Aubrey de Grey: Technological miniaturisation could increase our lifespans

The miniaturisation of technologies will eventually result in them dominating medical treatments, enabling us to live longer, leading researcher Aubrey de Grey has said.

He said that in the long term non-biological solutions, which have already played a minor role in the medical world, will significantly influence medical treatments.

However before this he believes there will be biological solutions that will make us healthier and as a side effect make us live longer.

de Grey, who is working to end ageing and is looking at how this can be achieved with the SENS Research Foundation, told Factor: “The whole area of what you might call non-biological solutions to medical problems is an area that should certainly never be neglected and has already played a minor role in today’s medical world with things like cochlear implants or for that matter just glasses.

“So the question then is will this increase? I believe it will, in fact I believe that in the very long term it is quite likely that non-biological solutions will dominate medicine simply because they can and they are more versatile.

“But I think that is going to be a long time coming. It is going to be driven largely by miniaturisation I think. It may very well be that software improvements to do with artificial intelligence for example will play a roll there.”


Non-biological medical assistance is increasingly being utilised by health experts.

This can be seen from the growing use of medical devices, 3D printing to create implants and also technologies such personalised medical beads that dissolve in the body.

However de Grey said that life-saving non-biological treatments will take a long time to develop and he wants to be saving as many as possible and as soon as possible.

The work he and others are doing at SENS is looking at how medicine can be developed to rejuvenate the bodies of those in their 60s or 70s to how they were in early adulthood.

This will give people the ability to live longer, possibly for as long as 200 years, as they will be healthier.

He says that they are looking to postpone the disease and disabilities which are caused by old age.


The path to a post-ageing world will not necessarily be a smooth one, de Grey admits.

He said: “Just like any major technological advance that we have seen in the past, like the industrial revolution for example, we certainly expect that world will change quite dramatically and that the transition from where we are now to a post-ageing world will not necessarily be smooth.

“There may be some turbulence and obviously the more we can forward plan to minimise that turbulence the better.

“To be honest the tendency these days is to greatly exaggerate the potential downsides of the defeat of ageing and to grossly underplay the benefits in terms of the alleviation of suffering and the saving of lives.”

You can read Factor’s full interview with Aubrey de Grey in the September issue of Factor Magazine, due out September 16. For more information on SENS Research Foundation you can visit their website. 

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