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Buying Immortality?

Tech billionaires are at the forefront of the quest for eternal life. Are they mad, or is there something in this search for the fountain of youth?
By Ben Raworth
12/12/2023

Back in 2017 Former Facebook President Sean Parker said: “Because I am a billionaire I am going to have access to better healthcare. So, I am going to be 160 and I’m going to be part of this class of immortal overlords.” He may – may – have been joking, but recent tech bro behaviour suggests his words are what many in Silicon Valley actually think. In early 2022, Jeff Bezos revealed he was funnelling $3 billion into biotech start-up Altos Labs, whose research is focused on cellular rejuvenation programmes aimed at “reversing disease, injury and disability.” Google-funded Calico Labs has stated its aim is to “develop interventions to allow people to live longer, healthier lives” and will “solve death”, while Elon Musk has invested heavily in Neuralink in order to explore the technology of putting small computer implants in the brain.

Square CEO Jack Dorsey claims to eat just five meals a week while tech bro Serge Faguet takes 60 supplements, SSRIs and hormones with breakfast. Faguet’s cocktail of drugs includes somatropin for muscle growth, antidepressants, lithium, oestrogen blockers (to boost testosterone levels) and diabetes drug metformin (for anti-ageing). Novak Djokovic, often hangs out in a pressurized egg to enrich his blood with oxygen and gives pep talks to glasses of water, hoping to purify them with positive thinking before he drinks them. Tom Brady, 45, evangelizes supposedly age-defying supplements, hydration powders and pliability spheres. LeBron James, 38, is said to spend $1.5 million a year on his body to keep Father Time at bay.

But nobody quite matches up to Bryan Johnson. Johnson, 45, revealed that he had recruited his 17-year-old son and 70-year-old dad for a multi-generational blood plasma swap. This is just the latest bizarre venture in his quest for longevity, ‘Project Blueprint.’ Previously, Johnson has undergone monthly MRIs and invested in an overnight erection tracker as part of his $2 million annual longevity expenses.

IF A FORMULA TO PROLONG HUMAN LIFE IS FINALLY FOUND, IT WILL BE TOO EXPENSIVE FOR AVERAGE PEOPLE TO AFFORD 

“There are all these people who say that death is natural, it’s just part of life, and I think that nothing can be further from the truth,” PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel says. To him: “death is a problem that can be solved.” What all the tech bros –almost exclusively men– invested in this quest admit is: if, somehow, they do find an intervention to extend the human lifespan, it will be too expensive for average people to afford, which would create two entirely different classes of humans: one group with money that can live to 150. And another group that can’t.

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