Jeff Bezos pops champagne after emerging from the New Shepard capsule after his spaceflight on July 20, 2021.

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All things must die, according to the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, but that could be about to change.

A growing number of tech billionaires have decided they want to use their enormous wealth to try to help humans “cheat death.”

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Alphabet’s Larry Page, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Palantir’s Peter Thiel are just a few of the super-rich who have taken a keen interest in the fast-emerging field of longevity, according to interviews, books and media reports.

While breakthroughs are far from guaranteed, they hope that various medicines, therapies and other life science technologies will enable humans to live well beyond 100 years old and possibly to 200, 300, or even longer.

But are their efforts going to benefit humanity as a whole or just an elite few? It’s a tricky question that divides opinion.

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Billionaire’s chasing immortality

Bezos, the second richest man in the world behind Elon Musk, has invested some of his $199 billion into a new “rejuvenation” start-up called Altos Labs, according to a report from MIT Technology Review earlier this month.

The anti-ageing start-up, which is said to be pursuing biological reprogramming technology, is reportedly also backed by Russian-Israeli venture capitalist Yuri Milner, who made a fortune as an early investor in Facebook.

Elsewhere, Oracle founder Ellison has donated more than $370 million to research about aging and age-related diseases, according to The New Yorker.

Meanwhile, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page helped launch Calico, a secretive venture that’s tracking mice from birth to death in the hope of finding markers for diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s, according to a report in The New Yorker. Calico is part of Alphabet, the holding company that also owns Google.

One of the biggest advocates for life extension among the tech billionaires is Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and Palantir and backed Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal Inc.

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In 2006, he donated $3.5 million to support anti-ageing research through the non-profit Methuselah Mouse Prize foundation. “Rapid advances in biological science foretell of a treasure trove of discoveries this century, including dramatically improved health and longevity for all,” he said at the time. Thiel had upped his investment in Methuselah Mouse Prize foundation to $7 million by 2017, according to Time.

According to The New Yorker, Thiel and Bezos have both invested in San Francisco-based Unity Biotechnology, a company whose founder reportedly said he wants to “vaporize a third of human diseases in the developed world.”

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