One of the more fantastic seeming predictions having to do with extreme life extention involves the use of microscopic nanobots swimming around in our bloodstream monitoring our health, clearing debris and toxins and keeping us healthy from the inside out.
So far this month, a number of reports show how medical technologies are actually working on bringing this to reality.
Stanford engineers reported on the development of wireless, self-propelled swimmers (not quite nano sized) that could be used to deliver drugs to targeted sites in your body. Another study appearing in the journal Nature Chemistry and reviewed in Wired magazine, discussed the invention of the first “nano-robots” that could also shuttle drugs to specific locations or assist in micro-surgery.
Finally, Dr. Shawn Douglas of Harvard University discussed (on the February 25th CBC show “Quirks and Quarks”) a recent success using “DNA Origami” – where his team constructed a 35 nanometer sized robot made out of DNA which was like a nano-sized space shuttle that could deliver chemical payloads to specific cells. The DNA device can be tweeked to only open upon coming into contact with a specific type of cell i.e. a cancer cell.
While advances in biotechnology are bringing usable medical innovations, it is likely the nanotechnology applications will be the real game changer in defining what is the future in human healthy lifespan. It is at the nano-scale that engineers are beginning to re-configure our outdated human software – namely DNA.
Why is this of interest? By tracking these kind of developments, we can assess how likely the prospects of extreme healthy lifespans are in our lifetime. It is easy to miss the impact of these reports because we are designed to think of the future of medical advances in a linear way… i.e. a gradual progress like the last 20 years. However, because medical science has now been married with information technology, the advances are occurring at an exponential rate. As medical progress rides the growth, power, and miniturization of technology, the next 20 years will rock our world.
Gaining insight and confidence in what these innovations might mean to us is important. Consider that if we thought it was highly likely that we will be a healthy, going concern at age 120, it would help us make the right financial and lifestyle decisions now. (this is the main premise of RetirementSingularity.com)
Live (really) long and prosper!