VC vampire: Peter Thiel wants to live forever

And he'll buy your blood to do so, as long as you're young


Just when you thought Peter Thiel couldn't become any more of a megalomaniac, the billionaire VC proves you wrong.

The man from Silicon Valley who supports Donald Trump, and who funded Hulk Hogan's sex tape legal saga to hurt the publication that widely outed him, has gone full rich-person-crazy and decided that he needs to live forever.

It's been known for a while that Thiel's own start-up funding company has shown unusual interest in age-defying technologies. Particularly eyebrow-raising was the millions of dollars provided to Aubrey de Grey through his SENS Research Foundation, which can most charitably be described as optimistic.

De Grey edits his own journal called Rejuvenation Research and has written books about how humans may be able to live indefinitely. Having graduated with a degree in computer science, he got a PhD in biology and came up with a theory that if it were possible to prevent damage to mitochondrial DNA, you could hugely expand people's lifespans. Experts tend to disagree rather strongly, but his theory is "not demonstrably wrong," according to MIT's Technology Review.

That was enough for Thiel, who has repeatedly railed against people's acceptance of death as inevitable and believes that we can "cure" it with sufficient technological advances. It's not been a one-off claim either – interviewers with Thiel going back years have been surprised to note that he keeps bringing up his plans to defeat death.

Of course when you have billions in the bank thanks to being an early investor in both PayPal and Facebook, what's the harm in dreaming and throwing some of that money into pipedreams? Every billionaire is a little eccentric.

Except.

Far from finding technological solutions to aging, it seems that Thiel's obsession has turned toward more immediate solutions: namely, sucking the blood out of young people and injecting it into old people, a practice known officially as "parabiosis," but most commonly associated with, you know, vampires.

There is actually a clinical trial taking place in California, run by a company called Ambrosia, called "Young Donor Plasma Transfusion and Age-Related Biomarkers." And it does exactly what you imagine that means: takes blood from people under 25 and injects it into people over 35 and then observes them for a range of indicators for aging.

And guess who Ambrosia received a phone call from? That's right, Peter Thiel. Or, more accurately, the chief medical officer at Thiel Capital, Jason Camm, who is also Thiel's personal doctor.

Amazingly, according to one reporter – Jeff Bercovici at Inc – Thiel all but admitted that he had already injected himself with the blood of a young person, while also noting that "there's no FDA approval needed because it's just blood transfusions."

Fortunately for the young people of California, almost exactly halfway between his home in San Francisco and the medical trials taking place in Monterey lies the town of Gilroy, the self-proclaimed "Garlic Capital of the World" thanks to its huge harvest of the pungent onion each year. It seems that even god isn't sure about Peter Thiel. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Talos names eight deadly sins in widely used industrial software
    Entire swaths of gear relies on vulnerability-laden Open Automation Software (OAS)

    A researcher at Cisco's Talos threat intelligence team found eight vulnerabilities in the Open Automation Software (OAS) platform that, if exploited, could enable a bad actor to access a device and run code on a targeted system.

    The OAS platform is widely used by a range of industrial enterprises, essentially facilitating the transfer of data within an IT environment between hardware and software and playing a central role in organizations' industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) efforts. It touches a range of devices, including PLCs and OPCs and IoT devices, as well as custom applications and APIs, databases and edge systems.

    Companies like Volvo, General Dynamics, JBT Aerotech and wind-turbine maker AES are among the users of the OAS platform.

    Continue reading
  • Despite global uncertainty, $500m hit doesn't rattle Nvidia execs
    CEO acknowledges impact of war, pandemic but says fundamentals ‘are really good’

    Nvidia is expecting a $500 million hit to its global datacenter and consumer business in the second quarter due to COVID lockdowns in China and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Despite those and other macroeconomic concerns, executives are still optimistic about future prospects.

    "The full impact and duration of the war in Ukraine and COVID lockdowns in China is difficult to predict. However, the impact of our technology and our market opportunities remain unchanged," said Jensen Huang, Nvidia's CEO and co-founder, during the company's first-quarter earnings call.

    Those two statements might sound a little contradictory, including to some investors, particularly following the stock selloff yesterday after concerns over Russia and China prompted Nvidia to issue lower-than-expected guidance for second-quarter revenue.

    Continue reading
  • Another AI supercomputer from HPE: Champollion lands in France
    That's the second in a week following similar system in Munich also aimed at researchers

    HPE is lifting the lid on a new AI supercomputer – the second this week – aimed at building and training larger machine learning models to underpin research.

    Based at HPE's Center of Excellence in Grenoble, France, the new supercomputer is to be named Champollion after the French scholar who made advances in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs in the 19th century. It was built in partnership with Nvidia using AMD-based Apollo computer nodes fitted with Nvidia's A100 GPUs.

    Champollion brings together HPC and purpose-built AI technologies to train machine learning models at scale and unlock results faster, HPE said. HPE already provides HPC and AI resources from its Grenoble facilities for customers, and the broader research community to access, and said it plans to provide access to Champollion for scientists and engineers globally to accelerate testing of their AI models and research.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022