Google announces Calico to extend human life, tackle age-related diseases

Google announces Calico to extend human life, tackle age-related diseases
Google has announced the formation of Calico, a new company that will focus on human longevity, health and well-being, and particularly on diseases and the challenges faced from the aging process.

The new company will be headed up by chief executive Arthur D. Levinson, who is Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple.

Specifics about Calico are few and far between, but the upcoming September 30 edition of TIME magazine features a provocative cover asking; "Can Google solve DEATH?" The issue will profile Larry Page and this new venture.

One of the challenges for Calico, it seems, is to analyse how resources should be used on health research to get the best results. Page points out to TIME magazine that with all the exceptional amounts of money spent on cancer research, curing cancer would only add approximately three years to the average life expectancy of human beings. Of course, there are reasons why cancer gets so much attention, it affects us all at some point in our lives through our own health or the health of family and friends.

There are other efforts under-way too that seek to unravel the inner-workings of age-related illnesses and hopefully find ways to drastically delay the effects, halt, or even reverse them. The SENS Research Foundation is an example, also based on Mountain View.

Despite taking a new role as CEO of Calico, Levinson will continue in his role as Chairman of Genentech, Chairman of Apple and a director of Hoffmann-La Roche.

"Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives. It's impossible to imagine anyone better than Art--one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation--to take this new venture forward," said Google chief executive Larry Page.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook also gave his nod of approval to the project, and to the appointment of Levinson to oversee it.

"For too many of our friends and family, life has been cut short or the quality of their life is too often lacking. Art is one of the crazy ones who thinks it doesn't have to be this way. There is no one better suited to lead this mission and I am excited to see the results," Cook said.

Levinson himself also spoke of his excitement as his new role.

"I've devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health. Larry's focus on outsized improvements has inspired me, and I'm tremendously excited about what's next."

Written by: James Delahunty @ 18 Sep 2013 18:47
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  • Qliphah

    Well lets see, the first step would be to dissolve the rich in this world and allow everyone to have a clean, fulfilling, comfortable life. If just a hand full of multibillionaires would consider handing over their vaults of money that just sits there collecting dust and interest something could be done right NOW.

    We've been over this for more than 3000 years, and yet even in richest of nations there are people scraping by to pay bills, children that don't know if they will eat the next day, and homeless when so many houses sit in limbo after the housing crash.

    Consider this, a welfare system for everyone. Food, water, shelter, access to internet and basic news and entertainment. These would all be givens, i.e. they are a right for everyone to have at no cost. Those that work and have their own income would be able to use that for bettering their own lives and those of their family. I would estimate 10~15k a year given to everyone wouldn't even dent some of the bigger bankers. Bill Gates himself could fund a project like this for decades with just the money he has now.

    The term 99% has already become passee, the new term should be the 0.001, the one-one-millionth that owns 99% of the actual money.

    19.9.2013 10:48 #1

  • Scaldari

    I would have to agree with you. As we move forward with modernization of our entire planet we just do not need the pool of labor we have now. Its not their fault and if we were not in such a production based society it would be considered a good thing. There literally just is not enough work to go around anymore to support the old way of doing things. There was an article several decades ago that saw this coming but figured it would work out differently. They figured that people would just have to work less and less for the same amount of money and everyone would get more leisure time etc. instead we are working just as much, (if you are lucky enough to find work) for less money than before and the employers are pocketing the difference. If the profit sharing model had been kept the same then that prediction would have born out. But it has not, employers are keeping more and more, and finding ways to justify giving their workforce less and less of the share. We need a huge change in how we view everything if we are going to make it. The old production models will just burn out our planet with hoarding and waste. Just look at how much food goes to the landfill because someone didn't have the money to pay for it as a prime example.

    Account Created Saturday 12 January 2008. After 5 years I consider myself a Sr. Member no matter WHAT my post count says.

    19.9.2013 15:08 #2

  • Qliphah

    I'd heard about the same reference to the shorter work requirements and had to look up the source, I believe it's from this book

    And you're comments about the waste of food is a odd corollary to what the FDA is now saying about expiration dates. They estimate the average family throws away more than 1/2 the food they buy because they are conditioned to think if the use by or even sell by day has passed the food is bad. That's just another misconception where we waste so much time and effort when really living within your means and using good common sense would work much better than following the prescribed methods of those in control (who usually do not know how the ones they preside over really live).

    19.9.2013 16:33 #3

  • senator29

    Google is truly amazing. They have made good, bad and awesome choices. Hard to say if this will prove to be of any substance but only time will tell. I do for sure believe Google has a much higher invested commitment to the actual outcome of such a project rather than a smoke screen to collect money.

    What is more amazing is the couple comments here. I am glad to know I am not crazy and not the only one seeing this world is screwed up and that there are solutions. Solutions a select few would s**t their diapers if they became reality.

    20.9.2013 11:52 #4

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