Immortality, Inc.: Renegade Science, Silicon Valley Billions, and the Quest to Live Forever

Chip Walter. National Geographic, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4262-1980-1
Readers will find out where humanity stands in the quest to prolong life and outwit aging in this easy-to-read, journalistic work from Walter (Last Ape Standing), a journalist, documentarian, and former CNN bureau chief. He opens by describing Alcor, an institution dedicated to preserving, and possibly one day resuscitating, the recently deceased. However, his focus is elsewhere—on the goal of avoiding death in the first place. Walter reveals an ongoing effort spearheaded by a group of Baby Boomer Silicon Valley entrepreneurs—Aubrey de Grey, Ray Kurzweil, Art Levinson, Larry Page, and J. Craig Venter, among others. Having arrived at a rejection of death’s inevitability via various paths—computing, medicine, and hard science—together they’ve embraced a view of aging as a disease, and thus as being curable, or even preventable. So far, not much definitive has come out of their efforts, Walter acknowledges, but vast resources have been poured into researching the diseases associated with aging, by looking at DNA, stem cells, and the microbiome. Not deeply technical, Walter’s study works best as an admiring, if sometimes amused, look at these idealistic, possibly overreaching visionaries. His fascinating account will interest those who want to know more about Silicon Valley’s rainmakers, as well as where science now stands on preventing and curing disease. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 09/04/2019
Release date: 01/07/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-1-4262-1983-2
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