The first human to live for 1,000 years may have already been born. Ben Goertzel, founder and CEO of artificial intelligence firm SingularityNET, sees a large-scale shift over the coming years as super-advanced machines predict how different drugs will interact with the body.

Speaking with Inverse at the Human-Level Artificial Intelligence conference organized by GoodAI in Prague, Czech Republic, Goertzel said “it’s pretty clear to me” that researcher Aubrey de Grey is correct in his assertion that the first thousand-year-old person is already alive. De Grey argues that scientists need to solve seven types of aging damage, which will enable humans to receive regular top-up treatments to extend their lifespan.

“It’s not even that extremely visionary in the view of what longevity freaks like Aubrey and I believe, because I think we could easily be 10 or 20 years away, or even five years away from something that would let most people who took the therapy extend the lifespan by say, 10 or 20 years beyond it would be otherwise,” Goertzel says. “And once you’re at that point, then hopefully there’s a virtuous cycle that happens. Because once there’s some therapy that will let the person who took it live to an average age of 95 instead of 85, then the world gets excited. And then you’ll see more resources and enthusiasm going into this type of research, and then you’ll see more discoveries.”

Ben Goertzel.
Ben Goertzel.

It’s a rapidly developing field. Just this week, a new study from the University of Exeter found that disrupting certain genetic processes could help reverse aging in cells. Some are done waiting for new tech, the entrepreneur Serge Faguet has already spent $250,000 on biohacking to extend his lifespan.

Goertzel’s global A.I. network SingularityNET powers the Sophia robot sees smart machines playing a big role in this area as it can simulate and discover the effects of changes on the body. He cites rapamycin, which has been found to extend the lifespan of lab mice by 30 percent, but has the unfortunate side effect of immune system dysfunction. An A.I. that can predict and understand these effects could make key recommendations, and it could even lead to machines devising their own experiments.

Sophia, the robot powered by SingularityNET.
Sophia, the robot powered by SingularityNET.

“With the automation of biology lab equipment, you’re going to have the A.I. triggering its own experiments,” Goertzel says. “So you can have you have A.I.s that are doing guided, directed evolution experiments on yeast, for instance, so so that you do some genetic engineering on yeast, you observe what the modified yeast do based on the observations and feedback to the app, which suggests new modifications so that the A.I. is guiding the research on microorganisms. Right now that’s only happening a few places, but that’s certainly going to grow bigger.”

These advancements seem like small, behind-the-scenes jumps, but they could pave the way for machines that directly administer drugs to patients.

“You have someone in the hospital and they’ve got a feed of some drug coming into their arm, and there’s a bunch of medical equipment monitoring things,” Goertzel says. “Right now, an A.I. can make a recommendation to the doctor of how to modulate the drip of the drug going into the person based on the other readouts. The question is, when do you make the doctor optional, and the A.I. just modulates the amount of drug going into the person. Probably not too long from now.”

Rather than potentially wiping out humanity, as some high profile futurists like Elon Musk have warned is a possibility, A.I. could increase our lifespan tenfold.

Editor’s Note: The Human-Level Artificial Intelligence conference funded Inverse’s travel and accommodation to cover the event, but the organization has no input over Inverse’s editorial coverage.