There is no part of the internet that Google hasn’t touched. First starting as a search engine that quickly became the most popular and on-demand resource for finding information and navigating the web, Google has since branched into a range of different fields. This includes developing tablets and apps such as GooglePlay, and further into Google Glass digital eyeglasses that allow the average user to feel as though they’ve stepped out of real life and into science fiction.
With self-driving cars on the horizon, one wonders if there’s anything Google can’t do. The answer to that may quickly become “no,” as the introduction of Alphabet, an offshoot collection of companies, is claiming to prevent diseases and even offer a solution to death.
Google’s Calico and Life Sciences has been developing methods to create artificial skin – offering more efficient and cost-effective grafts for trauma victims – and even wristbands that can detect cancer. This is only the beginning, as Calico intends to use big data analysis tools to discover, analyze, and eliminate diseases.
Big Data has been a favored tool for Google in their search engine, allowing them to collect and process huge amounts of information to predict consumer trends and other forecasts. By applying this tool to human beings, their systems could produce the same amount of efficiency with more than a simple profit - they could save lives. Collecting this biological data and “crunching” it will allow their systems to process in half the time - determining signs, triggers, and the makeup of diseases themselves. With this information, they can develop more effective methods for combating and killing sicknesses.
Their first step is to collect “baseline” information on over 10,000 people, equipping their Big Data systems with a “healthy molecular” template, so it can analyze more efficiently. Calico’s objective is to not only cure diseases, but improve daily living and increase lifespans – effectively “killing” death. Their efforts are still in the initial stages and not many statements have been provided, but several of the top minds in the medical field have been hired and consulted for these projects. This suggests that results are close on the horizon.
Possible Future Impacts:
1. Fast Disease Detection
Computers have always been faster than humans. With the use of Big Data, Calico and Life Sciences could narrow down and identify triggers, origins, and weaknesses within the diseases faster than ever before. Then, with this information, techniques for detecting, treating, and eventually killing sicknesses can be developed. In addition to this, said information can be used to develop additional products to detect diseases before they arise. One such product is a wristband designed to detect cancer in its early stages with the use of nanoparticle technology, and many more are in the planning stages.
2. Manage Diseases More Effectively
Google has also invested in projects such as glucose-sensing contact lenses, which will be invaluable for diabetics in need of reading blood sugar levels without time consuming, painful, and often inconvenient methods. It does this by analyzing the tears of each user. Clever creations such as these will make daily life better for those already afflicted with diseases, while research continues to find a permanent solution.
3. Longer Lifespans
Science fiction has filled our minds with many ideas about immortality, and about technology meeting biology to make humans stronger. The efforts of Google and its branched companies could in fact make fiction a reality, with not only their advanced information-analyzing techniques, but also with the products themselves. By eliminating the main causes of early death, these companies could eventually bring an end to death as a whole, boosting lifespans to centuries rather than several decades.
Google’s efforts at eliminating disease and even achieving immortality are in the initial stages, and while it’s far-fetched to some, one cannot deny the success Google has experienced in the many ventures it’s taken on. Its reputation as the best search engine available was only the first step, with self-driving cars and wearable devices continuing to push into the future. With this in mind, it’s very possible that Google will find a solution to what humanity, in all our vast years, could not.