Death is a certainty that all living beings must face, but what if we could beat it? The advances in biotechnology and artificial intelligence, or AI, have raised the question of whether death can be conquered.
This article explores the potential of biotech and AI to achieve immortality, farfetched as it seems, and the pros and cons associated with this idea.
Advancements in Biotech
Biotechnology is a rapidly evolving field that is focused on using biological processes, systems, and organisms to create new products, technologies, and solutions. Significant advancements in biotech have led to the development of treatments and therapies that can extend human life. One of the most promising areas of biotech research is the development of stem cell therapies.
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can differentiate into different types of cells and tissues in the body. Stem cell therapies involve transplanting stem cells into damaged or diseased tissues to regenerate and repair them. This can be used to treat various conditions, including spinal cord injuries, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
Another area of biotech research that has the potential to extend human life is gene therapy. Gene therapy involves introducing genetic material into a patient’s cells to treat or prevent disease.
This can be used to treat genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, and to prevent age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Advancements in AI
AI focuses on developing machines that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as perception, learning, reasoning, and decision-making. AI can transform many industries, including healthcare, by providing new tools and solutions to improve patient outcomes and extend human life.
One of the most promising applications of AI in healthcare is precision medicine. Precision medicine involves genetic and other data to tailor medical treatments to individual patients. AI can be used to analyse vast amounts of data to identify patterns and insights that can be used to develop personalised treatment plans.
Another area of research that can potentially extend human life is the development of autonomous medical systems. Autonomous medical systems are machines that can perform medical tasks without human intervention. These systems can be used to monitor patient health, administer medications, and perform surgical procedures.
AI and Biotech
AI can help progress the biotech industry in fields such as stem cell treatment and gene therapy, which we mentioned above.
While stem cell treatment has shown promise in treating a range of diseases, it is still a relatively new field, and much is not yet understood about how stem cells work and how they can be effectively used in therapy.
AI can play a vital role in advancing stem cell treatment by helping to identify the best type of stem cell for a given condition and optimising the conditions under which the stem cells are grown and differentiated into specific cell types. It can also help to predict the likelihood of success for a given stem cell therapy and identify potential side effects or complications.
One company that is working on using AI to advance stem cell treatment is Insilico Medicine. The company uses AI to develop new drugs and therapies for various diseases, including cancer, fibrosis, and ageing. The company’s platform uses deep learning algorithms to analyse large amounts of data and identify potential drug targets and therapies. The video below is an explainer of one of their products.
Similarly, gene therapy is a new field that can benefit from AI; which can play a crucial role in advancing gene therapy by helping to identify the best targets for gene therapy and optimising the delivery of genes to the target cells. It can also help predict gene therapy’s potential outcomes and identify possible side effects or complications.
One company that is working on using AI to advance gene therapy is Homology Medicines. The company is developing gene therapies for various genetic diseases, including phenylketonuria (PKU) and sickle cell disease. The company’s platform uses AI to design and optimise the delivery of gene therapies to make gene therapy more effective and accessible.
The Issues With Conquering Death
The idea of conquering death with biotech and AI has several potential benefits and risks. Some of the most significant pros and cons are outlined below.
- Improved quality of life: Conquering death could significantly improve the quality of life for older adults. We could eliminate many of the problems associated with ageing, such as chronic diseases and disability.
- Advancements in science and technology: Immortality could lead to significant advances in science, technology, and culture by allowing our brightest minds to continue contributing to society.
- Increased productivity: If people lived indefinitely, they would have more time to contribute to society, leading to increased productivity and economic growth.
- Overpopulation: One of the most significant risks associated with conquering death is the potential for overpopulation. With people living indefinitely, the world’s population would continue to grow, straining resources and exacerbating environmental issues.
- Unequal distribution of access: Ethical considerations are associated with unequal access to immortality technology. If only the wealthy and powerful could access these technologies, it could exacerbate existing inequalities.
- Loss of cultural traditions: Immortality could lead to the loss of cultural traditions and the stagnation of cultural evolution.
The Challenges With Conquering Death
While AI and biotech hold significant promise for advancing medicine and extending human life, many challenges must be overcome before death can indeed be conquered.
One of the primary challenges is the ethical implications of using these technologies to extend life. While many people would welcome the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives, there are concerns about the potential consequences of such an advancement.
For example, there may be questions about who would have access to these technologies and how they would be distributed. There may also be concerns about the impact on the planet and the potential strain on resources if the population continues to grow as people live longer.
Another challenge is the complexity of the human body and the many factors that can impact health and longevity. While AI and biotech can help identify potential therapies and treatments, much is still not yet understood about how the body works and how it can be effectively treated.
For example, there are many different types of cancer, each with unique characteristics and challenges. Developing effective therapies for each type of cancer will require a deep understanding of the underlying biology and a willingness to experiment with new approaches.
There are also challenges related to developing and regulating new therapies and treatments. Developing new drugs and therapies is a long and expensive process. There is always a risk that a promising treatment will fail in clinical trials or have unforeseen side effects. In addition, there are regulatory challenges related to getting new therapies approved and ensuring they are safe and effective for humans.
Finally, there are challenges related to using AI and biotech in healthcare. For example, there may be concerns about the accuracy and reliability of AI algorithms, particularly when making decisions about human health. There may also be questions about how AI and biotech will impact the roles of healthcare providers and whether machines in the future will replace them.
Market Statistics and Use Cases
The biotech and AI industries are rapidly growing and have significant potential to transform healthcare and extend human life. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global biotech market size was valued at $1,023.92 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.9% from 2022 to 2030. The report cites the growing demand for biopharmaceuticals and increasing investment in biotech research as key market growth drivers.
Several companies are working in biotech and AI to develop new therapies and solutions that can extend human life. One such company is Unity Biotechnology, which focuses on developing therapies targeting the underlying causes of age-related diseases. The company’s lead program is a senolytic therapy that targets senescent cells, which are cells that have stopped dividing and contribute to age-related diseases.
Another company in the biotech space is Moderna, best known for developing one of the first COVID-19 vaccines. The company is also working on developing mRNA therapies that could be used to treat a range of diseases, including cancer and rare genetic disorders.
In AI, several companies are developing solutions to improve patient outcomes and extend human life. One such company is Deep Genomics, which uses AI to create new therapies for genetic diseases. The company’s platform combines genomics and machine learning to identify genetic mutations that cause disease and develop new therapies to treat them.
The idea of conquering death with biotech and AI is a tantalising prospect but comes with significant challenges and risks. While biotech and AI have the potential to extend human life and improve the quality of life in old age, there are also substantial ethical considerations associated with immortality.
As these two industries continue to evolve, it is crucial to consider the challenges and risks and work towards developing solutions that can extend human life sustainably and ethically. The goal is to improve the quality of life for all, not just for some.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely the author’s opinion and not investment advice – it is provided for educational purposes only. By using this, you agree that the information does not constitute any investment or financial instructions. Do conduct your own research and reach out to financial advisors before making any investment decisions.
The author of this text, Jean Chalopin, is a global business leader with a background encompassing banking, biotech, and entertainment. Mr. Chalopin is Chairman of Deltec International Group, www.deltec.io.
The co-author of this text, Robin Trehan, has a bachelor’s degree in economics, a master’s in international business and finance, and an MBA in electronic business. Mr. Trehan is a Senior VP at Deltec International Group, www.deltec.io.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text are solely the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Deltec International Group, its subsidiaries, and/or its employees.