The last talk of the day dovetailed nicely with one of the slides from Jason Tester's presentation a fake Newsweek cover from the future on bodyhacking. What Aubrey de Grey was proposing was the ultimate bodyhack, engineered immortality (or 1000 year life span at least).
There's no way around saying it, de Grey is the ultimate mad scientist - but in a good way.
The mad: Wild hair style, wild bio (de Grey is only a biologist by accident and circumstance), wild project, wild methods (includes harnessing the genes from microbes adapted to decomposing human remains. The microbes harvested from actual graveyards).
The good: Like I said in the intro, de Grey taps into a particular hacker mindset that's only getting more and more important these years. He does this not only mentally, i.e. by adopting this mindset, but also socially, by speaking a lot and by organizing the Methuselah Mouse Prize (an X-prize for mouse aging). His projects is very well thought out and very precise, at least rhetorically. It's impossible for me to have any idea of his scientific prowess of course but he talks very well on his subject, with care, lucidity and humour. He is very precise in not stating anything but a very specific goal that he plans to reach by very precise means. He is well avare of the social implications of his science as well.
Clearly the stand out talk of the day. The world needs more mad scientists - or at least an event like NEXT05 does. I find it ironic that de Grey, simply by giving a better talk that really jolts your mind ends up being the speaker that is able to present by far the most tangible idea of a future. Its a good thing that the event at least closes on a high note.
(sidenote til danske læsere: Forvent en Lone Frank helside i næste uges Weekendavis om de Grey. Hun var der ihvertfald, og mon ikke evigt liv kan få lov at trække en side)