“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – said Alan Kay, computer legend in 1971.
Recently I had a comment dialogue with Chris on whether state-supported research or industrial business enterprises can (or should) lead to big progress in robust and healthy life extension technologies. Besides the government and corporation coin the research breakthrough could come from an aging focused foundation like the non-profit Methuselah Foundation behind the SENS approach, which supports research projects (like MitoSENS and LysoSENS) and scientists (like Mark and John) through cooperation with university labs. And finally, there is going to be another option to contribute:
Imagine the following future scenario: biotech DIY is becoming an accepted home activity so geeks are setting up private labs and conduct basic in vitro (but not in vivo) research. There are clubs (social networks on the web) and support systems for registered (legal) bioDIYers and there are cooperations with university labs, biotech firms, academic research institutes in the form of outsourcing. The garage biologists are doing basic genomics, proteomics and cellular-level experiments (but no animal work), preparing sample preparations for high-throughput measurements in pro labs, et cetera. In this intellectual and practical climate a lot of aging related research problems could be addressed in backyard labs too if there are well defined experimental problems and questions distributed in a common channel (website). And so organizations like the Methuselah Foundation can embrace this type of homegrown research activity in order to make an additive progress in aging/life extension oriented research. On the web, the infrastructure backing that kind of open science grassroots movement is ready.
PS: The Full Alan Kay Quote
“Don’t worry about what anybody else is going to do… The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Really smart people with reasonable funding can do just about anything that doesn’t violate too many of Newton’s Laws!”
— Alan Kay in 1971,
inventor of Smalltalk which was the inspiration and technical basis for the MacIntosh and subsequent windowing based systems (NextStep, Microsoft Windows 3.1/95/98/NT, X-Windows, Motif, etc…).