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Can Google play God?
Publication Date : 07-10-2013
Steve Jobs changed the way we live, and Bill Gates is trying to change the way rich people give, but Larry Page may be a bit more ambitious. Google, Time magazine proclaims on a recent front cover, is trying to solve death. If we had read or heard this 10 years ago, we could have assumed the anti-aging industry was up to some shrewd marketing. Today, we are intrigued, if not guardedly optimistic.
We all know life expectancy is getting longer and longer. But it's a realisation that is always accompanied with resignation. Of course, humans nowadays are luckier than the ancient folks who went over the hill after turning 30 or 35, but we will join them eventually anyway. Something tells Larry Page that it doesn't have to be the case. Death, he suspects, can be defeated or at least largely tamed.
He's aiming higher than curing cancer, an absence of which would just prolong life for only a few more years. In his exclusive interview with Time, the young tech mogul expressed his belief that exponential growth of technology and knowledge and how the entire wired world is chipping in naturally orchestrated efforts, anything is possible including extending life beyond imaginable limits.
As Time stated, money will come later. It's debatable, though, whether money would be that much important if humans were on equal footing with death. A lot of things will change if that day really comes, and that's putting it mildly. Despite political, ideological, social or religious differences, humans are all driven by one same knowledge - that one day they will all die. Take that out of the equation and it will simply be a world we know nothing about.
If there are people really equipped with potential necessities when fighting death is concerned, then Larry Page must be one of them. At 40, he is co-founder and CEO of, as described by Time, "one of the world's most successful, ubiquitous and increasingly strange companies". He is in the "search" business, online-advertising business, mobile-operating-system business, web-browser business, free-email business, driverless-car business, wearable-computing business, online-map business, renewable energy business and countless others. He's innovative. He's visionary. And he's among those treating impossibilities as challenges.
Google is embarking on a dual track corporate strategy approach. On the one hand, it provides the services driven by already existing tools and embraced by much of the human race. On the other hand, Google is aiming high and shooting high. It has been involved in science fiction-type developments that wow outsiders but puzzle watchers obsessed with immediate profits. The setting up of Calico, a new company with focus on anti-aging and health in particular, represents the ambitious and highly adventurous side of Google.
The current technological advance is daring many people to dream bigger and bigger. And the way humans are pulling together to share knowledge, quicken innovations and solve age-old problems must be encouraging for those with such ambitious goals. Of course, new problems are certain to present themselves, but that is supposed to be the way things go. Life is about overcoming one problem so a bigger one can be confronted head-on.
If we google "death", over 321 million entries will come up. We are not sure how much influence that has on Larry Page, but the number shows a considerable human obsession with something that is most inevitable and one of the least understood.