstream implications of these things that we just didn't understand or realize because we you know we jumped before we stopped so i do believe in the collective wisdom and you are not alone so if you ask i think it was a study done five years ago in use us in the uk so when people has been offered to chance to uh extend their lifespan if they can by 10 or 20 years so we've got more than 65 percent people say no so even if you say it's healthy and happy years we have a lot of limiting beliefs and it's a lot of things that we even don't know what we don't know about this whole thing so one of the challenges in our space is like how do we define that how do we communicate that this is an opportunity how do we manage the risk and uh again as i say uh in the morality of immortality chapter we have created technologies to extend our life but we haven't created a life that we want to extend and there's so many ethical trade-offs that we need to solve in terms of the our own health and in terms of the health of the planet before the idea of life extension will be interesting and positive for you and for so many people and here in the u.s or people on the planet i mean i know you're an optimist with all of this stuff but when i kind of cast my gaze across history i don't see human beings being very good at at grappling with the ethical implications of technological innovation because it's almost as if it's our biological imperative to continue to iterate and invent and progress and we give lip service to the idea of should we or should we not do this but ultimately it's going to happen no matter what right and i'd like to think that yes we're going to put together a manhattan project type brain trust to really think about you know the profound unbelievably profound implications of this vein of science and hopefully there's lots of smart people like yourself who are thinking about this and and working on it but it's so intertwined with every other challenge that we're facing and every other you know existential threat to the future of the planet and humanity that i can easily descend into a more despairing view of how this is going to play out i agree so world shouldn't consist of sergey youngs yeah i'm because i'm like super optimistic guy you know i need to be super optimistic to fight the problem which we haven't sold through the history of evolution or uh the history of science right uh so that's one there's always a the we need a balancing act from the public right from uh people who are much more skeptical about this because they are not coming up with answers they coming up with great questions and this is what we so my concern is that we're working on this science and technology of that and no one is working on the ethical side right and please don't make you know make me responsible for that i think it's our common problem and i also agree with yurich that we don't have a choice i mean this is happening it's not like you we can sit down and decide what is going to happen and we will just accept the fact that or you know approve this whole thing this is happening silver tsunami is happening development of gene editing and gene therapy technologies is happening increase of the lifespan is happening 100 years ago the average lifespan on earth was what 35 years right now it's again for developed uh uh countries it's 75. no one ever had a debate like can we allow this to happen or not so in a way this is a trajectory and and what i what i would like to do is for us to start a conversation start a thinking process about how the world should change how our relationship with mother nature should change how our ethical norms social constructs needs to change i would nominate you've all know a harare to be in charge of that inquiry yeah but we need to have a diversity of uh uh opinions i think you all has a little bit more uh like a dramatic view of our future specifically uh just which derives from change in uh healthcare like genetic uh gene editing technologies but again i mean it's not up to me to decide but it's just it's our collective problem it's our collective discussion it's our collective choice right right yeah and the same goes to again like using plastics or allowing dictatorships to happen or just how we think about social constructs like marriage all of which are in play and in flux yeah as these technologies become more mature i mean beyond this this you know shorter shorter window this shorter horizon you know the other section of your book is about this uh more expanded horizon of things that you know are going to be they're kind of in their in their infant state that you're predicting are going to be realities and i don't know how long the window is here but it gets pretty crazy right it is we're talking about you know not just things like organ regeneration and you know growing new body parts like the way that we're cultivating cellular meat right now but uh the idea of tele-existence and ai brain integration and uploading your consciousness to the cloud like the stuff that is truly of science fiction and some kind of utopian philip dick meets aubrey de grey scenario yeah but it's just like well let's just balance that so imagine our conversation happening back in 1990 we like we really i mean we humans are really bad with like predicting the future so in a way my i don't want to predict the future with um which should be like as precise as 100 the only reason why i'm trying to predict the future and highlight all these technologies is to for us to start thinking and making these choices today to make sure that we are comfortable with you know all this scientific technological societal progress that we have because to solve a problem of plastic to solve a problem of um industrial production of meat you don't need to wait for 2050. it should be solved right now and i'm happy there's just a
lot of technologies and and innovation happening in the space like plant-based meat right which is uh which will change the landscape uh pretty significantly but again for me it's a wake-up call like predicting the future is a wake-up call that we need to have today yeah i have bruce friedrich coming tomorrow who's from this organization called the good food institute oh yeah he's at the center of this whole yeah and plant-based meals we need more people like that um indeed but on this idea like it's such an amazing provocative i call it a thought experiment you would call it a future reality to just consider the implications of living to 200 and beyond that the the possibility of being immortal i mean these are questions that humanity is reckoned with and wrestled with you know as far as we've been a thing right and the idea of should we is is really amazing right and you kind of walk through like let's have the ethical conversation like should we do this like what happens to humanity what happens to the human psyche when you wake up in the morning and you have a choice for just how long yeah you want to live yeah there's a few things there um one i i just wanted to be upfront i'm not a big fan of immortality right because i do think if you take out the death from the human life cycle we are not going to be human life is meaningless in life with its preciousness yeah exactly so that's that's my thought well the second thought i think it's very unlikely that we will have a moment in our life when we will reach the point when when you just in one day you decide are you going to be immortal or not it's going to be serious of your life extension decisions which you do like every 5 to ten years uh so let's change your perspective you would actually be much more in control to defining the quantity but also the quality of your life so this this is what's gonna happen um in the future which actually raises one of the questions that that i ask uh in the book um so your decision to extend your life or not is considered in our society and culture is considered suicide or playing god and then my my related question like will we have like a bravery to make this decision you know when i think about this in my own terms i would just hate the idea of like you know i need to decide on my own about this so that's this actually you know makes my mind tired imagine yeah unless you're in that situation yeah how you would process it yeah exactly so that's just and it's again it's just one of the questions there's more of that so if we're going to be living 200 years for example like paint the picture of what this looks like yeah uh so then so what's going to happen uh with our marriages so right now depending on the country two-thirds of the marriages going through divorce in the first three five or seven years after the uh wedding so what will happen with uh with the family right with with marriage's institution will we consider more like a kids-raising partnership thing uh and again i i don't know the answer for 150 years yeah so it's it's very difficult to imagine so and and this is or think about your career should our life consist of several beautiful mini lives well that's uh that's the question and and just a lot of constructs in our society are not really supporting this this whole idea of the longer life and i do think since as we discussed our lifespan increased uh twofold in the last hundred years i don't we've done any kind of rethinking on how our society is structured on uh in this regard yeah i mean there's so many questions there is the question of of you know what is the meaning of all of this if it proceeds indefinitely like what is god what is faith yeah there's the more practical considerations of how does this impact the environment this is my favorite you know a limited amount of resources we're talking about living longer which means more people you have a whole thing about you know reducing the the birth rate and this notion that actually population's going to decrease which i struggle with you know comprehending or not really cleaning or agreeing with it so um so let's just talk a little bit about this so there's a good study uh i think published last well early last year uh so if you look at reproduction rates all around the planet we for every women um it's below two so that's basically less than you know kind of two kids per family in i don't remember the figure for us but it's probably somewhere around 1.5 like in some of the places like poland it's actually 1.3 so we are if you look at you and you put all of this in in a mathematical model um the population of earth gonna peak that somewhere around 10 or 11 billion by year 2050 and then it's going to decrease the china will lose uh will it will population of china going to decrease from 1.4 billion to 800 million people uh by the end of this century and and the same will happen everywhere with the exception of africa they still have african continents and countries there they still have pretty high uh reproduction rates that foundation the foundation of that idea is premised on raising the standard of living right like the more that you educate people the more that you and this is why paul hawkins big thing in drawdown is educating girls so the more educated the women are the less likely they are to have children so as you raise that floor then you're looking at one or two kids at most if you get it down to one then we're in a declining population yeah well if you're going down two because remember they need to do a job like for uh her and her husband right and obviously there's there's a different trend we we can see we see decoupling like our reproductive function from our kind of life it's just a lot of technological front in terms of um our ability to have babies without actually you know being your like mother of this but what i was about to say is um this whole thing is is happening and um our reproduction race has been in decline and simply because people have more choice there's just more alternatives and it's it's good that they they're using that but again it's you don't want to live in the world like i think it was singapore figure like 25 of the people of population of singapore is already 65 plus so you need to respond and some same happening in japan same will happen in u.s so we need to work with the increasing quality of life of the people who are in in all stage and the way to address that is is addressing health span because we need to increase health span in parallel with with what is happening now we increase of the lifespan as well so that's one and there's external component to that your own health is important but the health of the planet is important as well because many of us behave in a way that we just ignore we don't take responsibility for what what's our relationship with mother nature is because simply the old mentality is like you know i will not be alive then yeah and and this thing will be sorted out by my kind of kids and and grandkids sure so the idea if you're going to be around a lot longer than yeah again remember i'm like ideally right so the idea is getting that yeah the idea is that if we face a problem that we're going to live with consequences of our own action i think this will drive a much larger uh feeling and sense of responsibility for what we're doing so anyway but if you're a dude and you're around for 200 years and you had a kid 50 years ago who doesn't talk to you anymore maybe you think maybe i should have another one right or if you're a woman and you're in this future situation that you're imagining where you could actually toggle your biological age and you know i want to be 25 or whatever and you're fertile for 200 years are you only going to have one or two kids yeah we're going to have multiple generations of kids that's and they're all going to be living that long yeah so i don't know the math seems yeah so i've done the math so i was just planning i'm visualizing a lot because i do believe like my mantra is to live 200 years in 25 years old body so that's i'm a great believer of psychological aspect of aging it's actually this changing to this paradigm mental paradigm has changed my life a lot because every morning i wake up i have like three fourth of my life ahead of me i can dream i can think big i can actually change the world in a positive way but um so if if you think about this one um i do so the math is if i'm going to have in my like 150 years old party uh so i just did a calculation and if i will invite only immediate family and immediate friends it's gonna be like 15 000 people party when i turn 150.
we'll be back in a sec but first if you dig this podcast and i hope you dig this podcast then i think you'll really enjoy my latest book voicing change featuring excerpts from poignant essays by and glorious photography of some 50 of my favorite guests over the last eight plus years of doing this thing this podcast it's a gorgeous artful compendium of the show and copious wisdom shared therein all wrapped in a hardcover coffee table form that provides a great taste of what we do here at the rrp and serves as a beautiful keepsake or gift for the ardent fan the book is only and exclusively available on our website signed copies are available and we are shipping globally direct to any coffee table on planet earth so to learn more and snag your copy today visit richroll.com vc that's richroll.com vc all right let's get back into it one thing that comes to my mind when i the more i think about this is the mental health piece of this my instinct is that it would provoke an existential crisis in many because in tandem with these innovations will come basically an economy driven by ai and robots who are performing a lot of the jobs that we don't have and maybe we have a universal basic income situation but like where are people going to find meaning in their lives and when they're going to be living so long how do you anchor you know that that quest or whatever it is that gets people excited when they wake up in the morning to go out and be in the world how does that how does that get anchored in a timeline that has become so extended like i i don't know that we're we can even predict what that would feel like yeah i agree and um again i can talk only in terms of opportunities in the future which kind of this picture of the future give us uh today i'm also again i'm not really like the futurist who just like embrace whatever will happen there for me it's just important reason to have a discussion that we have today and go through our choices but i do think it's an opportunity for us for us and i know it sounds idealistic to connect to ourselves because i do believe that uh if you take out the noise of the environment and our social norms and social pressure we are much better we are much we humans are kind okay so that's the opportunity to relate to your heart to your mind to realize your dreams to to do the things that you always were dreaming of doing so that's um so that's my yeah and uh opportunity talk i hear that well let's talk about the economic implications of all of this because the other piece which is kind of a gattaca thing right or what was that other movie where they were all up in like some orbiting spacecraft where they were sleeping in pods and i can't remember it but anyway you know as this plays out in science fiction typically there's going to be a huge underclass and there will be the one percent who have access to this type of technology to you know be if not immortal live for a very long time in beautiful bodies and have access to all of these privileges that the rest of us don't the example that you you illustrate in the book is or the kind of thought experiment is the dictator who you know basically refuses to step down is going to be there forever yeah um the power differential and the economic implications of this yeah so i do believe that everything we've seen in terms of scientific and technological progress in the course of like every invention in the course of 10 to 20 years becoming like super affordable so think about the smartphone example uh like a seller of phone like 25 30 years ago it was a thing which cost you like 10 000 dollars probably more it was like super heavy uh right now if you go to like electronic market in china you're gonna pay like nine dollars for the working version of the smartphone so that's why or you think about cola guard example uh which helps to identify colon cancer it's extremely early stage well this is test which cost nineteen dollars so i do believe that technological and and scientific innovation give us an opportunity not to kind of increase the gap but as also to empower um and and bring technologies and inventions which would improve everyone's life but again like we just we keep coming back to that uh i so my yeah i'm always it's it's funny so i have a mission of changing one billion lives and it's always going to be one person in the audience who just stand up and and say sergey why only one billion we have seven billion people on the planet and you forgot about the rest so i i like when people kind of make me responsible for like whole problems of this world but in a way i'm just i'm in a i'm on a mission to bring affordable and accessible version of health to everyone at the fraction of cost against what we pay today think about you know even if we and every technology that we invest in is like 10 20 times cheaper than today's equivalent so think about us releasing like nine percent of us gdp and spending on some other things right yeah education housing helping you know making people uh happier i think the opportunity is there and i i don't really gonna accept the idea of well sergey well this is your thought well let's just like how are you gonna solve it i i accept that idea guys there's something happening and this is gonna happen whether we want it or not like twofold increase of a lifespan that we've seen in the last country well let's have a dialogue let's be active let's be responsible let's make sure we we take back control and responsibility for our own health and the health of our planet so that's the idea yeah in other words you're confident that these difficult questions and and problems that this will will bring up or ourselves also solvable yeah yeah i do like everything we solved so far right in human history and we always have a tendency to look like a negative side