Health / Pharma

On dying after your time

This fall, Google announced that it would venture into territory far removed from Internet search. Through a new company, Calico, it will be “tackling” the “challenge” of ageing.
The announcement, though, was vague about what exactly the challenge is and how exactly Google means to tackle it. Calico may, with the aid of Big Data, simply intensify present efforts to treat the usual chronic diseases that afflict the elderly, like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. But there is a more ambitious possibility: to “treat” the ageing process itself in an attempt to slow it.
Of course, the dream of beating back time is an old one. Shakespeare had King Lear lament the tortures of ageing, while the myth of Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth in Florida and the eternal life of the Struldbrugs in Gulliver’s Travels both fed the notion of overcoming ageing.

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