John Naughton: Why Silicon Valley wants to thwart the grim reaper | John Naughton

Google’s billion-dollar belief that it can crack the DNA code to immortality reveals a dangerous mindset

‘In this world,” wrote Benjamin Franklin, “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” This proposition doesn’t cut much ice in Silicon Valley, where they take a poor view of paying taxes. What’s interesting is that they are also coming to the view that perhaps death is optional too, at least for the very rich.

You think I jest? Well, meet Bill Maris, the founder and former CEO of Google Ventures, the investment arm of Alphabet, Google’s owners. Three years ago, Maris decided to create a company that will “solve” death. He pitched the idea to Google’s co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page and, according to a lovely piece by Tad Friend in the New Yorker, Brin, who has a gene variant that predisposes him to Parkinson’s disease, loved the idea and Page declared that Google should do it.

Related: Live forever: Scientists say they’ll extend life ‘well beyond 120’

To computer folk, DNA is just code, and code can always be hacked. Bingo! – immortality beckons

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