How to Live Two Years Longer Using Your Cell Phone - Alex Backer - H+ Summit @ Harvard


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Alex Backer
Ph.D. Founder and CEO, ab|inventio,
the invention factory behind QLess,
Whozat, and

Why We Age, How Aging is Good For You, How to Live Two Years Longer Using Your Cell Phone & Beyond

Alex's talk will be divided in three parts. The first will explain the selective advantage of aging, or why biology evolved a genetic program to age. The second will teach you how to live two years longer using your cell phone. The third will make a specific proposal to extend lifespan: that of redundant organs with failover systems with real-time wireless sensing devices for monitoring, repair and replacement.

A scientist, inventor and entrepreneur, Alex Backer represented his country twice at the International Olympiads of Informatics. Alex holds a degree in Biology and Economics from MIT, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Computation and Neural Systems and Biology from the California Institute of Technology, where he was awarded the Dean’s award for ‘great contributions and outstanding qualities of Leadership and Responsibility’. He has held positions at McKinsey & Co., the Department of Computational Biology and Evolutionary Computing at the Center for Computation, Computers, Information and Mathematics of Sandia National Labs, and the Biology Division of Caltech. He is the founder of Adapt Technologies™, a pioneer of search engine marketing technology, abinventio™, the invention factory, QLess™, an award-winning wireless solution that has saved more than three hundred thousand users from standing in line at DMVs, retail stores of Fortune 100 companies, restaurants, shopping malls, doctors' offices, colleges and salons across two continents, Whozat™, The People Search Engine™, named one of the 100 hottest start-ups in the world by TechCrunch, a semantic search engine with machine vision, and which beat Google and every other search engine tested 3 to 1 or more in results relevance in a blind people search comparison, and Social Diligence™, which offers the first resume- or file-based search engine, capable of scouring the web for information related to any document. Alex was appointed by the President to serve in the California Institute of Technology's Information Sciences and Technology Board of Advisors. Alex has been an invited speaker at numerous conferences on diverse science and technology topics around the world. Alex and his creations have been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Business Week, CNET, Mashable, and many other leading publications. Alex is always looking for world-class entrepreneurial people to help bring about innovation through technology.

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How to Live Two Years Longer Using Your Cell Phone - Alex Backer - H+ Summit @ Harvard

  1. 1. Why  we  age,  and  how  to  extend  your  enjoyable   lifespan  by  2  years  using  your  cell  phone Alex  Backer,  Ph.D. Founder  &  CEO ab|invenGo,  the  invenGon  factory
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  6. 6. Animals  have  a  GeneGc  Program  to  Age   • If  you  knock   aging  genes  off,   a  worm  will  live   twice  as  long. Leni  Guarente  (MIT),  Cori  Bargmann  (UCSF),  Cynthia  Kenyon  (UCSF),  Javier  Apfeld  (Harvard)
  7. 7. Aging  makes  you  fiZer • Knocking  out  a  gene  is  easy   for  evoluGon  to  do. • These  animals  evolved  to   age,  i.e.  genomes  of  animals   with  the  aging  gene   outcompeted  those  without   it. • Why?  How?
  8. 8. EvoluGon  has  opGmized  the  geneGc  distance   between  generaGons • Too  liZle  variaGon,  and   evoluGon  is  too  slow  and   species  cannot  adapt  to   changing  environments  fast   enough. • Too  much,  and  most   progeny  will  not  survive. The  apple  doesn’t  fall  far  from  the  tree  -­‐-­‐but  it  can’t  fall  too  close,  either.
  9. 9. The  opGmal  geneGc  distance  between  generaGons   varies  with  fitness  &  environmental  change • The  happier  you  are  in  your  environment,  the   less  incenGve  to  change  your  genes  for  your   progeny • The  more  the  environment  has  changed  since   your  genes  were  tested  growing  up,  and  the   more  trouble  you  are  having,  the  more  a   genome  should  be  willing  to  experiment  with   change 9
  10. 10. Gametes  accrue  mutaGons  over  a  
  11. 11. GeneGc  distance  between  generaGons   increases  with  parents’  age
  12. 12. Stress  induces  Aging 12
  13. 13. • But  if  there  is  an  opGmal  geneGc  distance   between  generaGons  &  if  geneGc  distance   between  generaGons  increases  with   parents’  age... 13
  14. 14. Then  maGng  must  occur   during  a  given  age  range • It  follows  that  maGng  must  iniGally  increase   and  then  decrease  with  age
  15. 15. • MaGng  indeed   decreases  with   age  by: – Aging-­‐related   inability  to  mate   (menopause) – Aging-­‐related   decrease  in   aZracGveness – Aging-­‐related   decrease  in   libido – Aging-­‐related   death 15
  16. 16. • But  if  the  old’s   progeny  are  less   fit,  why  not  let   natural  selecGon   take  care  of  them   instead  of  aging   their  parents?
  17. 17. Most  of   animal   evoluGon   happened   while  living   in  closely   related   clans
  18. 18. • The  old  parents’  progeny’s  inferior  fitness  may   not  be  evident  unGl  later  in  life,  while  they   consume  resources  (parenGng,  food,  …)  that   reduce  their  fiZer  siblings’  chance  of  survival. 18
  19. 19. So  now  that  we  now  why  we  age,  can  we  do   anything  to  extend  our  enjoyable  lifeGme? 19
  20. 20. The  average  American  spends  two  years  of   her  life  wai7ng  in  line 20
  21. 21. We’ve  Been  Standing  in  Line  for  at   least  3  Millennia
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  25. 25. • During  the  duraGon  of  the  World  Cup,  QLess   will  offer  all  new  customers  who  menGon  H+  2   installaGons  for  the  price  of  1,  and  will  donate   50%  of  the  associated  revenues  toward   research  that  can  help  prolong  enjoyable  life 25
  26. 26. Gehng  the  human  body  to  achieve  100%  upGme Lessons  from  soiware • QLess  has  a  greater  than  99.99%  upGme  record   -­‐-­‐never  down  for  more  than  3  min • Can’t  the  human  body  achieve  the  same? • The  secret  is  redundancy 26
  27. 27. Proposing  redundant  organs  for  all  vital  organs   by  2020,  with failover systems with 27
  28. 28. CiGzen  Science • Scientific publishing is outdated. • The world needs a wikipedia for original research, where: – Publication dissociated from peer review – Live documents can be continually updated – Publon as small as its author deems it – Ideas can see the light of day sooner – Everybody can contribute 28
  29. 29. Introducing... 29