Sonia Arrison explores the impact of radical human longevity – and its intersection with technology
Reading Sonia Arrison’s bio on her website, we were a bit stumped. So, when we stopped by her office on Sand Hill Road, we immediately asked: “What is it that you do?”
“I have trouble describing myself,” she acknowledged. “So sometimes it’s easiest to say I’m an author.”
That she is, and her most recent book, 100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith, in many ways was the impetus for what she is now most focused on — longevity technology.
The Atherton resident came to our attention recently when she was appointed to Woodland School‘s Board of Trustees. “Our children go there,” she said. “It’s the perfect size and fits our kids’ needs.”
We learned that she is co-founder of Unsugarcoat Media, as well as a founder, academic advisor, and trustee at Singularity University in Mountain View. But during our visit it was the intersection of extending healthy life through various technological interventions that we focused our conversation on.
“My grandparents lived very long and healthy lives,” she said. “I saw them as a model I wanted to replicate.
“One of the most exciting things is tissue engineering. This is the ability to grow brand new organs out of adult stem cells. We’re seeing this in human beings already with bladders, blood vessels and tracheas.
“And the FDA just fast tracked CAR T-cell therapy. A patient’s own immune cells are reengineered to recognize and kill cancer cells. The focus so far is on blood cancers, but it could extend to solid tumors.”
It is not all science and technology that gets Sonia’s attention. One of the chapters in 100 Plus focuses on faith. “My premise was that the longer we live and the farther away from death we are, the less we will care about God,” she said. “But the research doesn’t bear that out. Religion is stable, in some parts of the world growing and, in some cases, adapting to what already are longer lives.”
Photo by Scott R. Kline (c) 2017