Yearly Archives: 2011

New gene therapy for hemophilia B

From the NYT:

Medical researchers in Britain have successfully treated six patients suffering from the blood-clotting disease known as hemophilia B by injecting them with the correct form of a defective gene, a landmark achievement in the troubled field of gene therapy.

It’s worth pointing out that gene therapy hasn’t been “troubled” in the last few years, and instead, there have been some rather amazing successes. Some I detail in my book, 100 Plus, and here’s an example that was also covered by the NYT.

DNA: The next big hacking frontier

Vivek Wadhwa, who has just joined us at Singularity University, wrote this article for the Washington Post on hacking DNA. Much of his argument echos what I say in 100 Plus: “Just as the personal computer revolution brought information technology from corporate data centers to the masses, the biology revolution is personalizing science”

The age at which scientists produce their most valuable work has been increasing

This is an interesting article from The Scientist. Here’s an excerpt:

According to economists Benjamin Jones and Bruce Weinberg, young scientists making groundbreaking contributions to their fields are becoming an endangered breed. In a study published November 7th in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they reported that the chances a Nobel Prize winner at the turn of the 21st century produced their winning work by the age 30 or even 40 is close to zero.

Their analysis of 525 Nobel Prize winners (182 in physics, 153 in chemistry, and 190 in medicine) between 1900 and 2008, revealed that while the mean age at which they did their Nobel-prize winning work was around 37 for the three fields in the early 20th century, they are now around 50, 46, and 45 for Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine, respectively.

Mayo Clinic study shows the plasticity of aging

This is the latest in a series of studies to show that aging can be manipulated. If scientists were able to do for humans what these Mayo Clinic researchers did for mice, many more people would be in much better health at older ages. Now, why isn’t everyone who cares about the cost of health care rallying for more work in this area?

Here’s a Wired report on the work as well as one by the Economist.

Big Think article about 100 Plus

From “What Happens When the Average Lifespan Hits 100?” by Megan Erickson:

“Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it,” said W. Somerset Maughm. Which is, of course, the way most of us would prefer it.

For all our willingness to play with fire, the human species has quite a flair for not getting burned. The same combination of irrationality and ingenuity that we bring to finding new ways to fight each other also informs our quest for eternal life. We don’t just want to survive. We want to be immortal. We want to defy illness, build utopia, and track down the fountain of youth. We may soon get our wish, says Sonia Arrison, a writer and futurist, thanks to the “coming longevity revolution.”

Don’t Be Afraid To Live Longer, Justin Timberlake

Here is my review of the new Justin Timberlake longevity-themed movie for Slate Magazine. This Hollywood-created world gets everything wrong about what life in a longer-lived society would look like. While its dystopian nature was disappointing, it was still an entertaining flick. Now, the challenge is for someone to write an exciting movie closer to reality!

Ben Goertzel’s Review of 100 Plus

Can be found here.

Ben says:

I have to congratulate Sonia Arrison on putting together a book that is both highly accessible to newbies with no prior background in transhumanist thinking or longevity research, and also richly interesting to those of us who have playing in these regions of conceptual space for a long time.

Video of my Singularity Summit Talk

In case you didn’t make the Singularity Summit, here is the talk I delivered there. As I’ve said before, this conference was a really great production this year. Can’t wait to see what next year brings!

Singularity Summit was Excellent — MSNBC Article

Last weekend’s Singularity Summit in NYC was an excellent event. I enjoyed meeting many smart folks interested in future tech issues. Here’s an article from MSNBC about the event, as well as a photo taken by my friend Steve Rosenbaum:

Having healthier people around for longer means that they can remain productive far later in life, Arrison pointed out. Many past innovators accomplished some of their greatest or most creative work relatively late in life — Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa at 51, and Benjamin Franklin conducted his kite experiment at 46.

“Innovation is a late-peak field,” Arrison told the audience gathered at the Singularity Summit.

White House Seeks Ideas for National Bioeconomy Blueprint

From GenomeWeb News:

The Obama Administration is asking the biomedical and biotech industries and research communities for their ideas about what steps the country should take to support and advance biological research innovation and business.

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy wants interested parties to provide comments on ways to address new challenges and opportunities related to biological research innovations, including genomics and high-throughput technologies, as it develops its National Bioeconomy Blueprint.

Singularity Summit in NYC Next Week

I’ll be speaking at the Singularity Summit next week in NYC and (if you haven’t bought it yet) I’ve been told that you can pick up a copy of my book, 100 Plus there. Below is a description of the conference, which promises to be exhilarating.

The Singularity Summit 2011 will be a TED-style two-day event at the historic 92nd Street Y in New York City. Speakers include futurist Ray Kurzweil, visionary scientist Stephen Wolfram, IBM manager Dan Cerutti, longevity expert Sonia Arrison, author David Brin, neuroscientist Christof Koch, PayPal founder Peter Thiel, MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark, AI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky, MIT polymath Alexander Wissner-Gross, DARPA challenge winner Riley Crane, Skype founder Jaan Tallinn, Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings, economist Tyler Cowen, television personalities Jason Silva and Casey Pieretti, and robotics professors James McLurnkin and Robin Murphy.

100 Plus Discussion on TechCrunch TV today

I had a fun conversation with TechCrunch TV’s Andrew Keen about 100 Plus. He asked me how old I am. I guess I’m not old fashioned, because I don’t mind answering. :)

This week: Fortune MPW, Guest Blogging at the Volokh Conspiracy

There is a lot going on this week, reminding me once again of how I’d like to have more time. I’m in southern California today attending the Fortune Most Powerful Women conference and I’m also guest blogging over at the Volokh Conspiracy.

The fun doesn’t end there, though. Following this, I will be headed back to NYC to speak at the Singularity Summit with a line up of fascinating speakers including Ken Jennings (former Jeopardy! champion), Dan Cerutti (VP of Commercialization for Watson at IBM), Stephen Wolfram, Ray Kurzweil, Christof Koch, Tyler Cowen, Max Tegmark, Peter Thiel, John Mauldin, David Brin and many others.