Saturday, April 23, 2011

Susan Lim: Transplant cells, not organs | Video on

Life sciences technology is entering a new dawn of innovation, which is certainly exciting from a longevity and quality of life perspective, but it also has the potential for a profound impact on many of the economic "doomsday" scenarios that are so popular in today's media. The promise of stem cell (especially the less politically charged IPS variety) transplantation may provide a reduced medical cost windfall in the form of:

1) Extended productivity (tax generation) from older, more highly skilled, higher earning workers that, rather than passing away and/or becoming a burden via disability/Medicare, continue a robust contribution to the economy.

2) The shortening of interim treatment periods between onset, transplantation and health restoration will likely lead to greatly reduced costs.

3) The combination of longer, more productive worker lives, and the reduced costs of treatment/cure, will likely "bend the cost curve" in a more rapid and favorable manner than most are currently expecting.

The quality of life issue is also very important from an economic perspective. Many assume that the longer people live, the more that it will cost to provide them with needed financial support and medical care and that longer lives equates to deeper, less manageable social program funding costs. This is only true if the quality of those are lives are not improved to a greater magnitude than they are extended. We are increasingly a service/information society and physical strength is declining continually in importance with respect to the ability for one to contribute to society (and who is to say that with the advances in exo-skeletons that a 90-year old could not be a loading dock worker!). As maladies that impact the elderly most severely (i.e. cognitive/neurological, muscle/bone loss, visual acuity, hearing, etc.) become more treatable, the underlying desire that most people possess (to remain productive, active, involved and valued) will be allowed to blossom.

The below link provides a quick glimpse into how far we have come and how far we may go:

Susan Lim: Transplant cells, not organs Video on

Friday, April 22, 2011

Marcin Jakubowski: Open-sourced blueprints for civilization | Video on

Below is a link to a very powerful example of how "hi-tech" can, and will, make "low-tech" available to the masses. While Marcin didn't mention it, this type of project is even more potentially impactful if you consider blending in the ever increasing capabilities of 3-D printing that would enable open-source designs to include more sophisticated elements/parts.

Once again the myth that advanced technologies only benefit the already wealthy and/or only increase the competitive advantage of already technologically developed societies is dispelled. There will likely always be a gap between the most advanced countries, and the least, but the real measure of progress will be in how that gap will narrow and how quickly the advances in the front of the innovation wave are transmitted to the back. Further, as information is more widely dispersed, and more people share their discoveries and insights, it is unlikely that the front of the innovation wave for any given technology will be lead by the same limited set of countries that dominate science/technology today, nor that the leadership will remain as stable as it tends to be today. As the competitive landscape becomes more dynamic and vibrant, it will generate greater, if not wholly unexpected, levels of global prosperity. The progress will be permanent and pervasive, but the source will be highly fluid and seemingly "spontaneous" from unexpected corners of the globe.

Marcin Jakubowski: Open-sourced blueprints for civilization Video on

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in action | Video on

As nanotechnology enables us to be more capable at manipulating matter, it is important that we don't "re-invent the wheel" that nature has already designed. By simultaneously using the discoveries of the future, in conjunction with the lessons "learned" by our planet, and it inhabitants, we can accelerate the pace of innovation, and support the virtuous cause of preservation. The following is an excellent "primer" on the power and promise of biomimicry: Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in action Video on