Google announced that it is getting in the immortality game, with the launch of an absurdly ambitious new venture that literally aims to stop death. The new venture is a moonshot, Page says, a word he uses to describe Googles often outlandish attempts to bring the world into the future.
“Are people really focused on the right things?” Page told TIME. “One of the things I thought was amazing is that if you solve cancer, you’d add about three years to people’s average life expectancy. We think of solving cancer as this huge thing that’ll totally change the world. But when you really take a step back and look at it, yeah, there are many, many tragic cases of cancer, and it’s very, very sad, but in the aggregate, it’s not as big an advance as you might think.”
In fact, Page suggests that the ultimate goal of Calico is to cure, or rather solve, aging and deatha quixotic goal even for a company that is building a driverless car and wants to use helium balloons to expand Internet access.
Here’s a rundown of Silicon Valley’s recent attempts to find immortality:
Ellison Medical Foundation: Founded by billionaire Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, the fifth-richest person in the world, the Ellison Medical Foundation doles out more than $40 million a year for research in the biology of aging, according to executive director Kevin Lee.
The SENS Research Foundation: Another Thiel-backed venture, this Mountain View nonprofit is dedicated to the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, a range of regenerative medical therapies that repair damage to human tissue with the ultimate goal of postponing aging.
Glenn Foundation for Medical Research: Funded by a nine-figure endowment by veteran California venture capitalist Paul F. Glenn, the Glenn Foundation’s stated objective is to “extend the healthy productive years of life through research on the mechanisms of biological aging.”
Elixir Pharmaceuticals: A genomics-based drug company, Elixir is trying to make a pill that would slow down the aging process and forestall age-related diseases.
Maximum Life Foundation: Founded by human longevity advocate David Kekich, the Maximum Life Foundation identifies and supports emerging medical technologies with the goal of reversing the human aging process by 2033.