Thursday, 19 September 2013

Will Google give us Immortality ?

Will Google give us immortality?

Maybe not. But with the announcement of Calico and its stated mission of "tackling ageing and illness", Google is bringing us one step closer to humanity's inevitable future of immortality and singularity. Although my concept of Engineering The Cure is bigger than the simple immortality, it certainly is an important part in curing the humanity. Even doubling a healthy lifespan towards a hundred years would result in great societal change by encouraging people to think long term ,removing time constraint of our lives and increasing productivity. Google as a technology company is best positioned to do this. In  past few decades, technology companies has dramatically altered or exterminated many old business models on many areas from newspaper to retail. Healthcare is an exception to that. It is still being controlled by the old gate keepers and run by the old mindset. The time is ripe for change.
TIME pointed out correctly that medicine is becoming an information science While we still do not know Calico's plans, here is a short wishlist of mine as a biomedical engineer:

  1. Predicting the disease risk from lifestyle, genetics and wearable sensors. Google could do that easily, it is basically the same thing with its search and Ads.
  2. Suggestion for lifestyle changes through a service like Google Now.
  3. Smartphones and Augmented Reality devices as not only personal computer/assistant but also as medical adviser, through data from sensors and Google-ish processing power.
  4. Personal sensor system including  wearable devices continuously monitoring body activities, ECG, EEG, blood glucose, cholesterol level, bio-impedance and environmental gas and temperature coupled with camera and audio recording from Google Glass. As an example, Glass or any other AR system should recognize the content and frequency of food and drink we are taking (through image processing) and use body activity data to suggest amount of exercise and medication. AR devices could even teach you how to do a specific exercise and monitor whether you are doing correctly through the gyroscope and accelerometers.
  5. Developing Medicine targeting cell and tissue ageing effects at molecular level.
  6. Highly personalized medicine based on genetics and lifestyle data.
  7. IBM's Watson like AI on web that can give medical advice. Or put it at least in the hospital as a clinical decision support system reducing doctors' time.
  8. Finally, a complete AI doctor, who can know you more than any doctor could with the help of continuous monitoring sensors and have the experience of treating billions of people.

Another good news is that Art Levinsona PhD in biochemistry and former CEO of Genetech, would be leading the company. For sure, technocrat would always be a much better choice than businesspeople in this kind of project.
Aung Thiha