Hello and welcome to this week’s Espresso of Innovation; the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration. This week we share the secrets of eternal life.
With only another 24 hours until I make it to another birthday, I started thinking about how I can retain my youthful looks and maybe achieve ever-lasting life through technology.
If I wanted a full physical in the not too distant future I don’t need to go anywhere near a hospital with the soon-to-be-released Scanadu Scout. It’s a scanner with a range of sensors designed to read a person’s vital signs and send them wirelessly to their smartphone in a few seconds, anytime, anywhere. However, thanks to Microsoft’s Kinnect 2.0 for the new Xbox One, wearable health tech may already be obsolete. It can already read your heartbeat just by looking at you. In the future this technology could be used for non-invasive examinations in hospital but also in the home with your TV suggesting a relaxing movie based on your stress levels or your fridge advising you on what to eat.
But what’s the use of technology just monitoring my body? I want my health problems fixed. With every passing year my risk of life-threatening disease increases but thanks to technology many of these ailments can be treated. Prostate cancer can now be targeted and treated non-invasively thanks to researcher’s in Utah. Scientists in Switzerland have developed the world’s smallest medical implant to monitor critical chemicals in the blood allowing you to detect if a heart attack is about to happen. And even Symptoms from a stroke such as paralyses can be improved nowadays with electrodes placed on or inside the brain that are linked to computers. It is predicted that those suffering paralyses as a result of a stroke can learn to mentally control robotic limbs.
Or I could just 3D print a new limb if need be. As mentioned before, 3D printing is revolutionizing healthcare with skin being printed from a person’s own DNA, and recently3D printing your own drugs has been discussed. Pharma suffers from the one-size-fits-nobody challenge that most industries face but with 3D printing we can tailor the drug to suit the patient, resulting in removal of issues with allergy or negative reactions to dosage. This means truly personalized healthcare.
Though in the future I could just achieve ever-lasting life by uploading myself into a computer: this year a team of Japanese and German researchers have carried out the largest-ever simulation of neural activity of the human brain. Unfortunately, at the moment, one second of biological time takes 40 minutes on one of the world’s most-powerful systems, to compute…but at least we know it’s possible.
So if we can live forever, should we? Baby boomers are already outliving their pension savings and age of retirement is steadily rising, so financial brands will need to adapt their models to satisfy our changing banking needs and habits. What will be the impact of Digital Natives eventually becoming the grey market? Savvy retirees could become second-wave start-up kingpins: with a wealth of experience and extensive networks they could easily trounce rookie businessmen in investment milk rounds as a safer bet. This is not to say the youth market would slide into irrelevance. If we are going to be living longer, early brand adoption/advocacy will mean a longer tail of revenue. As time stretches forth for individuals, businesses that anticipate the effect on society as a collective will surely rise to the top.